Day 1: On arrival at Nome Airport, Alaska, you will join a private charter flight to Anadyr with your fellow passengers.
Day 2: During this flight you will cross the International Date Line, on arrival into Anadyr, Russia you will clear Russian Customs and Immigration and if time permits you will have the opportunity to explore Anadyr. You will meet your expedition team and board Spirit of Enderby.
Day 3: Depart Anadyr Harbour, join the Captain, office and the expedition staff on the bridge as the vessel sails out of the harbour, and keep a close eye out for Beluga whales and other wildlife as we sails towards the Bering Straigh.
Day 4: Whalebone Alley. One of the more remarkable sites in Chukotka, this historic archaeological site is found on the north shore of Yttygran Island and dates back to the 14th century. Here you will find 50 to 60 Bowhead Whale skulls and 30-odd jawbones. There are also hundreds of carefully laid stones and about 150 meat storage pits. Archaeologists suggest that this was a central gathering place for a good number of coastal villages in the region. As you might expect, this is close by a migratory route for whales, some of which we hope to see from the Zodiacs.
Day 5: Cape Dezneva - Uelen Village. Sea conditions permitting, we will land at Cape Dezneva early this morning. This is the northernmost point of Eurasia as well as an historic landmark, named after the Siberian Cossack Semyon Dezhnev, the first European to sail from the Arctic to the Pacific. A steep scramble from the beach brings you to the abandoned Border Guard and the monument to Dezhnev. A few nautical miles to the west, we stop at Uelen Village, which has been continuously inhabited for at least 2000 years. Today the settlement is best known for its ivory carving school.
Day 6: Kolchyn Island. This small island was once an important Russian Polar Research Station, and for good reason. The place fairly teems with life. Near the abandoned station at the western end of the island are some of the most amazing bird cliffs in the entire Arctic. Puffins, guillemots, gulls and cormorants can be seen from just meters away. Activity is intense, with birds continuously wheeling and circling. At the eastern end of the island is a walrus haul-out. A relatively easy scramble from a landing beside a walrus hunter’s camp brings us to a great observation point overlooking the scene.
Days 7 - 10: Wrangel and Herald Islands. Ice and weather conditions permitting, we will spend four days on Wrangel Island, an outstanding High Arctic nature reserve just recently opened to tourism. Wrangel was formerly a large weather station with a staff of over 80, and for a few years indigenous people grazed reindeer. Today it is a Russian Federal Nature Reserve, sometimes referred to as a polar bear maternity ward on account of the large number of cubs born each year. Local Rangers will accompany us during our stay.
Our activities will be determined by the weather, sea and ice, but there are many landings that we can make to search out wildlife and wildflowers. 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 – hopefully including females with cubs. Muskoxen and reindeer were brought to the Island long ago, and we hope to see these in various locations. There is also a great number of bird species breeding here, including the Snow Goose, which breeds nowhere else in Russia. Other species include the Snowy Owl and Skuas.
We will also visit a number of historic sites like Dragi Harbor, where the Karluk’s crew overwintered in 1914 after their ship was crushed by ice. And if conditions permit, we will explore the Herald Islets to the east of Wrangel Island home to one of the largest walrus haul-outs in this part of the world.
Day 11: Cape Vankarem. Next, we make a stop at Cape Vankarem, a headland projecting across the mouth of a lagoon and home to the Chukchi settlement of the same name – probably one of the more traditional villages that we will encounter on this journey. Although mapped and charted, much of this coastland has seen few tourists and so these expedition landings offer a rare opportunity for interaction. The area around the Cape is bounded by narrow sand ridges with numerous coastal lagoons and inlets. In addition to visiting with the Chukchi, we will keep an eye out for Bowhead and Gray Whales, abundant in these waters.
Days 12: Kolyuchin Inlet. Today we explore the coastal area of the Kolyuchin Inlet. This is a 100 kilometre-long bay substantially separated from the Arctic Ocean by a mouth only 2.8 kilometres wide.
It is a wild, desolate region that has a strange beauty about it. The sand dunes and tidal areas around the mouth of this Inlet support a rich variety of birdlife, including Emperor Geese and Spoon-billed Sandpipers. Grey Whales frequent the area and are sometimes spotted feeding only meters offshore.
Day 13: Laventiya. Today we visit the town of Laventiya located on a bay of the same name. Captain James Cook named the bay in 1778 after St Laurence, whose day it was when he arrived. It is a comfortable, modern town with a population of 1000, the majority of which are Chukchi. This is an opportunity to meet the local people, to join them in an entertainment program and to visit the local museum. From Laventiya you will travel inland by truck, where you can discover a world of expansive tundra, wildflowers and possibly some reindeer. As we sail across Laventiya in the evening, keep a look out for whales, especially Grey whales that frequent the area in significant numbers.
Day 14: Provideniya. We visit the small industrial and administrative center of Provideniya named for Saint Providence. This is an important port and a major enterprise for the local inhabitants. It is ice-free from May to October each year and handles much of the freight for this region. Provideniya has an excellent museum which we will visit.
Day 15: At Sea, join the staff for an expedition recap and a disembarkation briefing and just relax as we sail towards the settled water of Anadyr Harbour.
Day 16: Anadyr Harbour, disembarkation and it is time to say our farewells as we head in different directions. Join the private charter flight back to Nome, Alaska or head west towards Moscow. If you are departing on the Charter flight you will depart Anadyr around midday and you would land in Nome, Alaska. We strongly recommended that you don’t book any flights out of Nome that night as you will be landing in Nome at approx 8 pm, Nome time.
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