As we approached Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen the views from the aircraft were like magic. The long, warm, never-ending rays of the midnight sun brushed deep long shadows across a stark, frigid landscape. This was the true home of the Ice Bear and the inspiration for fantastic stories. It is a harsh environment that creates heroes and legends. And it is beautiful. It is where we have come to live out part of our own dreams.
Our Arctic Dream started in Longyearbyen, the administrative centre for Svalbard. Before joining the Fram we set off on a tour of the mining area and then visited a museum and gallery. At about 16:30 we went down to the small harbour and boarded the ship. Soon we were checked-in, issued our ship’s I.D. cards and shown to our rooms. There, beside our cabin doors, was our luggage, already delivered!
In the late evening we cruised through mile after mile of ice. At times we were enshrouded in heavy sea fog making creating a dream-like atmosphere. But ice and fog makes for tricky navigation. It always means that our speed is reduced to whatever is appropriate to travel safely. As the Captain says, “safety is always our number one priority”.
At 20:30 we all attended a mandatory safety drill.