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Across the Top of the World

Tour organizer: Heritage Expeditions, Ltd. (New Zeland)

Cruise Chukotka Including Wrangel & Herald Islands

Near the top of the world in one of the most remote and inhospitable parts of the planet, lie two wild and undeveloped islands of great significance to the conservation of life on earth.

Dave Cline in Wrangel Island, a publication of the Beringia Conservation Project. Anchorage, Alaska 2001.

This unique journey not only includes the isolated Wrangel and Herald Islands but also a significant section of the wild North Eastern Siberian coastline. It is a journey made possible only in recent years by the thawing in the politics of the region and the retreat of the summer pack ice in the Chukchi Sea. Right on the border between Soviet Russia and the USA, the area was known as the Ice Curtain and today remains one of the last undiscovered wonders of the world.

Auklets everywhereGiles Breton
Auklets everywhereGiles Breton

We sail through the Bering Strait west along the north Siberian coastline before crossing the Longa Strait to Wrangel Island and there spend 4-5 days under the guidance of local Rangers on the Nature Reserve. Untouched by glaciers during the last ice age, this is a treasure trove of arctic biodiversity and is perhaps best known for the multitude of Polar Bears that breed there. We hope to catch many glimpses of this beautiful animal as well as walrus, reindeer,Snow geese and other migratory species that nest here annually. Of equal importance is the mammoth steppe vegetation complex, a rich and diverse relic from the Pleistocene epoch, nurturing over 400 plant species.

Across the top of the World
Across the top of the World

Changing hands from Britain, America, Canada and Russia the islands human histories are not without interest either and our expert expedition team will take time to give lectures and background to the landscape we move through and the encounters we enjoy. We will undertake numerous landings during our voyage, look for whales, visit huge bird colonies, walrus haul-outs and native villages and will take every opportunity to discover the regions rich biodiversity.

NOTE: You can join this expedition either in Anadyr (see Getting to and from the Russian Far East) or you can join in Nome, Alaska. Those starting in Nome will fly by a Heritage Expeditions charter flight to Anadyr where you will join the ship and the expedition members who have travelled direct to Anadyr.


Day 0:
For those departing Nome, Alaska your adventure begins with a flight across the black Bering Sea and the International Date Line, to the remote port of Anadyr.

Day 1: Anadyr
Explore Anadyr, the administrative centre of the Chukotka region, before getting to know your fellow voyagers and crew on board the Spirit of Enderby.

Day 2: Anadyrskiy Bay
Weighing anchor early, you are invited to join the expedition staff and crew on the bridge for introductory briefings as we sail toward the Bering Straits, through the Anadyr Estuary famed for its Beluga Whales.

Day 3: Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchrchen Islands
Yttygran Island is home to the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley, where we make a landing. Constructed from immense whale jawbones and skulls to form arches, the site is of international archaeological importance. On the lookout for Grey Whales, we also cruise by Nuneangan and Arakamchrchen Islands where seabirds nest and Walrus can be found.

Day 4: Cape Dezhnev / Uelen Village
The north easternmost point of the Eurasian continent, it is sometimes possible to see the coast of America from this remote and lonely outpost. Its a steep scramble up the rocky beach to an abandoned Soviet border guard base and a monument to Semyon Dezhnev, the brave 17th century seafarer who lends the cape his name. We are welcomed by Chukchi villagers whose traditional lifestyle remains largely unchanged by the passing centuries and are treated to a precious collection of sculptures, bone-carvings and artwork.

Passengers & WalrusNJRuss
Passengers & WalrusNJRuss

Day 5: Kolyuchin Island
Inhabited today only by Walrus and seabirds this was once a Polar Bear research station. 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
Our itinerary will vary depending on ice and weather conditions but with a multitude of migrating birds to spot and the commanding presence of Polar Bears and their cubs to hold our attention, our days here will be busy. This is the essence of expedition cruising and there are many landings we can make to search out wildlife like Snowy Owls and Snow Geese, Ivory Gulls, the powerful Musk Ox and herds of Reindeer. Diverse Arctic landscapes from sweeping tundra of wildflowers in summer riot to sea cliffs housing rookeries of noisy seabirds underline this area as a Nature Reserve of international significance. This is also a chance to visit historic Dragi Harbour where early explorers endured terrible winters after their steamship was crushed by ice.

Horned PuffinsJERoss
Horned PuffinsJERoss

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 a coastline that very few humans have seen and survived to tell the tale. Looking for Walrus we will come across Chukchi villages whose residents scratch out a living in an unforgiving climate, hunting seals and whales just as their ancestors did.

Days 12: Kolyuchin Inlet
So huge that it is visible from satellite photos, this inlet contains vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory waders. We visit the spit of land near the inlets mouth and find a wild, desolate landscape that is strangely beautiful; its dunes and tidal areas are home to the mighty Emperor Goose and extremely rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Grey Whales frequent the area and we may be fortunate to spot them feeding only a stones throw from shore.

Day 13: Big Diomede Island (Ostrov Ratmanova)
Sometimes called Tomorrow Island and Yesterday Isle the Diomedes are separated by the International Date Line; these two rocky outposts represented the final Cold War frontier between Soviet Russia and the USA. We go in search of the Black-legged Kittiwake, Brunnichs Guillemot and Horned Puffin and perhaps glimpse the worlds northernmost colony of auklets.

Day 14: At Sea
Relax in the ships bar or library as we sail across Anadyrskiy Bay, before bidding farewell to your fellow voyagers and staff over a dinner and expedition recap tonight.

Spirit of-Enderby
Spirit of-Enderby

Day 15: Anadyr
Our adventure ends after breakfast with disembarkation back at the port where you will enjoy a complimentary transfer to the airport or to your hotel.

Dates: Nome to Nome

#1128 26th July - 9th August 2011
#1130 9th 23rd August 2011
#1132 23rd August 6th September 2011

Dates: Anadyr to Anadyr

#1128 27th July - 10th August 2011
#1130 10th 24th August 2011
#1132 24th August 7th September 2011

Prices: (All prices in USD)

Heritage Suite $ 11,000pp
Mini Suite $ 10,200pp
Superior Plus $ 9,200pp
Superior $ 8,700pp
Main Deck $ 8,200pp
Main Deck Triple $ 6,800pp

Additional charges:

Private charter flight Nome to Anadyr Return $750pp
Landing Fees/Local Payment $ 350pp
Included in the cruise price:
All shore excursions as outlined in itinerary. All accommodation and meals onboard the vessel. Services of Heritage Expeditions leaders. Post-expedition Trip Log.
Price Excludes:
Flights to and from the points of embarkation and disembarkation. Travel insurance. Visas. Laundry. Drinks. Gratuities and other items of a personal nature
Heritage Expeditions gives right to Chukotka tourist companies to sell their cruisesYou can buy this tour at Nortoco Travel Company, 32 Otke Street, Anadyr, Chukotka, Russia, 689000
Office: +7 42722 28757
Mobile: +7 924 667 7014

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