The bridge is the room from which the officers command the ship, and one of the coolest things about the Explorer is that there is an open bridge policy. Guests can enter the bridge at any time and observe the workings of the officers, crew, and naturalists. Today, I began what would be my tradition of going up to the bridge in the early morning hours to enjoy coffee and conversation.
Bud delivered his briefing on Svalbard rules and regulations. Then, Lucio, the Assistant Expedition Leader, explained zodiac operations and the protocol for shore excursions. Naturalist Jason Kelley also shared information about Polar Bear Safety. The takeaway message: Bears will kill you; we do NOT want to see bears when we are on land, only from the ship! All the naturalist guides carry flares and a rifle as polar bear deterrents when they are leading groups of hikers.
The ship was at the entrance of the southernmost fjord system along the west side of Spitsbergen known as Hornsund. The plan was to go ashore in the afternoon but the staff had to determine the best spot based on wind conditions and snowfall.
We navigated the fjords and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery!
Naturalist Magnus Forsberg was stationed at an old trappers cabin, and he treated each group to a story of the cabin's history. The cabin was used in the 1930's by one of the first female trappers in Svalbard, and her husband. Today, research scientists occasionally use the rustic cabin when they do field work. You might be surprised to see the logs leaning against the cabin. After all, the tundra is treeless. These logs, along with many others, drifted here from remote places, some as "close" as Siberia and some as far away as Florida! Unbelievable.
Read the Lindblad Naturalist Daily Expedition Report (DER) for yesterday and today here.