The polar bear encounters were something you would wait a lifetime to have. There is no doubt that up close their habits are fascinating, and we were so grateful for the sensitive method of approaching these beautiful creatures when advisable and giving them a wide berth (for their sakes) when not. We also appreciated the contact with the Chukchi people and their hospitality and entertainment. Then there were the snowy owls, snow geese, the myriad of shearwaters feeding in a sea full of whales, not to mention the walrus, seals and the tundra itself.
- Paul and Jacquie, travelled to Wrangel Island 2015
Day 0: 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 1: Anadyr All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr; depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr, the administrative centre of the Chukotka region, before getting to know your fellow voyagers and crew on board the Spirit of Enderby. Day 2: Anadyrskiy Bay We will depart Anadyr Harbour early morning and you are invited to join the captain, officers and the expedition staff on the bridge. The Anadyr estuary is renowned for its Beluga Whales. Day 3: 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. Grey 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 4: Cape Dezhnev / 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 5: 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. On our Zodiac cruise we will be on the lookout for potential Polar Bears and walrus. Days 6 to 10: Wrangel and Herald Islands Ice and weather conditions permitting, we will spend the next few days on Wrangel Island and we will also 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. The human history of Wrangel Island is fascinating on its own. Highlights include a 3,400 year old Palo Eskimo camp in Krassin Bay, controversy over discovery and ownership of the island, the amazing story of the survivors of the Karluk, the heroine of the island Ada Blackjack, the Soviet occupation and militarisation of the island and recently the establishment of this world class Nature Reserve. A host of similarly enthralling stories hail from several optional landings along the Northern Coasts of Chukotka. Our expert expedition team will take you on guided walks, Zodiac cruises and provide lectures to help you better understand and appreciate this unique high Arctic landscape. Day 11: North Siberian Coast Bounded by narrow sand ridges with numerous lagoons and inlets, this area offers plenty of places to land and explore a coastline that very few humans have seen and survived to tell the tale. Looking for walrus we will come across Chukchi villages whose residents scratch out a living in an unforgiving climate, hunting seals and whales just as their ancestors did. Day 12: 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 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. Grey Whales frequent the area and are sometimes spotted feeding only metres offshore. Day 13: 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 14: At Sea Relax as we sail across Anadyrskiy Bay towards Anadyr. Day 15: 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. Please Note: This itinerary subject weather conditions and decisions of the Captain and expedition leader and not all landings are guaranteed. Our itineraries are flexible and will change voyage to voyage, allowing the best chance to make the most of surprising wildlife displays and unexpected opportunities.
The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition cruising. She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in March 2012 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins, approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space. On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top New Zealand and Australian chefs. The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.