''Expedition Svalbard II'' Voyage 7114 Day 1

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Day 1 - July 3, 2011 - Tromso, Norway

By Christian Walter, Historian

Co-ordinates: 69° 43’ N, 19° 03’ E
Weather: overcast during the morning, sunny during the afternoon
Air Temperature: 9.3° C
Pressure: 1018
Wind: 49 km/h


Check-in started at 12:00, but only about 40 guests had arrived by 13:50. Then a rapid succession of buses and taxis brought most every other guest. Within one hour the check-in was complete, and lunch was served until 15:00.

Since all crew and guests were on board, Captain Peter Stahlberg decided to leave ahead of schedule. At 15:50 the last line was cast, and together with the pilot, and the help of a local tug boat, Captain Peter maneuvered the Silver Explorer against the current into the channel between the island of Tromso and mainland Norway.

Beautiful weather -the sun shining- and the nice scenery of the island, the bridge, the Ice Cathedral and other ships passing by brought some 50 guests out onto the open decks. When the wind started picking up, most guests and lecturers went to the aft deck for drinks and hors d’oeuvres in a more sheltered location.

This was the first opportunity to get to know each other, and lively conversation was made.

After leaving the harbor, gulls posed nicely next to the whirlpools, and many pictures were taken.

At 17:00 Robin, our Expedition Leader (abbreviated to “EL”), gave the mandatory safety briefing, and at 18:45 he introduced some of the department heads and the expedition staff.

Tonight’s dinner was the first of many culinary experiences, and with open seating one would have the chance to get to know many of the fellow travellers and lecturers. We were about to reach the open sea at 21:00 when the sun was still quite high in the sky, and an after-dinner drink in the Panorama Lounge seemed a good idea.

Thus had started our expedition to Svalbard, in search of walrus and polar bears.

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