Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ship's Log: Day 1

Now that I've finally recovered from jet lag and am emerging from culture shock, I'm ready and eager to relive my time at sea. I kept a diary at sea, and will post it here daily.

October 6th Evening

Kayak on the dock
A couple of participants and I went to a restaurant for lunch and had our first taste of seal and whale meat. It didn’t taste like chicken!

View of ship from aft forwardAndreas Eriksson (one of the Longyearbyen kayakers who saved my life by transporting the kayaks 2 km from the Svalbard Sailing Club to the Nooordelicht's dock) picked up the kayaks in a borrowed trailer, met me at my hotel, and we drove to the pier. My first view of the Noorderlicht was through a blowing wind and falling ice -- exciting and terrifying at the same time. As beautiful as the ship was, it was hard to imagine 23 people being able to fit on board. I stowed my stuff and took some photographs of the ship. The rest of the group showed up and the mass luggage lugging began. We had more camera equipment than all of CNN.

We received a welcome talk from Gert Ritzema , Noorderlicht's Captain, and then a "rules for safe behavior" talk from Jan Belgers, our guide. Jan has an amazing amount of knowledge about the region and can answer any question we throw at him. He is also a crack shot with a bolt action rifle ... both he and the gun came with us anytime we left the ship.

On board the Noorderlicht's upper salonThat evening, we were served a fantastic meal ... which unfortun- ately for some was revisited as the sea got rough. I heard from some Longyearbyen friends that the night before we sailed our Captain was in local bar boasting that we set sail at 6pm and he would have us all sick by 6:15. I think we actually made it to 6:30. I had taken some Dramamine early so I wasn’t sick, but the fear of rough seas kept me eating light. To ease the dread of getting sick we had put together a pot of cash ($5.00 each) to be given to the first to fall (over the toilet bowl). We all paid into the pot in whatever currency we had so the lucky winner (who will remain nameless ... it wasn’t me) collected in Euros, Swedish and Norwegian kroner, Russian Rubles, Canadian dollars, US dollars, and Taiwanese dollars.


  1. Dear Janet,
    I am amazed by the quality of your texts and photos! Wonderful blog.
    It is really nice you made such an effort to publish all the names of the places we visited. You made an order in my head!
    Thank you and many greetings from Tomislav Brajnovic!

  2. Amazing!
    Also, what font is this?