After enjoying the time-zone treat of a few hours of extra sleep in the morning (despite losing a day to cross the International Date Line), we awoke to a foggy landscape and a mellow rolling swell. Though we couldn’t yet see the coast of Russia, we could tell we were near by the exciting observations of several sea birds, including parakeet auklets, crested auklets, and northern fulmars.
Soon after the ship business of introductions, operational briefings, and a photography instruction session, we caught sight of land through the fog. After arriving in the port city of Provideniya, Russia and the affair of clearing customs, we disembarked to a warm local welcome of native dancers right on the dock and fresh bread and vodka. Though the city had many relics of busier times, the landscape of buildings was bright and colorful against the rocky hillsides under the thick blanket of fog.
We split into smaller groups to take in the rugged lighthouse, the impressive collection in the local museum, and a performance of the rich cultural diversity of local dances in this small town of about 2,000 residents. The generosity and kindness of the residents was notably inviting and genuine.
The captain welcomed us back aboard the ship and introduced some the outstanding officers and crew that make these voyages possible. As we head north to the easternmost point of the Eurasian continent, the galley and dining room showcase for us their very best, with a lovely dinner of roasted angus tenderloin and local coho salmon, followed by a delectable dessert of raspberry-chocolate fondant.