Wrangel Island: Across the Top of the World

Russian Far East Cruise

  • Spirit of Enderby
  • Research Ship
  • 50 Capacity
  • 16 Days
  • 2015 View Departure>
    • 2015
    • Jul 19 Sun
    • Aug 2 Sun
    • Aug 16 Sun
  • Price from
  • $11,200

Summary : Experience a unique expedition crosses the Arctic Circle and includes the isolated and pristine Wrangel and Herald Islands and a significant section of the wild North Eastern Siberian coastline. It's a journey only made possible in recent years by the thawing in the politics of the region and the retreat of summer pack ice in the Chukchi Sea. The small distance between Russian and the USA along this border area was known as the Ice Curtain, behind which then and now lies one of the great undiscovered wilderness areas in the world. Journey through the narrow Bering Strait and travel west along the Chukotka coastline before crossing the De Long Strait to Wrangel Island. The island is a treasure trove of Arctic biodiversity and is perhaps best known for the multitude of polar bears that breed here, and you hope to catch sight of this beautiful animals. The island also boasts the world's largest population of Pacific Walrus and lies near major feeding grounds for Gray Whales. And the massive bird cliffs of Herald Island are sure to impress. Experience these rarely visited Arctic islands that boast a rich natural history and plentiful wildlife viewing opportunities.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking

PRICING

Prices from
$11,200 to $13,800

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Itinerary
Day 1
Nome

For those departing Nome, Alaska your adventure begins with a flight across the Bering Sea and International Date Line to the remote port of Anadyr.

Day 2
Anadyr

All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr; depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr, before getting to know your fellow voyagers and expedition team on board the Spirit of Enderby. Depart when everybody is on board.

Day 3
Anadyrskiy Bay

At sea today, there will be some briefings and lectures it is also a chance for some ‘birding’ cetacean watching and settling into ship life. Late this afternoon, plan to Zodiac cruise some spectacular bird cliffs in Preobrazheniya Bay.

Day 4
Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands

Yttygran Island is home to the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley. Whalebones stretch along the beach for nearly half a kilometre. Gray Whales are frequently seen around the island, we will also cruise by Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands where seabirds nest and walrus can be found.

Day 5
Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village

Sea conditions permitting, we will land at Cape Dezhnev early this morning. The north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent, it is sometimes possible to see the coast of America from this remote and lonely outpost. A few nautical miles to the west of Cape Dezhnev we visit Uelen Village the most north-eastern village in Russia. The population is predominantly Chukchi and the village is one of the largest centres for traditional Chukchi and Inuit art in the world. We’ll be entertained by villagers and visit the bone-carving workshop during our visit.

Day 6
Kolyuchin Island

This small island was once an important Russian Polar Research Station and one of a number dotted across the Arctic. Near the derelict buildings are some of the most spectacular bird cliffs in the Arctic where puffins, guillemots and gulls can be observed and photographed up close.

Day 7 – 11
Wrangel and Herald Islands

Ice and weather conditions permitting, we will spend the next few days on Wrangel Island and we will also attempt to include a visit to nearby Herald Island. There are many landings that we can make to search out wildlife, wild flowers and Arctic landscapes. Polar Bears will be high on our list of animals to see and with a little patience we should be rewarded with a number of encounters. Musk Oxen and reindeer were introduced to the island in 1975 and 1948 though reindeer numbers are low. We also have a chance to visit Dragi Harbour where the survivors of the Karluk which was crushed by ice in 1914 scrambled ashore and lived until they were rescued. Wrangel Island is a Russian Federal Nature Reserve of international significance and importance particularly as it is a major Polar Bear denning area. Also each summer thousands of birds migrate here to breed, including Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuas, Arctic Terns, Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls.

Day 12
North Siberian Coast

Bounded by narrow sand ridges with numerous lagoons and inlets, this area offers plenty of places to land and explore this extensive coastline. We will be on the lookout for whales, walrus and other wildldife. We will see Chukchi villages whose residents survive in an unforgiving climate, hunting seals and whales just as their ancestors did.

Day 13
Kolyuchin Inlet

So huge that it is visible from satellite photos, this inlet contains vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory waders. We concentrate our visit on the Belaka Spit near the mouth of the inlet. It is a wild, desolate landscape that is strangely beautiful. We search the dunes and tidal areas for birdlife including Emperor Geese and Spoon-billed Sandpipers. Gray Whales frequent the area and are sometimes spotted feeding only metres offshore.

Day 14
Bering Strait and Chukotka Coast

Early morning we will pass the Diomede Islands, sometimes called Tomorrow Island and Yesterday Isle because they straddle the International Date Line. Here Russia and America are separated by only 2.3 nautical miles of ocean. We will remain in Russian territory as we cruise south past the islands. Later this afternoon we make an expedition landing on the Chukotka coast, our last chance to enjoy the wildlife and tundra landscape.

Day 15
At Sea

Relax as we sail across Anadyrskiy Bay towards Anadyr.

Day 16
Anadyr

After breakfast it will be time to say our farewells. There will be a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central downtown hotel.

Notes

The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

You can join this expedition either in Anadyr or in Nome, Alaska. Those starting in Nome will fly by a charter flight and join the ship in Anadyr.

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this tour operators programs, all passengers must purchase full medical and emergency evacuation insurance for the specific areas they will be visiting. The minimum coverage requirement is $100,000 for the tour operators programs. The policy provider, policy number and contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. We also strongly recommend that all passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance which would include coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.

Included:
Cabin accommodations; all meals on board the ship; onboard lectures and access to public areas; shore excursions as described; services of expedition team; pre- and post-cruise transfers.

Not Included:
Airfare to and from your home to the port of departure and port of arrival; private charter flight from Nome to Anadyr to Nome; items of a personal nature such as beverages, laundry, and medical supplies; travel insurance; passport and visa fees; gratuities; landing fees; fuel surcharge may apply.


PHOTOS: © K. Ovsyanikova; © M. Kelly; © A Terauds