Wrangel Island: Across the Top of the World

Set sail to Wrangel Island in the Russian Arctic, a protected nature reserve known as the polar bear capital of the world. Over two weeks you’ll cross vast tundra and sail through icy inlets, always on the lookout for breaching whales, seabird colonies lining the cliffs and of course the King of the Arctic himself, the mighty polar bear.

Itinerary Summary

Duration
15 Days
Price
When
Jul - Aug 2020
Destination
Russia
Type
Small Group Safari
Duration Price When Destination Type
15 Days Jul - Aug 2020 Russia Small Group Safari
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About this trip

Just 140km from the northern coast of Siberia lies Wrangel Island, a remote yet starkly beautiful landmass in the Arctic Ocean that is home to one of the highest concentrations of polar bears on the planet. On this journey to the top of the world you’ll marvel at the ice bears’ size and numbers, and watch enraptured as they hunt, eat and sleep here in their natural habitat. Due to the retreating pack ice at this time of year, you’ll be able to sail further north than most travellers ever reach, and learn from local rangers about the wildlife and history of the region.

 

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Search for polar bears as they hunt on land and across the pack ice.
  • Test your photography skills as seabirds swoop around your expedition ship, the Spirit of Enderby, which will be dwarfed by the magnificent cliffs rising from the sea.
  • Look out for migratory whales as they breach and surface for air.
  • Sail past rocky shorelines and ice floes where seals and walrus congregate.
  • Spot Arctic foxes moving light-footed across the tundra.
  • Visit a collection of remote Russian islands that very few people have ever set foot on.

Embedded Video Overview

An adventurous 15-day safari to the Arctic wilderness of Wrangel Island

from $9,379 per person sharing, excluding international flights, charter flights and local payment

Day by day

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Anadyr

All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr. Depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr, the easternmost town in all of Russia, before getting to know your fellow voyagers and expedition team on board the ship. We will depart when everybody is on board.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (D)

Day 2

Anadyrskiy Bay

At sea today, there will be some briefings and lectures as well as a chance for some birding, cetacean spotting, and settling in to ship life. Late this afternoon we plan to take the zodiacs out to explore some spectacular bird cliffs in Preobrazheniya Bay.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 3

Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands

Turning north into the Bering Sea, your first port of call will be Yttygran Island, home to a monumental ancient aboriginal site called Whale Bone Alley. Here huge whalebones, planted in the frozen earth by the former inhabitants of Yttygran, stretch along the beach for nearly half a kilometre. The carefully arranged skulls, ribs and vertebrae – thought to have been erected over half a millennia ago – make for an incredible sight. It is still possible to see whales from the beach, so make sure to check the water’s surface. After departing Yttygran, you’ll then sail past Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands, where walrus and nesting seabirds are often found.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 4

Cape Dezhnev & Uelen Village

This morning you’ll land at Cape Dezhnev, the northeasternmost point on the Eurasian continent. The U.S. state of Alaska lies across the Bering Strait, just over 50 miles away. A few nautical miles to the west of Cape Dezhnev is the village of Uelen, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the indigenous Chukchi people who make their home here. The population is predominantly Chukchi and the village is one of the largest centres for traditional Chukchi and Inuit art in the world. You'll also be able to visit the bone-carving workshop during your time here.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

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 gulls, puffins and guillemots can be observed and photographed up close.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Days 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 for wildlife, wildflowers 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. Reindeer and muskoxen were introduced to the island in 1948 and 1975 respectively. We also have a chance to visit Dragi Harbour, where the survivors of the HMCS Karluk, which was crushed by ice in 1914, scrambled ashore and managed to survive until they were rescued. Wrangel Island is a Russian Federal Nature Reserve of international importance, particularly as it is a major polar bear denning area. In addition, thousands of birds migrate here to breed each summer, including snow geese, snowy owls, skuas, Arctic terns and ivory gulls.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 11

North Siberian Coast

Leaving Wrangel and Herald Islands behind and heading south towards mainland Russia, you’ll witness a land of narrow sand ridges with numerous lagoons and inlets, offering plenty of places to view the native wildlife. You’ll be on the lookout for whales, walrus and numerous seabirds, as you sail past Chukchi villages whose residents still maintain a very traditional way of life.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

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.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 13

Bering Strait & Chukotka Coast

If you’re awake early this morning, make sure to be on deck to watch your ship sail past the Diomede Islands in the middle of the Bering Strait. With the western island belonging to Russia and the eastern island to the United States, the Diomedes sit either side of the International Date Line, which lends them their nickname of Tomorrow Island and Yesterday Isle. At this location, Russia and the USA are separated by only 2.3 nautical miles of ocean. Once late afternoon arrives, you’ll be able to make a quick stop on the Chukotka coast, and enjoy a final chance to wander the Russian tundra.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 14

Sailing towards Anadyr

You’ll be glad of a day at sea today as you get the chance to pack your things and recharge after a two-week adventure. Enjoy a final night on board with your fellow guests as you sail across Anadyrskiy Bay, and toast to a fantastic journey.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 15

Depart Anadyr

After breakfast, it’s time to say your farewells. There will be a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central downtown hotel.

TRIP DETAILS

TRIP DATES & PRICES

This is a small group safari departing on three set dates between July and August 2020.

 

Please note that the trip price does not include the price of international flights, charter flights or local payment.

Trip date Prices from
Aug 03 - Aug 17 2020
Aug 17 - Aug 31 2020

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on our small group safaris in Russia.