Thursday 4 August 2011

Too Much Ice To Get To Barentsburg!

Sea ice in Adventfjorden
At last! Our Arctic adventure has well and truly started.  Most of us stayed in a hotel in Longyearbyen last night.  This morning we attended a comprehensive briefing on what to expect in the coming days on Fram.  Following the briefing we had a nice lunch in the hotel and then a city tour by motor coach which included stops at the museum and gallery.
Northern Fulmar in Isfjorden
At 16:30 our motor coaches brought us to our new home-away-from-home.  Fram.  The check-in process ran quite efficiently. It was amazing to see how quickly we all were issued photo I.D.’s and cabin key cards.  Right after checking in we were given gortex-type blue jackets on deck four.
At 18:00 we left the pier and headed out of Advent fjord and then on into Isfjorden.  We were due to arrive in Barentsburg, a Russian coal mining town at 20:30.  At About 19:00 the Expedition Leader, Karin Strand, announced that there was far too much ice for us to be able to reach Barentsburg on time.  Indeed, if we attempted to go to Barentsburg it would also throw our schedule off for the following day at Gravneset.
Cruising in Isfjorden
It is ironic. We had all wished very hard to see lots of ice. It was one of the main reasons for coming to the Arctic.  Perhaps we had wished too hard.  Now the very thing we wanted to see was preventing us from going where we wanted to go.
Since we could no longer go to Barentsburg we held the saftey drill at 20:30.  Right after the drill all of those people that wanted to take advantage of the excellent rubber boots we have on Fram were able to go to decks 2 and 3 where they could try the boots on.  They were then issued the boots which are theirs to keep for the remainder of the cruise.
By that time it was 22:00 and the day was winding down.  The ship is now heading for the old whaling site of Gravneset.  We are due to arrive at 09:00 tomorrow morning.