In the morning, we found ourselves sailing through beautiful ice in Hornsund, a fjord in the southwest corner of Spitsbergen. We attempted to make our way as deep into the fjord as possible before being stopped by fast ice. Due to weather conditions, we were unable to run any operations. However, the beautiful landscape drew everyone to window seats, and we took it all in as we cruised around the fjord.

Later in the morning, naturalist Doug Gualtieri treated us to a wonderful presentation on the Is Byorn (ice bear or polar bear). Afterwards, most of the ship enjoyed a deliciously prepared lunch while our undersea team, James Hyde and Clara Fuquen, headed out to brave the 28-degree Fahrenheit waters of the Arctic Ocean.

In the afternoon, we decided to make the best of the weather. We made our way southeast, around the bottom of Spitsbergen. This put us in the right position to explore the east side of the island tomorrow. Naturalist Ezra Siegel presented a lecture on Fridtjof Nansen’s Fram Expedition, where Nansen attempted to reach the North Pole. Later, our Norwegian native, naturalist Erlend Folstand, treated us to a wonderful presentation. Erlend gave us an insightful look into the lives of those who live and work in Svalbard.

As the evening ended, the sun was still shining brightly on the calm waters of the eastern side of the island, leaving us excited for the day to come.