Northeast Passage: Spirit of Enderby

Russian Arctic

Be an active participant making history on this epic expedition across Russia's Northwest Passage, one of the greatest seaways in the world. Our vessel Spirit of Enderby is no stranger to polar regions having explored the Russian Far East over many years. We invite you to join this historic journey which explores the history and development of the route and the many Arctic islands along the way

  • Transit one of the greatest seaways in the world
  • Whale Bone Alley archaeological site
  • Cape Dezhnev, eastern extremity of Eurasia
  • Hospitality of Chukchi Reindeer herders
  • Bird cliffs of puffins, guillemots and gulls.
  • Wrangel Island World Heritage Site
  • Unexplored New Siberian Islands
  • Severnaya Zemlya Islands, heavily glaciated with deep fiords and majestic glaciers
  • Arctic flora and wildlife including Polar Bears, Arctic Foxes, Arctic Hares and walruses.
  • Franz Josef Land archipelago
  • 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

    Stewart's Take

    Only a handful of expedition vessels have ever transited this seaway


    Be an active participant making history on this epic expedition across Russia's Northwest Passage, one of the greatest seaways in the world. Our vessel is no stranger to polar regions having explored the Russian Far East over many years. We invite you to join this historic journey which explores the history and development of the route and the many Arctic islands along the way
    WESTBOUND ITINERARY: Day 0: Nome For those departing from Nome, Alaska, your adventure begins with a flight across the Bering Sea to Anadyr, the capital of Chukotka. Day 1: Anadyr Join the Spirit of Enderby this afternoon. There are excellent chances to spot Beluga Whales as we sail out of the Anadyr Estuary. Day 2: Preobrazhnaya Bay Crossing the Gulf of Anadyr there will be opportunities for wildlife watching. This afternoon 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 3: 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. This afternoon we plan a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs, Sandhill Cranes usually breed in the area. Day 4: Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village Early this morning we will arrive at 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. In the afternoon 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. Day 5: 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. Days 6 to 8: 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 9: 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. Day 10: 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 11: 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 12: 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. Days 13 to 14: 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. Days 15 to 16: 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 17 to 19: 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 20 to 21: 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 Franz Josef Land, we will look to make a landing on the island, conditions permitting. Days 22 to 24: 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 25 to 26: 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 southwards opportunities for spotting Humpback Whales and Harp Seals that feed in these waters increase. Day 27: Murmansk Murmansk is home to the Russia’s icebreaker fleet and featured as a strategically important port throughout the history of Russia. We disembark the ship in Murmansk, transfers to the airport or central hotels are provided. Important Note: 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, however depending on approvals these may have to be amended or substituted.

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    Expedition Vessel: M/V Spirit of Enderby

    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.

    For full information about this vessel click here:

    Included Pre/Post cruise transfers, all on board ship accommodation with meals and all expedition shore excursions.
    Excluded All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance. Local Payment $500.00 USD pp Private charter flight from Nome to Anadyr $1300 USD
    Deposits - Reservations require a deposit of 25% 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. Cancellations - All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 180 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a $US750.00 per person administration fee. For cancellations received within 179 and 91 days of the embarkation date the full deposit will be forfeited. If cancellation occurs within 90 days prior to the departure date the total price is forfeited. If cancellation occurs within 90 days and full payment has not yet been received, the total price will still apply and any unpaid monies are due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms - Please read carefully the General Booking Conditions for Expeditions Online. This voyage is operated by Heritage 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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