Zodiac exploration in the Arctic

Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos

Russian Arctic

Explore the most enigmatic and extreme regions of the Russian High Arctic with this epic High Arctic Odyssey. From the heavily glaciated Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land to the isolated islands of the icy Kara Sea, this exclusive itinerary was designed to spend more time exploring these pristine places, increasing your chances of encountering unique wildlife and visiting some of our favorite far-flung destinations steeped in polar history. If weather and ice conditions allow, we will explore Severnaya Zemlya, the last major territorial discovery on the planet

  • Experience a true expedition as we explore rarely visited Severnaya Zemlya
  • Encounter iconic Arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, walrus and seabirds
  • Explore glaciated Novaya Zemlya, where the earliest Arctic explorers overwintered
  • Visit significant sites at Franz Josef Land and learn about the region’s storied history
  • Discover rarely visited islands of the icy Kara Sea
  • Convenient gateway of Helsinki
 

Free flight package


Overview

Explore the most enigmatic and extreme regions of the Russian High Arctic with this epic High Arctic Odyssey. From the heavily glaciated Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land to the isolated islands of the icy Kara Sea, this exclusive itinerary was designed to spend more time exploring these pristine places, increasing your chances of encountering unique wildlife and visiting some of our favorite far-flung destinations steeped in polar history. If weather and ice conditions allow, we will explore Severnaya Zemlya, the last major territorial discovery on the planet.
Day 1 — Helsinki, Finland Your arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and design scene and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If you arrive early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel. Day 2 — Embarkation in Murmansk, Russia After breakfast, we will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Murmansk, Russia. Once aboard, get acquainted with the ship and crew and settle in for your voyage north. Days 3 and 4 — At Sea Today we sail through the Barents Sea, named for the great Dutch explorer Willem Barents, who led two expeditions to Novaya Zemlya in the 1590s. Your Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the region, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. Expedition Staff will also keep a lookout for the seabirds, such as kittiwakes, skuas and fulmars, soaring above your ship. Whale and seal sightings may also be possible in this biologically rich sea. Days 5 to 7 — Exploring Novaya Zemlya The largest of the Eurasian arctic archipelagoes, the rarely visited Novaya Zemlya (“New Land”) is the third-largest wilderness area in Europe. This seemingly long, thin island actually consists of two main islands, Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern), separated by the imposing Matochkin Strait. These islands are pure, rugged arctic beauty at its best—massive extinct volcanoes, jagged ice cliffs and the most isolated mountain range in the Barents Sea. As we explore Novaya Zemlya, expect a new adventure every day. Each expedition will be unique, depending on the weather and ice, but a few landing sites we strive to visit include Inostrantseva Bay, the Oransky Islands, Cape Zhelaniya, Cape Spory Navalok and Russkaya Gavan. Boasting one of the most picturesque glaciers in the entire archipelago, Inostrantseva Bay provides breathtaking panoramic views of pristine arctic wilderness. If conditions allow, we may explore ashore, or Zodiac cruise along the face of the glacier, at a safe distance, possibly witnessing the wonders of calving ice. Encounters with Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) are likely, owing to a small colony in the coastal cliffs. To the east side of Severny Island are the Oransky Islands. Wildlife abounds here, with a variety of animal and plant life to be discovered, Walrus have been sighted here on many previous expeditions. Coming across a walrus haul-out is unforgettable. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create a raucous as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline. Encounters with whales and seabirds are possible, as well as polar bears, a genetically distinct subpopulation here. A significant site in polar exploration, Novaya Zemlya also offers a number of opportunities for you to trace the footsteps of famous explorers and reflect on the region’s history. Days 8 to 13 — Exploring the Kara Sea Say goodbye to Novaya Zemlya as we cruise farther east, exploring the Kara Sea. The westernmost Asian sea off Siberia, the Kara Sea is known as the “ice cellar” of the Arctic, as it is often encumbered by trapped ice floes. Ice conditions will be considered by your skilled captain during navigation—luckily sea ice happens to be a great habitat for iconic arctic wildlife. There are several sites and small archipelagoes along the Siberian coast we hope to explore, tracing the path of polar explorers searching for the Northeast Passage. Weather and ice will determine where we explore, but some areas we hope to visit include Russky Island, Troynoy Island and Cape Chelyuskin. Both Russky Island and Troynoy Island are part of the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve, the largest reserve in Eurasia. Russky Island is the site of a former polar station, established, in part, to monitor navigation along the Northern Sea Route, the Russian section of the Northeast Passage. Troynoy Island is the largest of the Izvesti Tsik Islands, about 90 miles (150 km) off the coast of the Taymyr Peninsula. The island is uninhabited, except for the researchers at the weather station. Home to an ivory gull colony, the island is also frequented by polar bears. At the tip of the Taymyr Peninsula is Cape Chelyuskin, the northernmost point of the Russian and Eurasian mainland and the site of another active research station. Here, at “the edge of the earth,” we hope to explore on foot. Dependent on ice and weather conditions, an exploration of Severnaya Zemlya embodies the true spirit of adventure. Dominated by glaciers and polar desert, the archipelago was not discovered until 1913 and remained virtually unexplored till 1930–32, the last major undiscovered territory on earth. Amongst many possible destinations, we hope to visit a number of glaciers, including the Vavilov Ice Cap and those at Marat Fjord. If conditions are favorable, we may cruise the Red Army Strait, flanked by the massive Academy of Sciences Glacier (which also runs along the eastern shore of Zhuravlev Bay) and the smaller Rusanov Glacier. As one of very few people to ever explore this remote area in depth, you’ll want to have your camera ready to capture these amazing sights. Day 14 — At Sea There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team, relax in our polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the sea and searching for wildlife. Days 15 to 18 — Exploring Franz Josef Land This remote group of 191 islands, many ice covered, forms the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. A nature reserve, it is part of the Russian Arctic National Park. Our exploration of the region is highly determined by weather and ice conditions, but we hope to explore historical sites, remote seabird colonies and walrus rookeries such as Cape Flora, Cape Norway, Bell Island and Tikhaya Bukta. Polar bear encounters are also possible. On Jackson Island, Cape Norway is where Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered from 1895 to 1896. The conditions were astonishingly difficult, but they survived until the summer and continued their journey south. The remains of their stone hut are still here today, with a memorial marking the event. Exploring Tikhaya Bukta (Calm Bay), the site of an abandoned weather station on Hooker Island, is a step back in time. There is plenty to discover as you wander the ruins, immersed in Russian polar history, and you may even be able to send a postcard from the post office! Another possible landing site, if time and weather permit, is Cape Tegetthoff on Hall Island, where we hope to visit the Barents memorial. The scenery here is spectacular, and we may be fortunate to view polar bears and Atlantic walrus. Days 19 and 20 — At Sea As your arctic expedition winds down, you have a couple of days to sail through this wildlife-rich sea, where whales of various species are often seen. Take in a presentation, reminisce about your journey with your shipmates, relax in the lounge while swapping stories and photos or enjoy the solitude of the sea. Expedition staff will be on hand to answer any questions and spot wildlife. Day 21 — Disembarkation Murmansk & Fly to Helsinki Returning to Russia’s most northerly city, you’ll have time to bid farewell to your Expedition Team and crew before catching our group charter flight back to Helsinki, where you will have one more night in this exquisite city. Day 22 — Helsinki After breakfast, spend time exploring more of the Finnish capital or catch your homeward-bound flight. Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

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Luxury Expedition Ship M/S Ocean Adventurer

Luxury Expedition Ship M/V Ocean Adventurer

This Polar Adventure Ship formerly known as Sea Adventurer was built in 1975. She underwent a $13 million conversion in 1998 and again in 2017. Her proud reputation is complimented by her well-appointed, elegance. Ocean Adventurer is the perfect expedition ship for people who enjoy soft adventures and creature comforts. Ocean Adventurer is equipped with Zodiacs for shore landings and ocean level cruising, yet offers fine dining, and cabins with exterior views and facilities en suite.

For full information about this vessel click here...

Included
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
  • All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board
  • Beer and house wine during dinner
  • All shore landings per the daily program
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
  • Formal and informal presentations by our
  • Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled
  • Photographic journal documenting the expedition
  • Waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
  • Expedition parka to keep
  • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle
  • Hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin
  • Comprehensive onboard materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
  • All luggage handling aboard the ship
  • Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person
  • Russian invitation letter for visa application provided after final payment
  • Excluded
    • Mandatory Transfer Package*
    • International airfare
    • Arrival and departure transfers in Helsinki
    • Passport and visa expenses
    • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
    • Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
    • Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
    • Excess-baggage fees on international flights
    • Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac
    • cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
    • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal
    • charges unless specified
    • Phone and Internet charges
    • Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
    • Additional overnight accommodation
    • Optional kayaking activities
    Rates and Share Bookings Prices shown are per person in US Dollars on a shared basis. We can on request also quote for you in Euros, British Pounds, Australian Dollars or Swedish Crowns. If you are travelling alone and wish to share, we can match you with someone of the same gender at share rate. If desired, Single occupancy is available at 1.7 times the twin share rate for standard cabins (or twice the share rate for premium cabins or suites). Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% (minimum $1000 per person) at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 90 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 90 days prior to departure and may be paid by bank transfer. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 365 days or more prior to departure, are refundable less an administrative fee of US$300/€250/AUD400/GBP250/SEK2750 per person - or a US$400/€350/AUD550/GBP350/SEK3750 per person for future travel credit within the next twelve (12) months of date of cancelled voyage. If cancellation is received between 364 days and 91 days, the deposit is forfeited. If cancellation occurs 90 days or less prior to departure, all payments are forfeited. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply, and any unpaid balance is due immediately. To protect your investment, we highly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms Please read carefully the Terms and Conditions for Expeditions Online (link at the bottom of this page). This voyage is operated by Quark Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.
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