Thursday 25 August 2011

Turnover Days

Turnover days. Not the Sarah Lee type of apple turnover but the passenger ship sort of day when the people from the previous trip leave and the people from the new trip arrive.  It’s a busy day for us on Fram.  All of the cabins have to be stripped of towels and bedding, cleaned and re-supplied.  The galley takes on new provisions particularly fresh produce.  The ship takes on fuel. Every department on Fram is busy preparing for the new voyage.  Phew! It’s a lot of work.  Generally we have less than eight hours to make the ship completely ready for our new guests.  But we manage every single time.
Pier in Barentsburg
Your first day when you join the ship is generally pretty busy too.
You have to check out of the hotel and leave your luggage in a secure room.  You have the information session in the morning.  Then lunch.  Then right after lunch there is a nice three hour tour of Longyearbyen.  That brings us to 16:30 when you are finally brought to the harbour and board Fram.  And we are ready for you!  (why did you think you had that three hour tour?  ;^)
Happy smiling crew members greet you as you board the ship on deck three.  At reception you are issued a ship I.D. card and your cabin key card and then escorted to your cabin where your luggage has arrived ahead of you. 
Weather proof blue jackets are handed out to everyone by the Expedition Team on deck four in the café.  Many people choose that time to register their credit cards at reception.  Before you know it, the dining room is open and you are treated to the first of many excellent meals prepared by chef Jan Olé and his incredible team in the galley.  I never really thought about it before, but it’s an all male crew in the galley.  They are a great bunch of guys and are all expert at their jobs.
One of the many colourful billboards in Barentsburg!
Here’s a buffet tip for you.  The dinner plates are really large. Be careful.  By the end of the voyage you may have to loosen your belt by  a notch or two.  And please don’t hesitate to have a really delicious dessert at lunch and at dinner.  They are all low cal’ desserts.  If you believe that, I have some property you might be interested in buying.
At approximately 20:00 we pulled up alongside the dock in Barentsburg. Once the gangway was secured on deck two we assembled on the pier in language groups.  We then proceeded up the 252 steps to the beautiful Barentsburg theatre where we were entertained by a fabulous show of Russian folk dancing and singing.
Is it a hovercraft or a spaceship?
Playground in Barentsburg.
After the show we met again in language groups and enjoyed a tour of the highlights of Barentsburg led by a local Russian guide.
By 23:00 we were all back on board, tired but exhilarated by all of the new experiences and adventure of the day.