SPITSPERGEN EXPLORER Daily Log 04 August 2006 - 14 August 2006

Day 1: Friday, 4 August 2006

Location:
Longyearbyen


Fact:

078º16'N 15º24'E (at 0700)
Barometric Pressure: 1010 hPa
Wind Speed/Direction: 0 m/s - 0º
AirTemp: 10.ºC SeaTemp: 8.ºC
Russian Word of the Day: Pree-v-yet English Translation: Hello
“Give me this glorious ocean life, this salt-sea life, this briny, foamy life, when the sea neighs and snorts, and you breathe the very breath that the great whales respire! Let me roll around the globe, let me rock upon the sea; let me race and pant out my life, with an eternal breeze astern, and an endless sea before.”


A wise man once said “it’s not the arriving, it’s the getting there”; he was wrong.

A veritable United Nations of Arcticians watched in anticipation as the Vavilov seamlessly slipped her lines. They gazed North to the coruscating glaciers and towering peaks, their faces resembling those of pilgrims at a Billy Graham convention, their Herculean journeys to arrive here forgotten. Their ‘shock and awe’ is meretricious, for the air of anticipation and excitement is palpable, and that’s just the staff. The business end of the expedition has now started and already twitchers are running patterns on all decks aware of the potential ornithological orgy already manifesting itself at the end of Jacques’ and Geoff’s binoculars. Fortified by a sumptuous dinner which somehow passengers had room for after their rapacious destruction of the bar buffet, many sit, as I type, with smug countenances in the bar; all have enjoyed the staff introductions especially Jacques illuminating the cabin configurations. Mobiles are now thankfully redundant, we are safe in the hands of the outstanding Russian crew and as Bill mentioned; “you’re ours now”, and he is right. On being introduced to the brilliant Marshall Ney on the eve of Waterloo Napoleon remarked ‘don’t bring me a good general, bring me a lucky one!’ – a similar analogy could be employed here above the circle, however permit me to retail the Gary Player mantra ‘the harder I practice the luckier I get’, so you can bet that all your staff and crew will be grafting diligently at the Polar coalface to ensure you are both lucky, and successful.

Welcome on board! We were treated to a welcome snack and drank a toast to the Ice Queen who is the Arctic. Eager eyes darted about as they searched for the behemothic denizens that we called whales, urged on by earlier sightings of Belugas in Longyearbyen. And through it all Bill briefed us on what was to come and so our anticipation mounts as we anxiously wait for more.

We enjoyed the sub-Arctic temperatures and overcast skies as good boding of a great trip, as we start our journey to circumnavigate Spitsbergen.

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