- 7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 7 Dinners
Upon reaching Russian waters, we head directly to the extremely remote military base at Nagurskoye for immigration clearance into the Russian Federation. During this process, we will be anchored in Cambridge Bay, one of the best places in Franz Josef Land for spotting marine mammals.
For the rest of our time in Franz Josef Land, we will be free to explore the many islands of this dramatic High Arctic wilderness in whatever way best suits the conditions we encounter. As with any true polar expedition, our schedule and route will be shaped by weather and ice. At this time of year, we expect to find sea ice almost everywhere. This will give us plenty of chances to enjoy the incredible sight of polar bears and walrus on ice. With the advantage of 24-hour daylight, we will make the most of every opportunity for exploration and wildlife viewing, no matter where we may find ourselves in this vast polar wilderness.
The entirety of Franz Josef Land belongs to the Russian Arctic National Park, one of the most remote and inaccessible nature sanctuaries on our planet. Ubiquitous glaciers and ice caps create a scene of otherworldly beauty. Polar bears and Arctic foxes are especially abundant in the stark and primeval icescapes of this virgin wilderness. Icy channels and fjords are home to ice-dependent seals, including harp seals, bearded seals and a large population of walrus. Keen observers are also likely to spot Arctic whales such as bowheads, belugas or even narwhal. Mountainsides and sea cliffs throughout the islands host enormous nesting colonies of migratory seabirds such as guillemots, little auks, northern fulmars, ivory gulls, and many more. Arctic flora is particularly abundant now at the peak of the blooming season.
Since its discovery in 1873, Franz Josef Land has been a stage for incredible events in the history of polar exploration. The heroic struggles of Fridtjof Nansen and other famous explorers feel unexpectedly poignant at well-preserved historical sites such as Cape Norway and Cape Flora. Memorials, monuments, crosses and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible events that are further illuminated by our polar historians.
Additional highlights on our itinerary include Tikhaya Bukhta, a Russian Arctic National Park ranger station occupying Soviet-era research buildings. Here you can talk to station personnel and buy unique souvenirs at the gift shop. We also hope to explore some fascinating geological features, such as the mysterious stone spheres on Champ Island and the amazing basaltic columns at the Rubini Rock seabird colony. Collectors of geographical extremes may also take note that Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of land in Eurasia and the Eastern Hemisphere.
This exciting Arctic cruise is your chance to explore one of the world’s most intriguing polar environments. Each trip to Franz Josef Land is a one-of-a-kind adventure. Your custom voyage map will reflect an expedition as unique and memorable as this incomparable destination, full of unscripted wildlife encounters and unforgettable discoveries.