Friday 26 September 2014

Another day, another new place to explore!

Today we woke up in a fjord close to Svartisen, Norway’s second biggest glacier. The glacier lies just above the Arctic Circle, and extends into several different valleys, north, south, east and west. From our breakfast table we can see the glacier bending down a steep and narrow valley, almost reaching the colorful Norwegian autumn forest below. Next to the sandy beaches lies big green fields with grassing sheep and cows, and even though it’s raining it’s a very welcoming sight and we can’t wait to get out!

Once ashore we can confirm that the weather forecast was right; it’s rainy and windy, but also quite warm, so not really a problem – after all we can dry up on the ship in front of our TV-screen fireplace later! The guests are eager to get going despite the weather and start heading towards the glacier, a few kilometers walking from our landing site, with spectacular views on the way, including rapid weather changes(referred to as both English and Norwegian weather!).

Some guests go as far as we have agreed on, while other use the lovely hut that is about halfway as a stopover to dry up. The hosts serve sparkling wine with 2000 year old glacier ice and it’s a big hit! The fireplaces are lit and there is room for everyone, a perfect place to have a rest on a day like this. Around 1300 we head back to the ship, wet to the bone, but with big smiles all around. Drying up after being outside in the rain makes you appreciate things you perhaps didn’t think of before.

The rest of the day is spent with lectures, briefings for the next day, cruising, and of course the expedition staff quiz! Before the quiz  lectures were stopped so that we could all witness the crossing of the Arctic Circle, marked by a monument in the form of the globe. In the next day or so, King Neptune will no doubt visit the ship to inaugurate those who crossed this "line" for the first time. Later we will also have the legendary crew show, so this should be a proper Friday!

The reason we went to Svartisen was to seek some shelter from an incoming storm. However, in order to make our schedule we have to move south, so now we are going into the storm during the evening and the night. Fram is already rocking steadily, but it handles wind and waves with such ease it’s simply amazing! Now and then we pop out on deck 7 to play in the wind, but it doesn’t take long before we run freezing in again with saltwater in our hair and big smiles on our faces.

Tonight we will be rocked to bed by Mother Nature herself, can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring, life is good and spirits high!

Thomas (Junior)