Edmonton - Tuesday, Aug. 22. Pre-expedition dinner at the Hotel Macdonald
Wednesday, Aug. 23, Day 1
We were up at 5 am. The buses started leaving for the airport at 6 am where we were taken to the Executive Terminal. The flight to Resolute Bay with Canada North left at 8 am with a refuelling stop at Yellowknife. They weighed our suitcases, but otherwise, no regular security.
On our arrival at Resolute Bay, we had time to wander around the airport for awhile. The plane nearly dwarfed the small terminal. After wandering around for awhile, I tried to use the washrooms and found there was no water. They are serviced by water trucked in to fill a tank and the shipload of passengers waiting to be flown back to Edmonton, combined with all of us waiting to be taken to the ship, had totally exhausted the resources.
Eventually we were bused to shore - several loads with a van and a mini-bus - where we were instructed in the use of life jackets and were taken to the Akademik Sergey Vavilov by Zodiac.
We had a chance to unpack, attend a welcome reception in the lounge and wander around the ship a bit. Dinner was served at 7 pm and sometime during dinner we departed from Resolute, but it was so quiet and smooth most of us didn’t realize that we were under way.
After dinner we walked on the decks and there were significant ice floes, many in a brilliant turquoise colour. We returned to the library with our computer to edit photographs. We had a good view of where we were going and eventually spotted another ship coming towards us. We stopped and someone was sent out in a Zodiac to the other ship which, we realized was the sister ship to ours.
We found our cabin cozy, to say the least. But our Arctic gear did not fit well. Apparently, the designation of women’s or men’s sizes was disregarded. There is the possibility of three bunks in our cabin which shares a tiny bathroom with the next cabin. However, the upper bunk is folded up, making more space. We managed to find storage for our items, but it was tricky. A large area is taken by an unplugged fridge which, perhaps, is used when the ship is being used as a research vessel.
The Vavilov has six accessible decks plus a higher observation deck. We are on deck 4. Deck 3 has the mudroom where we don life jackets and gum boots before entering the Zodiacs for shore excursions and it also has the dining room and sauna.
Level 1 has a multi-media room and a presentation room as well as areas for crew only though they are accessible by different staircases down from deck 3. The library is on deck 5 and it’s a pleasant place to view where the ship is going without being windblown. Its large table is also a comfortable place to read or edit pictures on the computer. There is no regular Internet service on board. It is possible to get a ship-based email account, but no Internet access otherwise. We decided against it but in case of emergency, we can be contacted through the ship’s email address.
Finally, on deck 6, there is a lounge/bar, access to outside decks and access to the bridge which is often open to passengers, but not when we are threading our way through a field of ice floes or heavy fog.