wrangel island polar bear cruise

Wrangel Island: Across the Top of the World

  • Overview

    This unique expedition crosses the Arctic Circle and includes the isolated and pristine Wrangel and Herald Islands and a significant section of the wild North Eastern Siberian coastline. It is a journey 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.

    The voyage journeys through the narrow Bering Strait, which separates Russia from the United States of America, and then travels west along the Chukotka coastline before crossing the De Long Strait to Wrangel Island. There we will spend four to five days under the guidance of local rangers on the nature reserve. 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. We hope to catch many glimpses of this beautiful animal. The island 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. Reindeer, Musk Oxen and Snow Geese can normally be seen further inland. A visit to massive bird cliffs on nearby Herald Island is also planned. 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.

    Duration: 15 days
    Passengers: 48 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Anadyr, Russia
    Disembarkation Point: Anadyr, Russia
    Physical rating: Expedition
    Fly/Cruise: Cruise only
    Single Supplement: 1.7x - 2.0x twin rate or share options
  • Itinerary
    • Day 1 - Anadyr; Embarkation Day

      All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr; depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr, before getting to know your fellow voyagers and expedition team on board the Spirit of Enderby. We will depart when everybody is on board.

      For those departing Nome, Alaska your adventure begins a day earlier, with a flight across the Bering Sea and International Date Line to the remote port of Anadyr. Departing Nome, Alaska on the 05-AUG-17

      Please note; Our cabin prices are inclusive of the USD$500 per person landing fee required for this expedition.

    • Day 2 - Anadyrskiy Bay

      At sea today, there will be some briefings and lectures it is also a chance for some ‘birding’ cetacean watching and settling into ship life. Late this afternoon we plan to Zodiac cruise 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. Whalebones 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

      Ice and weather conditions permitting, we will spend the next few days on Wrangel Island and we will also attempt to include a visit to nearby Herald Island. There are many landings that we can make to search out wildlife, wild flowers and Arctic landscapes. Polar Bears will be high on our list of animals to see and with a little patience we should be rewarded with a number of encounters. Musk Oxen and reindeer were introduced to the island in 1975 and 1948 though reindeer numbers are low. We also have a chance to visit Dragi Harbour where the survivors of the Karluk which was crushed by ice in 1914 scrambled ashore and lived until they were rescued. Wrangel Island is a Russian Federal Nature Reserve of international significance and importance particularly as it is a major Polar Bear denning area. Also each summer thousands of birds migrate here to breed, including Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuas, Arctic Terns, Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls.

    • 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 wildldife. 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 breakfast it will be time to say our farewells. There will be a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central downtown hotel.

      IMPORTANT:
      These expeditions are subject to approval from various Russian Federal and Regional Authorities and may have to change depending on these approvals. Permits have been lodged for all the sites mentioned in the itinerary, depending on approvals these may have to be amended or substituted. We will endeavour to keep participants fully informed of any changes in the itinerary as and when they occur.

    Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your captain and expedition leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

  • Highlights & Activities

    Nome Charter Flights

    To make arriving in Anadyr, Russia a little easier the is the option to add return charter flights from Nome, Alaska.
    The international date line runs directly between Anadyr and Nome, so please be sure to check with us the exact dates of your flight.

    AUD$ 2,880 per person

    Overland Traverse

    Join local Rangers on a 3 day (2 night) overland journey by special tundra buggy on a traverse of this incredible Nature Reserve to see and experience the remotest parts of the Island and enjoy unique wildlife encounters. Limited to two groups of 5 persons per expedition.

    In co-operation with the Wrangel Island Nature Reserve we are excited to offer a limited number of seats on a very special Overland Traverse through the heart of this incredible landscape. For curious explorers who join us to circumnavigate Wrangel Island, there is no reason to just wonder what lies beyond the coast, over the crest of the hills and mountains.

    AUD$ 2,088 per person

    The Polar Bear

    To many people, the polar bear is the Arctic. The sight of such an impressive silky white bear wandering the frozen Arctic seas in search of seals symbolizes the cold, isolated nature of the Arctic so well. Polar bears are marine mammals because they spend so much of their lives away from land. In the high Arctic where there is always some sea ice to travel on, polar bears range over ice floes in the pack ice hunting seals all summer. In some areas (e.g. southern Hudson Bay, southern Svalbard) they are simply forced to come ashore. Polar bears rarely venture inland.

  • Inclusions

    Landing Fee

    Our expedition rates incorporate the required USD$500 landing fee

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - meals and all expedition shore excursions.
    - all on board ship accommodation
    - Pre/Post cruise transfers
    - Prices are inclusive of the USD$500 per person landing fee

    Not included in your Expedition

  • Map
    Map coming soon
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    AKADEMIK SHOKALSKIY

    The Shokalskiy is the sister ship to the Spirit of Enderby, they were both built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and being fully ice strengthened they are perfect for Expedition Travel. She carries just 48 passengers and has been recently refurbished to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space. On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs. The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.

    Features & Facilities
    • Basic accommodation
    • Small and intimate vessel
    • Bar/Library
    • Lecture room
    • Observation decks
    • Open Bridge
    • Internet
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating: 3
    Guests #: 48
    Crew #:
    Ice Class: KM
    Speed: 12
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built:
    Length: 71m
    Width: 12
    Draft:
    Tonnage: 1764
    Registry: Russia
    Elec Outlets: 220V / 2 Round Pin
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
All available dates
Ready to book your expedition?

We understand that the trip of a lifetime takes planning, so we make the financial commitments easy to manage.

  • Confirm your booking today with just AUD$ 1,000 per passenger.
  • Pay your 25% deposit 5 day later.
  • Final payment due 120 days prior to departure.
spirit of enderby main deck triple cabin

Main Deck Triple

03 Aug 2020 - 17 Aug 2020
Feature 1 x upper bunk and 2 x lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, a desk, washbasin and porthole. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main deck cabins. *Same sex cabin Cabin prices are inclusive of the required USD$800pp landing fee.
AUD$ 13,680pp
AUD$ 13,680pp
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spirit of enderby main deck twin cabin

Main Deck Twin

03 Aug 2020 - 17 Aug 2020
Feature two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, a desk, washbasin and porthole. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main deck cabins. Cabin prices are inclusive of the required USD$800pp landing fee.
AUD$ 15,120pp
AUD$ 15,120pp
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spirit of enderby superior cabin

Superior Twin

03 Aug 2020 - 17 Aug 2020
Feature bunks (an upper and lower berth), wardrobe, drawers, a desk, a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Cabin prices are inclusive of the required USD$800pp landing fee.
AUD$ 16,560pp
AUD$ 16,560pp
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spirit of enderby superior plus cabin

Superior Plus Twin

03 Aug 2020 - 17 Aug 2020
Feature two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, desk, a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Cabin prices are inclusive of the required USD$800pp landing fee.
AUD$ 18,000pp
AUD$ 18,000pp
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spirit of enderby mini suite

Mini Suite

03 Aug 2020 - 17 Aug 2020
Feature a a separate bedroom with a double bed and a single bed or a sofa in the lounge, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. The Mini Suites have windows. Cabin prices are inclusive of the required USD$800pp landing fee.
AUD$ 18,720pp
AUD$ 18,720pp
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spirit of enderby heritage suite

Heritage Suite

03 Aug 2020 - 17 Aug 2020
The Heritage Suite has a large lounge area, a separate bedroom with double bed, a single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. There are large forward and side facing windows to allow great views. Cabin prices are inclusive of the required USD$800pp landing fee.
AUD$ 19,872pp
AUD$ 19,872pp
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