Russia – Wrangel Island Photo Expedition 2022
10 Guests & 1 ORYX Leader
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
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 arrival, you will clear Russian Customs and Immigration.
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 & depart
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.