Day 1: Murmansk
Join your ship and depart. After sailing there will be introductions to ship and crew.
Days 2 to 3: Barents Sea
The Barents Sea was named in honour of Dutch seafarer and navigator, Willem Barents, who explored this region on expeditions in 1594 and 1596. As we move northwards opportunities for spotting Humpback Whales and Harp Seals that feed in these waters increase.
Days 4 to 6: Franz Josef Land
This huge archipelago of 192 islands located only 10 degrees from the North Pole offers numerous locations to explore. Close to the permanent ice of the Arctic Ocean and accessible to the rich waters of the Atlantic gifts these waters with diverse and abundant marine life. The islands have a fascinating and rich record of exploration, scientific research and habitation. Landings planned including Cape Triest on Alger Island where the famous ‘Devil’s Marbles’ (spherical geodes) dot the landscape, Cape Flora on Northbrook Island where the remains of three historic expeditions are found in close proximity and Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island where the numbers of guillemots and kittiwakes on the columnar cliffs of Rubini Rock are unforgettable. We also plan to visit Cape Tegetthoff where a healthy population of Polar Bears lives. There are good chances to spot Beluga and Bowhead Whales and if we are fortunate we may find Narwhal.
Days 7 to 8: Kara Sea
Lying between Novaya Zemlaya, Franz Josef Land and the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago the Kara Sea is generally considered to be the coldest sea in Russia. Ostrov Vize is along our route to Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago, we will look to make a landing on the island, conditions permitting.
Days 9 to 11: Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago
The Severnaya Zemlya Islands are on the border of the Kara and Laptev Seas and are an extension of the Taymyr Peninsula. These islands were not discovered until 1914-15, with the three largest heavily glaciated with deep fiords and majestic tidewater glaciers regularly calving icebergs. We aim to visit a colony of Ivory Gulls.
Days 12 to 13: Laptev Sea
This sea is bounded by the Taymyr Peninsula, the Severnaya Islands in the west and the Novosibirskie Islands in the east. We will explore the Taymyr Peninsula, Laptev Sea Walrus are only found in this area and we will be on the lookout for haulouts to photograph. We may also spot the lesser known Taymyr form of Herring Gull.
Days 14 to 15: Noviye Sebirskiye (New Siberian Islands)
These islands, which consist of three major groups – Southern, Central (Anzhu) and Northern (De Long), mark the border between the Laptev and East Siberian Seas. We have allowed two days for exploring this remarkable yet seldom visited archipelago, conditions permitting we hope to have the opportunity to visit each group.
Day 16: East Siberian Sea
It was in this sea that the Jeanette, captained by George Washington De Long, became stuck fast and was crushed by ice in 1879. Wreckage from the Jeanette found in Greenland in 1884 gave Nansen the idea for the now famous 1893-96 Fram Expedition drifting across the Arctic Ocean.
Day 17: Medvezhyi Islands
Today we will explore the little known and seldom visited Medvezhyi Islands (Bear Islands), an archipelago of five granitic islands. The islands have a sizeable population of Polar Bears which den on these shores over winter. A landing on the island of Chetyrekhstolbovoy offers the opportunity to hike to the unusual rock ‘pillows’ which the island is named after. On Pushkareva Island investigate the old lighthouse or enjoy the Arctic flowers that cover the expansive tundra.
Day 18: Ayon Island
The Chukchi people that call this island home are reindeer herders and hunters. We will enjoy the warm hospitality of the local people as we learn about life on this remote island.
Day 19: East Siberian Sea
This sea is defined by the Novosibirskie Islands in the west and Wrangel Island to the east, along its southern shores are three of Siberia’s major rivers, the Indigirka, Alazaya and the Kolyma. We will lookout for walrus and Bowhead Whales.
Days 20 to 22: Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island is a Federal Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site of international significance. It is a major Polar Bear denning area and one of the few areas of the Arctic to not be glaciated during recent glacial episodes. It is sometimes referred to as a Polar Bear maternity ward on account of the large numbers of cubs born here. There are numerous other Arctic species which we will be looking for including Musk Ox, Arctic Fox, Snow Geese and the Snowy Owls which breed here annually. The diversity of tundra flora is exceptional and during walks ashore we should see the last flowers of summer.
Day 23: Kolyuchin Island
Today we plan to land on Kolyuchin Island, although we will be visiting after the peak of the breeding season, there should still be large numbers of Tufted and Horned Puffins, Brunnich’s and Common Guillemots and Black-legged Kittiwakes. There may also be an opportunity to Zodiac cruise around the base of the cliffs where there are excellent photographic opportunities. Humpback and Bowhead Whales have been seen in this area previously.
Day 24: Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village
This morning we will enjoy the hospitality of the local people in the village of Uelen who are predominantly Chukchi. Our visit will include a cultural performance and visit to the famous bone-carving studio and museum. In the afternoon, we visit Cape Dezhnev, the eastern extremity of the Eurasian continent. The Bering Strait is a vitally important migratory pathway, we may see flocks of King, Common and Spectacled Eiders passing south.
Day 25: Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
Whale Bone Alley on Yttygran Island is one of the most significant and intriguing archaeological sites in the Arctic. The waters nearby remain rich feeding grounds for whales, weather permitting we will look to take the Zodiacs in search of Gray Whales and walrus. We also plan a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs, Sandhill Cranes usually breed in the area.
Day 26: Preobrazhnaya Bay
Crossing the Gulf of Anadyr there will be opportunities for wildlife watching. We plan to explore the magnificent coastal cliffs of Preobrazhnaya Bay by Zodiac, home to an abundance of seabirds including Brunnich’s Guillemot, Crested and Parakeet Auklets, plus Tufted and Horned Puffins.
Day 27: Anadyr
The expedition finishes in Anadyr. After a final breakfast it will be time to disembark. There will be a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central downtown hotel. Important Notes: These expeditions are subject to approval from various Russian Federal and Regional Authorities and may have to change depending on these approvals. Permits have been lodged for all the sites mentioned in the itinerary, depending on approvals these may have to be amended or substituted. We will endeavour to keep participants fully informed of any changes in the itinerary as and when they occur. Enquire for a full itinerary. NB: Voyage #2029 runs in reverse.