Wrangel Island – Expedition Cruise in Russian Arctic

Duration15days

Price fromUSD $11,450 ?Currency ConversionConverted from USD based on the latest exchange rate. Final amount and payment will be in USD. Final conversion rate is determined by your bank.

Trip StyleExpedition Cruise

Time of yearJuly - August

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. Our expedition begins and ends in Nome, Alaska’s most famous gold rush town. 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 Alaska.

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.

Arrival

Nome (Alaska)

Departure

Nome (Alaska)

Accomodation

Heritage Adventurer

Trip style

Expedition Cruise

Duration

15 days / 14 nights

Action rating?

     

Group size

up to 140 people

Type of tour

Guaranteed Departures

Itinerary

Day 1 Nome (Alaska)

The expedition begins and ends in Nome, Alaska’s most famous gold rush town. Make your way to the designated meeting point for your transfer to Heritage Adventurer (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents) where the captain and expedition team will be waiting to welcome you aboard. You will have the opportunity to settle into your accommodation and familiarise yourself on board before joining your fellow expeditioners on deck as we set sail across the Bering Strait and International Date Line for Provideniya, Russia.

Day 2 Provideniya Bay (Russia)

After clearing Russian Customs and Immigration there may be an opportunity to explore this fascinating former Soviet military port and administrative centre followed by an afternoon expedition.

Day 3 Yttygran Island and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs

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. There are many meat pits used for storage and other remains of a busy whaling camp that united several aboriginal villages at a time. In one location, immense Bowhead Whale jawbones and ribs are placed together in a stunning arch formation. Gray Whales are frequently seen around the island. After landing at Whale Bone Alley we will take the Zodiacs on a whale-watching excursion. This afternoon we intend to make a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs. They are a short walk from the coastline, but well worth the effort. There will be a chance to explore the tundra for birds, plants and animals as we walk to and fro. After a soak in the springs we will re-join the ship for a relaxing evening.

Day 4 Bukhta Pultin and Cape Dezhnev

This morning there may be an opportunity to enjoy a Zodiac safari of Bukhta Pultin. Beyond its narrow entrance this sheltered and rarely-visited bay opens revealing a new world. Explore the coastline, fields of wildflowers, look for wildlife or hike up the ridgeline and take in the impressive helicopter view.

This afternoon we plan to be at Cape Dezhnev, the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. This cape commemorates the accomplishment of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev who was the first European to sail through this strait in 1648 (80 years before Bering did). On the cape is a lighthouse, a monument and the remains of a Border Guard base.

If the weather and sea conditions are suitable we plan to land here and give you the opportunity to explore the area. A short distance south of the cape is the former Inuit settlement of Naukan. The Soviet government relocated these people to other Chukotka settlements in the 1950s as it was thought they posed a security risk, supposedly because of the close proximity of Alaska. It is still possible to sense the melancholy in the air because the people never wanted to leave. As the relocation was fairly recent, there is a wealth of historic data and photographs that makes this visit even more poignant.

Day 5 Kolyuchin Island and Kolyuchin Inlet

Today is an expedition day where we plan to visit Kolyuchin Island and Inlet. Once the location of an important Russian Polar Research Station, this small island has since been abandoned following the collapse of the USSR. While the buildings are now derelict, the abundant wildlife the men studied is still there.

Near the old station at the north-western end of the island are some of the most amazing bird cliffs in the Arctic, where puffns, guillemots, gulls and cormorants can be observed and photographed just metres away. A prominent walrus haul out often congregates at the south-eastern end and, if the animals are present, you can expect some excellent photographic opportunities from the Zodiacs. We also plan to visit Belaka Spit near the mouth of the Kolyuchin Inlet. So huge that it is visible from satellite photos, it contains vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory waders. This wild and desolate landscape is also a strangely beautiful birding hotspot. Joined by Beringia National Park rangers, we plan to search the dunes and tidal areas for Emperor Geese. If we are lucky, the Gray Whales which frequent the area will be feeding just metres offshore.

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 Unnamed Bay and Lavrentiya

Picturesque Unnamed Bay is our planned destination for this morning where we will Zodiac cruise to shore. Welcomed by an expansive stretch of beach, backed by a lagoon and surrounded by rugged hills, there’s much to discover. Enjoy a walk along the beach and tundra looking for wildlife, or scale one of the nearby peaks and take in the stunning vistas. Dropping anchor in beautiful Lavrentiya Bay, we expect to spend the afternoon exploring its historically and culturally rich village. A former indigenous settlement, this Soviet-planned community was established in the 1920s as an administrative centre where local Chukchi and Siberian Yupik were encouraged to move. We plan to visit the Lavrentiya museum, meet local elders and enjoy an authentic taste and slice of village life in the main square.

Day 13 Bukhta Penkingney and Arakamchechen Island

This morning we will be launching our Zodiacs with a landing planned at Bukhta Penkingney, a long fiord cut into the coastline by glaciers and a popular spot for whale watching. Here a small braided river, its gravel bed studded with Willow bushes, winds its way down to the sea where we land. Exploring this scenic location we will be looking for Arctic Ground Squirrels and Pikas, Willow Ptarmigan, Sandhill Cranes and brown bears attracted by the berries and salmon-filled river. This afternoon we plan to cruise over to Arakamchechen Island just north of Cape Chaplino and separated from the Chukotka mainland by the 8-kilometre wide Senyavina Strait. Having watched Gray Whales feeding here previously, we recommend being out on deck as we slowly cruise through the strait. On Arakamchechen Island we will explore the lush tundra and, if they are present, view the prominent walrus haul out.

Day 14 Provideniya

After clearing Russian Customs and Immigration in Provideniya we will set sail for Nome across the Bering Strait. One of the world’s most nutrient-rich stretches of water, each spring the Bering Strait is the scene of one of the planet’s largest wildlife migrations. Beluga, Bowhead and Gray Whales, walrus, Ringed Seals and numerous seabirds are all known to frequent the strait so there is plenty of opportunity for wildlife encounters. Join the expedition team for a recap and disembarkation briefing before enjoying a farewell dinner to celebrate our journey as we sail back across the International Date Line.

Day 15 Nome

After breakfast and clearing US Immigration and Customs formalities it will be time to say our farewells. There will be a complimentary transfer to take you to the airport or a designated central location. 

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Inclusions

Airport arrival and departure transfers

Accommodation on board of Heritage Adventurer

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 document

Chukotka region permits

Exclusions

Flights

Travel insurance

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

Gratitudes

Local payment - US $500 (to be paid in cash onboard)

Overland Traverse exclusive extension - US $1,450 pp

Dates & Prices

Dates Availability Price Single sup.  
Jul 24 - Aug 7, 2022
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $11,450 US $0 Reserve
Aug 7 - Aug 21, 2022
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $11,450 US $0 Reserve
Aug 21 - Sep 4, 2022
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $11,450 US $0 Reserve

Wrangel Island – Expedition Cruise in Russian Arctic

15 days / 14 nights

From
$11,450
USD

*Price per person, based on share accommodation

Make an enquiry Detailed Itinerary

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!

 

Wrangel Island – Expedition Cruise in Russian Arctic

15 days / 14 nights

From
$11,450
USD

*Price per person, based on share accommodation

Make an enquiry

Dowlnload comprehansive info-kit for this tour, FAQ’s and extras

Detailed Itinerary

Why travel to Russia with 56th Parallel?

Destination Specialists

Our team offers over 18 years of experience travelling and planning travel in Russia. Delivering outstanding travel experiences in Russia’s capitals and in some of the most stunning & remote locations takes experience, special access and the right connections. We make sure that all the fine details are handled perfectly so you can enjoy your Russia travel experience.

Group & Private Tours

The choice to join a small group on a guaranteed departure or chose to travel on your own dates with your own mates. Each destination we travel to in Russia offers an option between private tours and small group tours. Please note: on our adventure tours in remote destinations, we mostly run group tours to keep the cost down.

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More benefits
+61 412 587 785[email protected]

Wrangel Island – Expedition Cruise in Russian Arctic

Days 15

From USD $11,450

Trip Style Expedition Cruise

Time of year July - August

Day 1: Nome (Alaska)

The expedition begins and ends in Nome, Alaska’s most famous gold rush town. Make your way to the designated meeting point for your transfer to Heritage Adventurer (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents) where the captain and expedition team will be waiting to welcome you aboard. You will have the opportunity to settle into your accommodation and familiarise yourself on board before joining your fellow expeditioners on deck as we set sail across the Bering Strait and International Date Line for Provideniya, Russia.

Day 2: Provideniya Bay (Russia)

After clearing Russian Customs and Immigration there may be an opportunity to explore this fascinating former Soviet military port and administrative centre followed by an afternoon expedition.

Day 3: Yttygran Island and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs

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. There are many meat pits used for storage and other remains of a busy whaling camp that united several aboriginal villages at a time. In one location, immense Bowhead Whale jawbones and ribs are placed together in a stunning arch formation. Gray Whales are frequently seen around the island. After landing at Whale Bone Alley we will take the Zodiacs on a whale-watching excursion. This afternoon we intend to make a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs. They are a short walk from the coastline, but well worth the effort. There will be a chance to explore the tundra for birds, plants and animals as we walk to and fro. After a soak in the springs we will re-join the ship for a relaxing evening.

Day 4: Bukhta Pultin and Cape Dezhnev

This morning there may be an opportunity to enjoy a Zodiac safari of Bukhta Pultin. Beyond its narrow entrance this sheltered and rarely-visited bay opens revealing a new world. Explore the coastline, fields of wildflowers, look for wildlife or hike up the ridgeline and take in the impressive helicopter view.

This afternoon we plan to be at Cape Dezhnev, the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. This cape commemorates the accomplishment of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev who was the first European to sail through this strait in 1648 (80 years before Bering did). On the cape is a lighthouse, a monument and the remains of a Border Guard base.

If the weather and sea conditions are suitable we plan to land here and give you the opportunity to explore the area. A short distance south of the cape is the former Inuit settlement of Naukan. The Soviet government relocated these people to other Chukotka settlements in the 1950s as it was thought they posed a security risk, supposedly because of the close proximity of Alaska. It is still possible to sense the melancholy in the air because the people never wanted to leave. As the relocation was fairly recent, there is a wealth of historic data and photographs that makes this visit even more poignant.

Day 5: Kolyuchin Island and Kolyuchin Inlet

Today is an expedition day where we plan to visit Kolyuchin Island and Inlet. Once the location of an important Russian Polar Research Station, this small island has since been abandoned following the collapse of the USSR. While the buildings are now derelict, the abundant wildlife the men studied is still there.

Near the old station at the north-western end of the island are some of the most amazing bird cliffs in the Arctic, where puffns, guillemots, gulls and cormorants can be observed and photographed just metres away. A prominent walrus haul out often congregates at the south-eastern end and, if the animals are present, you can expect some excellent photographic opportunities from the Zodiacs. We also plan to visit Belaka Spit near the mouth of the Kolyuchin Inlet. So huge that it is visible from satellite photos, it contains vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory waders. This wild and desolate landscape is also a strangely beautiful birding hotspot. Joined by Beringia National Park rangers, we plan to search the dunes and tidal areas for Emperor Geese. If we are lucky, the Gray Whales which frequent the area will be feeding just metres offshore.

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: Unnamed Bay and Lavrentiya

Picturesque Unnamed Bay is our planned destination for this morning where we will Zodiac cruise to shore. Welcomed by an expansive stretch of beach, backed by a lagoon and surrounded by rugged hills, there’s much to discover. Enjoy a walk along the beach and tundra looking for wildlife, or scale one of the nearby peaks and take in the stunning vistas. Dropping anchor in beautiful Lavrentiya Bay, we expect to spend the afternoon exploring its historically and culturally rich village. A former indigenous settlement, this Soviet-planned community was established in the 1920s as an administrative centre where local Chukchi and Siberian Yupik were encouraged to move. We plan to visit the Lavrentiya museum, meet local elders and enjoy an authentic taste and slice of village life in the main square.

Day 13: Bukhta Penkingney and Arakamchechen Island

This morning we will be launching our Zodiacs with a landing planned at Bukhta Penkingney, a long fiord cut into the coastline by glaciers and a popular spot for whale watching. Here a small braided river, its gravel bed studded with Willow bushes, winds its way down to the sea where we land. Exploring this scenic location we will be looking for Arctic Ground Squirrels and Pikas, Willow Ptarmigan, Sandhill Cranes and brown bears attracted by the berries and salmon-filled river. This afternoon we plan to cruise over to Arakamchechen Island just north of Cape Chaplino and separated from the Chukotka mainland by the 8-kilometre wide Senyavina Strait. Having watched Gray Whales feeding here previously, we recommend being out on deck as we slowly cruise through the strait. On Arakamchechen Island we will explore the lush tundra and, if they are present, view the prominent walrus haul out.

Day 14: Provideniya

After clearing Russian Customs and Immigration in Provideniya we will set sail for Nome across the Bering Strait. One of the world’s most nutrient-rich stretches of water, each spring the Bering Strait is the scene of one of the planet’s largest wildlife migrations. Beluga, Bowhead and Gray Whales, walrus, Ringed Seals and numerous seabirds are all known to frequent the strait so there is plenty of opportunity for wildlife encounters. Join the expedition team for a recap and disembarkation briefing before enjoying a farewell dinner to celebrate our journey as we sail back across the International Date Line.

Day 15: Nome

After breakfast and clearing US Immigration and Customs formalities it will be time to say our farewells. There will be a complimentary transfer to take you to the airport or a designated central location. 

Included

Airport arrival and departure transfers

Accommodation on board of Heritage Adventurer

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 document

Chukotka region permits

Not included

Flights

Travel insurance

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

Gratitudes

Local payment - US $500 (to be paid in cash onboard)

Overland Traverse exclusive extension - US $1,450 pp

Dates & Prices

DatesAvailabilityPriceSingle sup.
Jul 24 - Aug 7, 2022
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $11,450 US $0
Aug 7 - Aug 21, 2022
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $11,450 US $0
Aug 21 - Sep 4, 2022
Guaranteed Departures
Available US $11,450 US $0

Start planning your tour

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Wrangel Island – Expedition Cruise in Russian Arctic

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