trip
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1
Discovery and Cruising
Activities
  • 14 days expedition crusing
Accommodation
  • 14 nights aboard Heritage Adventurer
Meals
  • 14 Dinners
  • 13 Lunches
  • 14 Breakfasts

15 Days$11450USD

Hit the trails with confidence

COVID safety measures
are in place with extra cleaning and hygiene protocols

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: ATR

Trip highlights


  • Cruising the coastline of the Russian Far East
  • Discovering the historical archaeological site of Whalebone Alley, where 50 to 60 Bowhead whale skulls rest
  • Spotting sea birds cruising with the ship, as well as visiting the most amazing bird cliffs in the entire Arctic on Kolyuchin Island
  • Wrangel & Herald Islands with their abundance of wildlife, including a high chance of spotting polar bears and possibly their cubs
  • Explore the wild desolate coastal area of Kolyuchin Inlet
  • Entering the homeland of the Chukchi and Siberian Yupik Eskimo nation

This is arguably one of the greatest high Arctic journeys in the world. It is only made possible by the collapse of communism, the relaxing of rules and the retreat of the Arctic sea ice. Our journey begins in Anadyr, the administrative centre of the Chukotka autonomous region. We then travel through the Bering Strait west along the north Siberian coastline, before crossing the Longa Strait to Wrangel and Herald Islands. En-route to Wrangel Island we plan to land at Cape Dezneva, the north eastern extremity of the Eurasian land mass, where there is a monument to early explorers. We also visit the small island, Kolyuchin, that was once an important Russian Research Station, where we visit some of the most amazing bird cliffs in the Arctic. Once we reach Wrangel and Herald Islands, we spend 3-4 days under the guidance of the Rangers and staff of the reserve. Untouched by glaciers during the last ice age, it is a treasure trove of Arctic biodiversity. It is perhaps best known for the high number of Polar Bears, and this remote outpost is often referred to by biologists as the ‘Polar Bear Maternity Ward’ on account of the large number of cubs born there each year. While on this voyage, we will take every opportunity to discover the rich biodiversity and history of this wild and beautiful land with landings, walks and zodiac excursions. You will feel truly privileged to discover a land and a people that time has forgotten.


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Our expedition begins and ends in Nome, Alaska’s most famous gold rush town. Make your way to the designated meeting point for your transfer to Heritage Adventurer (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents) where the captain and expedition team will be waiting to welcome you aboard. You will have the opportunity to settle into your accommodation and familiarise yourself on board before joining your fellow expeditioners on deck as we set sail across the Bering Strait and International Date Line for Provideniya, Russia.

Meals:  D

After clearing Russian Customs and Immigration there may be an opportunity to explore this fascinating former Soviet military port and administrative centre followed by an afternoon expedition.

Meals:  B,L,D

Yttygran Island is home to the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley, where whale bones stretch along the beach for nearly half a kilometre. There are many meat pits used for storage and other remains of a busy whaling camp that united several aboriginal villages at a time. In one location, immense Bowhead Whale jawbones and ribs are placed together in a stunning arch formation. Gray Whales are frequently seen around the island. After landing at Whale Bone Alley we will take the Zodiacs on a whale-watching excursion. This afternoon we intend to make a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs. They are a short walk from the coastline, but well worth the effort. There will be a chance to explore the tundra for birds, plants and animals as we walk to and fro. After a soak in the springs we will re join the ship for a relaxing evening

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning there may be an opportunity to enjoy a Zodiac safari of Bukhta Pultin. Beyond its narrow entrance this sheltered and rarely-visited bay opens revealing a new world. Explore the coastline, fields of wildflowers, look for wildlife or hike up the ridgeline and take in the impressive helicopter view. This afternoon we plan to be at Cape Dezhnev, the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. This cape commemorates the accomplishment of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev who was the first European to sail through this strait in 1648 (80 years before Bering did). On the cape is a lighthouse, a monument and the remains of a Border Guard base. If the weather and sea conditions are suitable we plan to land here and give you the opportunity to explore the area. A short distance south of the cape is the former Inuit settlement of Naukan. The Soviet government relocated these people to other Chukotka settlements in the 1950s as it was thought they posed a security risk, supposedly because of the close proximity of Alaska. It is still possible to sense the melancholy in the air because the people never wanted to leave. As the relocation was fairly recent, there is a wealth of historic data and photographs that makes this visit even more poignant.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is an expedition day where we plan to visit Kolyuchin Island and Inlet. Once the location of an important Russian Polar Research Station, this small island has since been abandoned following the collapse of the USSR. While the buildings are now derelict, the abundant wildlife the men studied is still there. Near the old station at the north-western end of the island are some of the most amazing bird cliffs in the Arctic, where puffins, guillemots, gulls and cormorants can be observed and photographed just metres away. A prominent walrus haul out often congregates at the south-eastern end and, if the animals are present, you can expect some excellent photographic opportunities from the Zodiacs. We also plan to visit Belaka Spit near the mouth of the Kolyuchin Inlet. So huge that it is visible from satellite photos, it contains vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory waders. This wild and desolate landscape is also a strangely beautiful birding hotspot. Joined by Beringia National Park rangers, we plan to search the dunes and tidal areas for Emperor Geese. If we are lucky, the Gray Whales which frequent the area will be feeding just metres offshore.

Meals:  B,L,D

Ice and weather conditions permitting, we will spend these days on Wrangel Island, and include a visit to nearby Herald Island. Wrangel Island is one of those islands that you have to visit to appreciate. The earliest human occupation is dated 3200 years BC, and it has been established they were seasonal hunters from Siberia. Wrangel was also formerly a large weather station with a staff of over 80, and for a few years indigenous people grazed reindeer. Today it is a Russian Federal Nature Reserve of international significance and importance, sometimes referred to as a polar bear maternity ward on account of the large number of cubs born each year. Local Rangers will accompany us during our stay. Our expedition program will be determined by the weather, sea and ice; but there are many landings that we can make to search out wildlife, wildflowers 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 – hopefully including females with cubs. Musk Oxen and reindeer were brought to the Island long ago, and we hope to see these in various locations. It is also the last landfall for migratory species flying north. Each summer thousands of birds migrate here to breed, including Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, Skuas, Arctic Terns, Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls. We will also visit a number of historic sites like Dragi Harbor, where the Karluk’s crew overwintered in 1914 after their ship was crushed by ice. And if conditions permit, we will explore Herald Island to the east of Wrangel Island.

Meals:  B,L,D

Although the North Siberian Coast is well-mapped and charted, there have been very few expedition cruises here and, consequently, there is a lot of scope for expedition landings. Depending on weather and sea conditions we will attempt an expedition landing today. There are several choices including Cape Vankarem where there is a seasonal large walrus haul out which may have animals present. Another is the area around the Cape bounded by narrow sand ridges with numerous coastal lagoons and inlets; while nearby there is a small Chukchi village whose residents still make their living hunting walrus, seals and whales. Another option is Chukchi village Nutepelmen, situated on a spit at the entrance to Pyngopikhin Lagoon, west of Cape Vankarem. As we sail through the Bering Strait 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. We continue along the 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 wildlife. We will see Chukchi villages whose residents survive in an unforgiving climate, hunting seals and whales just as their ancestors did.

Meals:  B,L,D

Picturesque Unnamed Bay is our planned destination for this morning where we will Zodiac cruise to shore. Welcomed by an expansive stretch of beach, backed by a lagoon and surrounded by rugged hills, there’s much to discover. Enjoy a walk along the beach and tundra looking for wildlife, or scale one of the nearby peaks and take in the stunning vistas. Dropping anchor in beautiful Lavrentiya Bay, we expect to spend the afternoon exploring its historically and culturally rich village. A former indigenous settlement, this Soviet-planned community was established in the 1920s as an administrative centre where local Chukchi and Siberian Yupik were encouraged to move to. We plan to visit the Lavrentiya museum, meet local elders and enjoy an authentic taste and slice of village life in the main square.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we will be launching our Zodiacs with a planned landing at Bukhta Penkingney, a long fiord cut into the coastline by glaciers and popular spot for whale watching. Here a small braided river, its gravel bed studded with Willow bushes, winds its way down to the sea where we land. Exploring this scenic location we will be looking for Arctic Ground Squirrels and Pikas, Willow Ptarmigan, Sandhill Cranes and brown bears attracted by the berries and salmon-filled river. This afternoon we plan to cruise over to Arakamchechen Island, just north of Cape Chaplino and separated from the Chukotka mainland by the 8-kilometre wide Senyavina Strait. Having watched Gray Whales feeding here previously, we recommend being out on deck as we slowly cruise through the strait. On Arakamchechen Island we aim to explore the lush tundra and, if they are present, view the prominent walrus haul out.

Meals:  B,L,D

After clearing Russian Customs and Immigration in Provideniya we will set sail for Nome across the Bering Strait. One of the world’s most nutrient-rich stretches of water, each spring the Bering Strait is the scene of one of the planet’s largest wildlife migrations. Beluga, Bowhead and Gray Whales, walrus, Ringed Seals and numerous seabirds are all known to frequent the strait so there is plenty of opportunity for wildlife encounters. Join the expedition team for a recap and disembarkation briefing before enjoying a farewell dinner to celebrate our journey as we sail back across the International Date Line.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast and clearing US Immigration and Customs formalities it will be time to say our farewells. There will be a complimentary transfer to take you to the airport or a designated central location. Note: During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and/or opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.

Meals:  B

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On arrival the Overlanders will go ashore, spend the afternoon and evening exploring the area including the nearby spit known for large haul outs of walrus. Visit Devil's Creek, the only archaeological site on the island where remains of a Paleo-Eskimos summer camp were discovered recently. The overnight accommodation will be Wrangel Ranger huts at Somnitelnya.

Meals:  B,L,D

Travel north firstly over the southern tundra slopes climbing gradually to a mountain pass through the Somnitelnie Mountains. A steep descent takes us to a tributary of the Mammoth River, the longest river on the island. In the evening we will enjoy a walk on the tundra slopes with possible sightings of Snowy Owls, Lemmings, Arctic Foxes and a huge variety of High Arctic plants. Stay overnight at the Peak Tundra hut, a field hut for studies of the Snow Geese nesting nearby.

Meals:  B,L,D

Continue down the Tundra River to the Academic Tundra, an extensive area that makes up over half the island. There are opportunities to see amazing fields of wild flowers, Musk Ox, and potentially reindeer, although numbers have been greatly reduced by recent harsh winters. We will return to the ship at midday near the Drum Head Mountains (also known as the Dream Head Mountains) on the north coast of the island.

Meals:  B,L,D


Inclusions

  • 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 14 dinners
  • Comfortable cabin accommodation on the voyage
  • All shore excursions as outlined in itinerary
  • Services of specialist expedition leaders and staff
  • All activities while on cruise including lectures, slide and film shows
  • Medical services (there is a resident medical officer and infirmary on board)
  • Departure transfer to the airport or hotel

  • International flights
  • Bottled water, aerated and alcoholic drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc
  • Mandatory Landing Fees USD$500
  • Airport and departure taxes
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance

Cabins


Departure dates


Notes

1
Mandatory landing fees of USD500 not included in cabin cost

Dates or itinerary don't fit?

Create a custom made itinerary for the perfect adventure. Choose when you travel, what you see and where you go.

Total Priceper person from

$11450USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Superior TripleUSD$11950
  • Superior Deck 4USD$14475
  • Superior Deck 5USD$15075
  • Worsley SuiteUSD$20950
  • Heritage SuiteUSD$28950
  • Mandatory Landing FeesUSD$500
  • 3 day Wrangel Island Overland TraverseUSD$1450
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Across the Top of the World - Russian Arctic trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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Why travel with us

Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

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Responsible travel is at the heart of every program we offer as a fundamental and long held philosophy. When you book one of our 100% carbon offset adventures you’re supporting true sustainability in the protection of local communities, natural environments and wildlife.

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 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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