Wrangel Island – Expedition Cruise in Russian Arctic

Across the Top of the World
©Photo by ATerauds
Wrangel Island - one of the world’s largest breeding populations of polar bears, and the highest concentration of walruses on earth.

Cruise to Wrangel Island, an area 140km off the northeast coast of Siberia, separated from northern Alaska by the Chukchi Sea. For 10 frozen months of the year, this lonely wilderness is completely cut off from the outside world. Reaching Wrangel and braving its polar climate is not for the faint of heart. Only the most dedicated nature lovers make the journey – but the rewards are without parallel. There is simply no better destination than to meet the wild denizens of the Arctic up-close, virtually undisturbed by human interference, and in numbers that will simply astound you.

Wrangel Island - Russian Arctic expedition cruise highlights:

  • Whale Bone Alley is the name given to a beach on Yttygran Island in the Bering Sea. Landing on the beach, you’ll take in the haunting atmosphere of this ancient site, where gigantic whalebones appear to sprout out of the ground, stretching along the coast for nearly half a kilometre
  • Wrangel Island: After 6 days we reach the highlight of our cruise. Explore the island on foot and via Zodiac, searching for wildlife such as polar bears, musk oxen and reindeer amid majestic tundra landscapes with brilliant pastel patches of Arctic wildflowers

There’s only one way to visit the biosphere reserve of Wrangel Island, and that’s by cruising aboard an ice-breaker. This 15-day Arctic cruise departs from the port town of Anadyr in northeastern Russia's Chukotka Autonomous Region. From here, we'll make our way through the narrow Bering Strait which separates Russia from the United States.

We then travel west along the Chukotka coastline before crossing the De Long Strait that leads to Wrangel Island. Our four to five days on Wrangel will be spent tracking polar bears and other wildlife against a backdrop of wildflowers and the surprisingly varied landscapes of summer in the High Arctic. Weather permitted, we’ll also attempt a landing on neighbouring Herald Island, whose sheer cliffs rise dramatically out of the ocean and support a flourishing colony of walruses and seabirds.

The return journey will pass by mile-after-mile of untouched wilderness along the North Siberian coast, a veritable paradise for birdwatchers. Finally, we return to the Bering Sea at the end of this Wrangel Island tour, where pods of grey and minke whales will hopefully escort us back to our starting and finishing point in the Bay of Anadyr.

The vast distances and unpredictable weather present their own unique challenges for cruise guests, but for wildlife lovers with a spirit of adventure, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover Wrangel Island and commune with nature on its own terms.

15 days
from
$
9,000
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary

Arrival

Departure

Accomodation

Trip style

Anadyr

Anadyr

Akademik Shokalskiy / Spirit of Enderby

Expedition Cruise

Duration

Action rating

Group size

Type of tour

15 days / 14 nights

     

up to 50 people

Guaranteed Departures

Itinerary

Day 1:Anadyr

Welcome to Anadyr, the administrative centre of Chukotka and the easternmost town of Russia. Board our expedition vessel and get acquainted with the guests and crew.

Day 2:Anadyrsky Bay

At sea today, we’ll have a chance for some bird and cetacean watching as we settle into ship life. An afternoon Zodiac boat cruise is planned to some spectacular bird cliffs in Preobrazheniya Bay.

Day 3:Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands

Yttygran Island is home to the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley, where whale bones 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 4:Cape Dezhnev and 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.

Day 6-10:Wrangel and Herald Islands

Depending on ice and weather, we’ll have up to 5 days exploring Wrangel and nearby Herald Island on foot and via the Zodiac tenders. Polar bears will be high on our list of animals to observe, and we may also be rewarded with sightings of walruses, musk oxen, reindeers and Arctic foxes.

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 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: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 Belaka 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. Gray 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 14 unforgettable days, our incredible journey is complete, and we return to the port of Anadyr. After breakfast and a final farewell, you’ll be transferred to your hotel or the airport as a true Arctic adventurer and one of the privileged few to have stood on the wildest shores of Wrangel Island and witnessed nature at its most untouched. Those returning to Nome will join a charter flight that will depart Anadyr around midday and, because of the International Date Line will arrive back in Nome on the evening of the previous day. However, we strongly advise that you do not book any onward travel from Nome until the following day to allow for possible delays in the charter flight.

Inclusions

Airport arrival and departure transfers

Accommodation on board of Akademik Shokalskiy or Spirit of Enderby

3 daily meals onboard

All expeditions and shore excursions with professional leaders

Wildlife watching: polar bears, yaks, reindeer, foxes; different kinds of birds, including Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuas, Arctic Terns, Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls; and marine wildlife: walruses, sea lions, otters etc

Guided shore excursions and zodiac boat tours

Onboard lectures

Russian visa support documents

Chukotka region permits

Flights

Travel insurance

Visa and visa fees. *Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Gratitudes

Overland Traverse exclusive extension (US $1,450 pp)

Private charter flight Nome to Anadyr to Nome $2,000 pp

Dates & Prices

Dates Availability Price Single sup.  
Jul 13 - Jul 27, 2020
Guaranteed Departures
Few places left US $9,000 contact us Reserve
Aug 3 - Aug 17, 2020
Guaranteed Departures
Few places left US $9,000 contact us Reserve
Aug 17 - Aug 31, 2020
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $9,000 contact us Reserve

Testimonials

Ada MckayAustralia

I had a dream from my primary school days fulfilled!

I found Kamchatka on the map when I was in a primary school in the 1950’s. I also wanted to visit the Arctic. My well-travelled friend suggested that Wrangel Island and the Chukotka Coast of Siberia along the Bering Strait was the area to visit. Organising travel to the two places was somewhat challenging but all went smoothly with a cruise to Wrangel Island and Chukotka from Anadyr and Kamchatka tour. We had a bonus with extra time in Anadyr and Petropavlovsk for more site-seeing.

Thank you, Anna and Michael, for a wonderful trip!

15 days
Anadyr
from
$
9,000
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
15 days
from
$
9,000
USD
Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary
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Day 1: Anadyr

Welcome to Anadyr, the administrative centre of Chukotka and the easternmost town of Russia. Board our expedition vessel and get acquainted with the guests and crew.

Day 2: Anadyrsky Bay

At sea today, we’ll have a chance for some bird and cetacean watching as we settle into ship life. An afternoon Zodiac boat cruise is planned to some spectacular bird cliffs in Preobrazheniya Bay.

Day 3: Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands

Yttygran Island is home to the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley, where whale bones 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 4: Cape Dezhnev and 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.

Day 6-10: Wrangel and Herald Islands

Depending on ice and weather, we’ll have up to 5 days exploring Wrangel and nearby Herald Island on foot and via the Zodiac tenders. Polar bears will be high on our list of animals to observe, and we may also be rewarded with sightings of walruses, musk oxen, reindeers and Arctic foxes.

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 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: 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 Belaka 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. Gray 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 14 unforgettable days, our incredible journey is complete, and we return to the port of Anadyr. After breakfast and a final farewell, you’ll be transferred to your hotel or the airport as a true Arctic adventurer and one of the privileged few to have stood on the wildest shores of Wrangel Island and witnessed nature at its most untouched. Those returning to Nome will join a charter flight that will depart Anadyr around midday and, because of the International Date Line will arrive back in Nome on the evening of the previous day. However, we strongly advise that you do not book any onward travel from Nome until the following day to allow for possible delays in the charter flight.

Included

Airport arrival and departure transfers

Accommodation on board of Akademik Shokalskiy or Spirit of Enderby

3 daily meals onboard

All expeditions and shore excursions with professional leaders

Wildlife watching: polar bears, yaks, reindeer, foxes; different kinds of birds, including Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuas, Arctic Terns, Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls; and marine wildlife: walruses, sea lions, otters etc

Guided shore excursions and zodiac boat tours

Onboard lectures

Russian visa support documents

Chukotka region permits

Not included

Flights

Travel insurance

Visa and visa fees. *Russian visa can be arranged by 56th Parallel for an additional cost (for Australian citizens only). Apply for comprehensive visa service here.

Gratitudes

Overland Traverse exclusive extension (US $1,450 pp)

Private charter flight Nome to Anadyr to Nome $2,000 pp

If you have any urgent questions or enquiries, please give us a call +61 2 9388 9816