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Russia – Wrangel Island Photo Expedition 2022

Russia – Wrangel Island Photo Expedition 2022

US$8,500 - US$12,000 per person sharing
11 July 2022 – 25 July 2022

Join ORYX Photo Tours in partnership with Heritage Expeditions as we journey to Far East Russia to Wrangel Island and its surrounds. This unique Russia Photo Tour crosses the Arctic Circle and covers a significant section of the wild North Eastern Siberian coastline. It is a voyage 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.

 

Untouched by glaciers during the last ice age, this island is a treasure trove of Arctic biodiversity and is perhaps best known for the multitude of Polar Bears that breed here. It also boasts the world’s largest population of Pacific Walrus and lies near major feeding grounds for the Gray Whales that migrate thousands of kilometres north from their breeding grounds in Baja, Mexico. The ‘mammoth steppe’ vegetation complex, a rich and diverse relic from the Pleistocene epoch nurtures over 400 plant species and never fails to astound visitors with its sublime beauty. The number and type of endemic plant species, the diversity within plant communities, the presence of relatively recent mammoth tusks and skulls, a range of terrain types and geological formations in the small geographical space are all visible evidence of Wrangel’s rich natural history and its unique evolutionary status within the Arctic.

 

The expedition team will take us on guided walks, zodiac cruises and provide lectures to help better understand and appreciate this unique High Arctic landscape, all while being able to capture its natural splendors with our lenses.

Why this Russia Photo Tour is for You

Destination Allure

Visit one of the last great undiscovered Arctic wilderness areas in the world found on the North Eastern Siberian coastline.

Number of Species

Enjoy arctic splendor, including Polar Bears, Walrus, Arctic Fox Reindeer, Musk Ox, whales, numerous bird species such as Puffins, Guillemots, Gulls, Cormorants and migratory birds such as Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuas, Arctic Terns, Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls.

Time of Year

As the summer pack ice retreats, the wildlife found here on the ice, roaming the tundra and in the water will be on full display for our delight.

Freedom to Explore

For 15 days we will cruise to the ideal islands and locales found in and among Wrangel Island that offer the best wildlife opportunities & vistas. Zodiac trips will be incorporated to get closer to mammals and birds, as well as island landings in order to explore this relatively untouched wilderness on foot.

Private Expedition ship

Local knowledge of the region and its surroundings is key to crafting the ultimate photo tour experience. Combined with the photographic expertise of your ORYX Photo Tour Leader, you are in for an adventure that few will have the opportunity to experience.

Dale Morris - ORYX Photo Tours

ORYX LEADER
Dale Morris

15 Days
10 Guests & 1 ORYX Leader
Wildlife
  • Destination
  • Departure
    Anadyr, Russia
  • per person sharing
    US$8,500 to US$12,000
  • Single Supplement
    Please contact us
  • Photographic Highlights
    Polar Bears, Walrus, Arctic Fox Reindeer, Musk Ox, whales, numerous bird species such as Puffins, Guillemots, Gulls, Cormorants and migratory birds such as Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuas, Arctic Terns, Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls
  • Guide
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Day 0: Nome, Alaska

Those departing from Nome, Alaska, should arrive in Nome before midday and preferably the previous night. On arrival, you should check in with Bering Air at the Nome Airport who will have details of our charter flight. During this flight, you will cross the International Date Line, arriving into Anadyr on Day 1 of the expedition. Upon arriving you will clear Russian Customs and Immigration.russia photo tours
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Day 1: Depart Anadyr, Russia

Today our adventure commences in Anadyr! Depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr, the administrative centre of the Chukotka region, before getting to know your fellow voyagers and crew on board the Akademik Shokalskiy. If flights are on time, we will depart Anadyr this evening.
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Day 2: Anadyrskiy Bay

As we sail across Anadyrskiy Bay towards the Bering Strait there will be an introduction to your ship and expedition staff, as well as a chance to relax or enjoy some ‘birding’ with our naturalists and/or settle into ship life. Late this afternoon we will be in the vicinity of Preobrazheniya Bay, where we plan to zodiac cruise its spectacular towering granite cliffs home to thousands of nesting birds.
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Day 3: Cape Dezhnev

This morning on our Russia Photo Tour we will reach the most north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent at Cape Dezhnev. If the weather and sea conditions are suitable, we plan to land here and give you the opportunity to explore the area.
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Day 4: Kolyuchin Island & Inlet

Today is an expedition day where we plan to visit Kolyuchin Island and Inlet. Near the old station at the north-western end of the island are some of the most amazing bird cliffs in the Arctic, where puffins, guillemots, gulls and cormorants can be observed and photographed just metres away. A prominent walrus haul out often congregates at the southeastern 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, home to vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory waders and possibly Gray Whales who like to feed just metres off-shore.
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Days 5 to 7: Ice Exploration

As we cruise along the ice edge making our way towards Wrangel Island, we recommend you keep an eye out for the first Polar Bears of our voyage! The following days we will spend time on the zodiacs and ship cruising the pack ice around Wrangel Island, where the wildlife will be concentrated, looking for Polar Bears, large haul outs of huddled walrus and seals resting on the ice, Humpback, Gray Whales, and possibly also Bowhead Whales, and the impressive bird cliffs of Ptichiy Bazar.
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Days 8 to 10: Wrangel Island

Wrangel Island is one of those islands that you have to visit to appreciate. A Russian Federal Nature Reserve of international significance and importance, its significance lies in the fact that it is a major Polar Bear denning area. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as a Polar Bear maternity ward on account of the large numbers of cubs born there. It is also the last landfall for migratory species flying north. Utilising the local knowledge of the Park Rangers, we plan for three Wrangel Island landings to explore the colourful tundra and wildlife.
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Day 11: At sea & ice exploration

Making our way towards Cape Serdtse-Kamen (‘rocky heart’) on the northern coast of Chukotka we will search the ice edge for Polar Bears, walrus and seals, and keep an eye out for Humpback and Minke Whales which can often be seen in the area. We also hope to visit a known, significant walrus haul out.
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Day 12: Bering Strait & Chukotka Coast

Early morning, we will pass through the Bering Strait, the only gateway between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans, and one of the world’s most nutrient-rich stretches of water. Each spring it is the scene of one of the planet’s largest wildlife migrations. Beluga, Bowhead and Gray Whales, walrus, Polar Bears, Ringed Seals and numerous seabirds are all known to frequent the strait.
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Day 13: Bukhta Penkingney & Yttygran Island

This morning we will be launching our zodiacs with a landing planned at Bukhta Penkingney, a long fjord cut into the coastline by glaciers and a popular feeding spot for Gray Whales. Exploring this scenic location, we will be looking for Arctic Ground Squirrels and Pikas, Willow Ptarmigan, Sandhill Cranes and hopefully brown bears attracted by the berries and salmon-filled river. This afternoon we expect to be at one of the most significant and intriguing archaeological sites in the Arctic – Yttygran Island’s Whale Bone Alley.
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Day 14: At sea

Join the staff for an expedition recap and a disembarkation briefing, and then simply relax as we sail across Anadyrskiy Bay towards Anadyr. Tonight, we will enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate our journey.
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Day 15: Anadyr

After breakfast, it will be time to say our farewells. There will be a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central hotel of your choice. 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. Those returning to Moscow can either be transferred to the airport or a hotel in Anadyr, depending on their flight times. ***During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and/or opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.***
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