We continue to cruise further north. Each moment, we are further north than we have ever been in our lives. The Internet service is probably toast above 76 degrees north latitude.
Last night we had dinner with two folks from our Roll Call and our trivia team, Marsha and Lou, from Staten Island. Steve and I had a great meal in the Grand Dining Room, with a soft shell crab appetizer, an apple and feta cheese salad, and a lovely cut of prime rib. Dessert for me was a Baccarat, an open fruit torte that was very yummy; Steve had Key Lime Pie. So far, the GDR has had the best food.
This morning (Sunday, July 14) has been hectic. We got up to have breakfast, quickly followed by a close cruise-by of Bear Island, the southernmost island in the Svalbard archipelago. This island is primarily a bird refuge and we saw many different types of birds flying around from our veranda (somewhat protected from the wind). Right after seeing Bear Island, we had a second mandatory life boat drill (cruises longer than 14 days must have multiple drills). Finally, we are relaxing in Horizons, having late coffee and watching the calm, grey seas. We are still seeing lots of birds and are looking for whales. The water temperature is about 36 degrees, according to our Captain and the air temperature is 41 degrees.
Tomorrow: Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen (Svalbard). Woo-hoo!
Update: We’re eating lunch outside at Waves, just to say we did it at 76 degrees north latitude. Bundled up of course.
Second update: Now about 3:00 pm, Internet continues to survive in spite of the ridiculous
low angle of the receiver angle to the satellites almost below the horizon. The sea is like glass. We had fog earlier for a short while, but now the visibility is quite good and we even had blue skies and sun briefly. Kittiwakes and fulmars are still hanging around the ship. There was a whale sighting earlier but we missed it.
Third update: Internet still lives! It is now 5:30 pm and we can see the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen Island. The skies have cleared up and a few moments ago we saw a couple of dolphins. Earlier, Steve and I saw two whales spouts far to the west. We also had an unfortunate sighting of Inappropriatus cruisus discussius, that all-too-common species of fellow passenger who strides over to us with hands on hips, unbidden, to ask us “what do you think of the Zimmerman verdict”? This woman barely knows us through the CC Roll Call, but felt confident that we must share in her opinion of events. When we did not quite register the same opinion as her, she was quite shocked. Politics and religion should be strictly verboten as discussion topics between casual strangers on a cruise ship.
Fourth update: 7:00 pm- Internet still kicking, placid seas, blue sky, spectacular peaks in view on Spitsbergen. All we need are whales performing in front of us.
Fifth update: 8:00 pm – whales have been spotted – likely deep divers, like fin or sperm whales.