This is the boat we’re going to be on for 16 days, leaving tomorrow.
Yes, the red two masted schooner at the front, not the much bigger ship behind. It’s called the Noorderlicht (northern lights, I think?), and it was built in 1910, in Germany. Refitted about 20 years ago, and sleeps 20 passengers plus the crew.
I am imagining that this isn’t much smaller than the boat that my French ancestors would have traveled across the atlantic on in the 17th c.
Every time we mention in town that this is the boat we’re going on, people look wistful and say lovely things about it. The huge advantage, from Finch’s point of view, is that we have a lot more freedom about shore landings. When you land, you have to stay together with the guy-designated-the-polar-bear-spotter-and-shooter at the tail. With 20 people instead of 90 or 100 or more, we can stay clumped together and still see amazing birds and wildlife. Most of the people on this boat will be photographers, and it will also give us a lot of freedom to stop at unorthodox times if the light happens to be good. (As it has NOT been while we’ve been in Longyearbyen).
Me, I took one look and thought first of romantic sailings on the sea. Then started to feel increasingly nervous about seasickness. Finch promised me smoooooth seas before we left… but I’m glad I’ve hoarded patches and two kinds of tablets.
No wifi or any kind of contact while on board. Just us, the polar wilderness, polar creatures. I am all dazzly.