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Polar bear and cub

Wrangel Island: Across the Top of the World

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard Kapitan Khlebnikov
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This unique expedition crosses the Arctic Circle and includes the isolated and pristine Wrangel and Herald Islands and a significant section of the wild North Eastern Siberian coastline. It is a journey only made possible in recent years by the thawing in the politics of the region and the retreat of summer pack ice in the Chukchi Sea. The very small distance between Russia and the USA along this border area was known as the Ice Curtain, behind which then and now lies one of the last great undiscovered wilderness areas in the world.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Anadyr | Embark
Day 2 : Anadyrskiy Bay and at Sea
Day 3 : Lavrentiya and Cape Dezhnev
Day 4 : Kolyuchin Inlet and Kolyuchin Island
Day 5 : At Sea
Days 6-10 : Wrangel and Herald Islands
Day 11 : At Sea and North Siberian Coast
Day 12 : At Sea and Masik Village
Day 13 : Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands
Day 14 : Preobrazheniya Bay
Day 15 : Anadyr | Disembark

Highlights

  • View Chukchi song and dance and to interact with the locals of Lavrentiya
  • Search the dunes and tidal areas for birdlife of Kolyuchin Inlet
  • Observe and photograph puffins, guillemots up close at Kolyuchin Island
  • See Polar Bears, seals and walrus on ice across the Chukchi Sea.

Ship

Kapitan Khlebnikov

Places Visited

  • Asia
  • Russia
  • Russian Far East
  • Anadyr
  • Arakamchechen Islands
  • Cape Dezhnev
  • Chukotka Peninsula
  • Herald Island
  • Kolyuchin Islands
  • Nuneangan
  • Wrangel Island
  • Yttygran

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Polar bear and cub Arctic fox peeking out from the greenery Arctic puffins A herd of arctic caribou feed through the snow. Explore rocky beaches of the Russian Far East Evening light over the sea of Okhotsk Be on the lookout for fantastic Arctic wildlife, such as shaggy muskoxen, while on your polar exploration A lone reindeer searches for its herd

Day 1 Anadyr | Embark

All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr; depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr, before getting to know your fellow voyagers and expedition team on board the Kapitan Khlebnikov. You will depart when everybody is on board.

Day 2 Anadyrskiy Bay and at Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you sail across Anadyrskiy Bay towards the Bering Strait there will be introductory lectures and a series of compulsory briefings and drills. Relax or enjoy some birding and cetacean watching with our naturalists and settle into ship life.

Day 3 Lavrentiya and Cape Dezhnev

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in Lavrentiya Bay this morning to visit the Chukchi Region’s administrative centre of Lavrentiya. You will explore the township and visit the local museum which displays an interesting insight into Yupik and Chukchi cultures. There may be an opportunity to view Chukchi song and dance and to interact with the locals.

Sea conditions permitting, you will land at Cape Dezhnev this afternoon. 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. It is also an historic landmark named after the Siberian Cossack, Semyon Dezhnev, who in 1648 became the first European to sail from the Arctic to the Pacific.

Day 4 Kolyuchin Inlet and Kolyuchin Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Kolyuchin Inlet is so huge that it is visible from satellite photos; this inlet contains vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory waders. Concentrate your visit on Belaka Spit near the mouth of the inlet. It is a wild, desolate landscape that is strangely beautiful. Search the dunes and tidal areas for birdlife including Emperor Geese and Spoon-billed Sandpipers. Gray Whales frequent the area and are sometimes spotted feeding only metres offshore.

Later today you will arrive at 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.

Day 5 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continue your journey north across the Chukchi Sea, there may be sea ice to negotiate your way through as you get closer to Wrangel Island; this could offer your first opportunities to see Polar Bears, seals and walrus on ice.

Day 6-10 Wrangel and Herald Islands

  • Ship
  • 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Ice and weather conditions permitting, we will spend the next few days on Wrangel Island and we will also attempt to 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.

Day 11 At Sea and North Siberian Coast

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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.

Day 12 At Sea and Masik Village

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This afternoon we plan to visit Masik Village, an archaeological site at Mechigmen Bay which is part of Beringia National Park. This site consists of subterranean dwellings, food caches and possible ceremonial structures where materials used in construction were whale skulls, ribs and jawbones.

Day 13 Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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. Gray 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 14 Preobrazheniya Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today we will be in the vicinity of Preobrazheniya Bay where there are some outstanding ‘Bird Cliffs’ which we plan to Zodiac cruise, the rock faces, ridgelines and soaring granite spires are home to an abundance of bird life. Species that can be seen include Common and Thick-billed Murres, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Least and Crested Auklets, Vega Gulls and Arctic Tern. Both Horned and Tufted Puffins are normally in vast numbers stretched along cliffside grasses. 

This evening relax as we sail across Anadyrskiy Bay towards Anadyr.

Day 15 Anadyr | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
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.

Kapitan Khlebnikov

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Heritage Suites
Cabins include a large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed and a single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin while large, forward and side-facing windows offer fantastic views.

Notes

This trip includes:
Pre/Post cruise transfers, all on board ship accommodation, meals and all expedition shore excursions.
This trip does not include:
All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.
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