Foundation I - Day One
Updated: Oct 22
Scientific instruments, expedition gear, a naturalist, journalists, a scientist, a film crew, Pro-Crew and Ocean Warrior Crew all aboard, we had a brief introduction from me and a safety talk from Captain Rasmus and we set off from Longyear Port at mid-afternoon on the 1st September.
I, for one, was like a fish out of water. Despite leading an expedition to the Antarctic and “doing” the notoriously rough Drake Passage in Skip Novak’s 55-foot Pelagic sailing yacht, this was an entirely new extreme domain for me and something I had only dreamt of achieving since starting Ice Warrior 22 years ago. Ocean Warrior, the second in the Global Warrior Project series, was truly underway.
Sailing vessel Linden is the first thing that comes into view when looking out to sea from Longyearbyen town, northeast, across Isfjorden. Huge, solid, majestic, awe-inspiring (and I don’t use that word often) she dominates the port with her three masts gently but firmly reaching up to the sky and down to almost 50 metres of solid, shapely wood, partly painted white and copper bottomed.
Getting to know her was our first task as we ventured westward under power as, sadly, we had no wind. She is beautifully designed to bridge functionality with comfort. Atop the deck and in between the masts sit a forward salon – a super drying room - and a main salon with all the comforts of home and more. As you sat down on the red felt benches or chairs and stared out of the large “port windows”, great coffee and numerous teas were constantly available and frequently accompanied by way too tempting fresh baked cake and biscuits, whose smell permeated the atmosphere. This was going to be an expedition like no other I’ve experienced.
Sam and I had a cabin which was down a level, mid-ships, spacious, warm and dry. Even ensuite! I’m at 78 degrees north, deep in the wild already and so comfortable. I was suddenly engulfed in a fearful momentary thought; I may never want to go back to a frigid, rattling micro-thin nylon tent just about holding off a breeze at minus thirty!
Our plan was to make progress and watch the weather and sea as we did so and decide on that basis where to anchor for the night. As we ventured further towards the open ocean the movement of Linden across the sea became more evident and pronounced and the question, I’d been harbouring to myself pushed its way to the forefront of my thoughts. Would I be seasick or not?
Fortunately, after four hours Captain Rasmus decided that we should take refuge this evening, the sea went smooth, the sea's motion virtually stopped, and the beauty of mountainous land surrounded us providing a shelter against the increasing wind. We had arrived at Trygghamna.
After the ProCrew took delight at showing us how to drop anchor we had a sumptuous supper, a team briefing including a session where we all introduced ourselves properly and then retired to bed. A short but satisfying day.
Where Svalbard is on Earth
Start: Longyear Port 78.22º North, 15.60º East
Finish: Trygghamna 78.25º North, 13.79º East
Captain Rasmus Jacobsen
First Mate - Sixten Hüllert
Cook - Louise Lerche
Titi Linde La Boube
Hannah Udklit Kristensen
Lisa Gro Lange Olsen
Marcus Harley Bojesen
Ocean Warrior Crew:
Expedition Leader and Founder - Jim McNeill
Scientist - Professor Icarus Allen
Naturalist & Film Crew - Ian McCarthy
Production Manager - Ann McCarthy
Content Creator - Sam McNeill
Journalist - Jamie Lafferty
Journalist - Eddie Devlin
Director of Warrior Citizen Science - Richard Painter