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Russia – Wrangel Island Photo Expedition 2022

Russia – Wrangel Island Photo Expedition 2022

Price: TBA

Please note that costs & dates for 2022 tours are subject to change as not all our partner properties and local airlines have released their rates. Should we need to revise costs, we will endeavour to keep fees & dates as close to the original.

05 July 2022 – 19 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.


Marius Coetzeen

15 Days
10 Guests & 1 ORYX Leader
  • Destination
  • Departure
    Anadyr, Russia
  • price
  • 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

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

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 Kapitan Khlebnikov. If flights are on time, we will depart Anadyr this evening.

Day 2: At sea

As we sail towards our first destination, the Arctic’s archaeological mystery ‘Whale Bone Alley’, we will take the opportunity to enjoy lectures to prepare us for our voyage and settle in to ship life.

Day 3: Whale Bone Alley & Gil’mlmyl Hot Springs

This morning on our Russia Photo Tour, our first landing of the day will be at one of the most significant and intriguing archaeological sites in the Arctic on Yttygran Island. This place is known affectionately as ‘Whale Bone Alley’ due to the large number of whale bones spread along the beach in the form of a pathway, which dates to the 14th century.   This afternoon we intend to make a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs.

Day 4: Bukhta Penkingney & 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, and explore Arakamchechen Island.

Day 5: Lavrentiya & Unnamed Bays

Dropping anchor in beautiful Lavrentiya Bay, we expect to spend the morning exploring the historically and culturally rich village of Lavrentiya. Nearby picturesque Unnamed Bay is our planned destination for the afternoon where we will Zodiac cruise to shore.

Day 6: Cape Dezhnev

Early this morning we will 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.

Day 7: At sea

Today there is the chance to catch up on notes, download photos, hang out in the library or maybe spend some time on the bridge of the ship as we navigate towards Wrangel Island.

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.

Day 11: At sea

We will be steaming south from Wrangel Island and, again, sea and ice conditions will dictate our course and speed. From the ship's deck, we will be on the lookout for Polar Bears, walrus, and Ringed or Bearded Seals floating on drift ice. As we make our way closer to the Chukotka coast we will keep an eye out for Humpback and Gray Whales, which are frequently seen, and hopefully Bowhead Whales as well. We will also use this time at sea for lectures and recaps.

Day 12: Kolyuchin Island / Inlet

This morning we will come to anchor at tiny Kolyuchin Island. Nearby are some amazing bird cliffs where it is possible to get magnificent views (and photographs) of puffins and guillemots as they come and go from their nests. In the afternoon we will cruise to nearby Kolyuchin Inlet, a massive tidal estuary so big we can take our ship inside. It is ideal habitat for many bird species and it is early enough in the season for the majority of them to either be on nests or have young. It is an easy landing with lots of opportunity for hiking, exploring and photography.

Day 13: Annual Bergingia Arctic Games

We plan to be here for Day One of the annual Beringia Regatta and Festival which includes whaleboat and Baidara (traditional walrus skin covered boats) races, as well as cultural group performances.

Day 14: Presbrazhenya Bay

We will be cruising along the south coast of Chukotka today and we will take the opportunity to stop at Presbrazhenya Bay. This will be our first opportunity to Zodiac cruise some spectacular bird cliffs, as long as sea conditions permit we will get in close for some great photographic opportunities

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.
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