Day 1 - July 16, 2013 - Tromsø, Norway
By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist
Co-ordinates: N 69º38'58", W 018º57'44"
Weather: Partly cloudy
Air Temperature: 14ºC
Pressure: 961 hPa
Wind: 10 knots
My day started in an unusual way. A midnight hike! That is something I had never done before, but given the beautiful conditions and the midnight sun’s soft light, myself and two of my friends decided to leave the ship just before midnight last night, cross the bridge and climb up to the top of the mountain in front of Tromsø, across the fjord.
Saying that it was spectacular would be an understatement. One of the things I love the most about this job is that it gives me the opportunity to do things like this. At the top of the mountain we could see the entire island of Tromsøya and surrounding fjords and snowy peaks. The sun just stood there, still and orange, barley on top of the mountains.
Conditions in Tromsø were pretty nice today, it was a lovely and warm summer day and there was quite a lot of people and activity going on in town. We disembarked our guests in the morning and after just a few hours the ship had been turned around and we were ready to start again.
Embarkation started just before noon. Our embarking guests were greeted at the gangway on deck 5 by some of our Expedition Team members and hotel staff, and then directed to the Panorama Lounge for check in. The procedure was simple - hand in a passport, receive a suite key and have a photo taken. As I was taking their photos at check in, I recognised a couple of familiar faces. Once guests completed this procedure, they headed to The Restaurant to have lunch and then on to their suites to unpack and settle in.
At 5:00 pm the ship’s company performed a mandatory emergency and lifeboat drill. Our Expedition Leader Kara Weller explained the safety procedures in place on board the Silver Explorer and towards the end of this exercise our guests were taken outside and shown the way to the lifeboats.
At 6:30 pm we headed back into the Theatre for an introduction to the heads of departments and the expedition team on board. This was followed by our guests’ first dinner aboard the Silver Explorer.
At 7:30 pm the crew of the Silver Explorer began hauling in the mooring lines and we sailed away from the port of Tromsø to come again alongside, only minutes later, at a bunkering pier located a couple hundred metres away. This was just a technical stop and once done fuelling we sailed on our way north towards another Arctic adventure.
Everyone seems to be very excited about this trip, as it is a wonderful destination - definitely one of my favourite places in the world. We will be in Longyearbyen on the 26th with a full appreciation and understanding of the uniqueness, spectacular beauty and natural history of the Norwegian high arctic.
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