Small Group Safari

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.

Duration 15 days
Price From $10,528
When Jul - Aug 2019
Destination Russia

Safari Overview

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.

As well as Wrangel Island, additional stops on your journey will allow you to experience some truly wild corners of Russia’s Far East.

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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Anadyr

Today your adventure begins in the port of Anadyr, the easternmost town in all of Russia. Depending on your time of arrival, you may have time to explore the town before boarding the Spirit of Enderby and settling in to your home for the next fortnight. Once everyone is on board, you’ll set sail.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby D

Day 2

Anadyrskiy Bay

With most of the day at sea, you’ll be able to enjoy some on-board lectures and get to know your expedition team, before a possible zodiac cruise in the afternoon to see some spectacular bird cliffs.

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

This morning you’ll land at Cape Dezhnev, the easternmost point on the Asian continent. The U.S. state of Alaska lies across the Bering Strait, just over 50 miles away. Once onshore, a trip to the nearby village of Uelen is in order, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the indigenous Chukchi people who make their home here, witness a Chukchi cultural performance, view some local artwork and visit the amazing bone-carving studio here.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Day 5

Kolyuchin Island

After rounding the cape and turning northwest, today you’ll land on Kolyuchin Island, where an abandoned polar research and weather station serves as a reminder of previous Soviet occupation. Nearby there are some spectacular bird cliffs populated by puffins, gulls and guillemots.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Days 6-10

Wrangel and Herald Islands

Weather and ice conditions permitting, you’ll spend the next few days exploring Wrangel Island, as well as the small and untouched Herald Island to the east if the ship is able to access a landing site. Of course the purpose of this trip is polar bear sightings, and with luck and several landing sites to choose from, we should be rewarded with some amazing wildlife encounters. There are also a number of muskox, reindeer, lemming and Arctic fox that live here – as well as seals, whales and walrus that inhabit the surrounding waters – so your expedition team will be on the lookout in case any are nearby. Due to their importance to the region’s biodiversity, Wrangel and Herald Island have been protected as both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Russian Federal Nature Reserve; Wrangel is home to the highest density of polar bear dens in the world.

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 and 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

Day 12

Kolyuchin Inlet

This vast inlet contains vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory birds. A landing will be made on the shore of the Belaka Spit, near the mouth of the Kolyuchin Inlet. You’ll marvel at the vast desolate landscape, search the sand dunes for emperor geese, and watch the horizon for grey whales.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Day 13

Bering Strait

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 later 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 last night on board with your fellow guests, and toast to a fantastic journey.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby B, L, D

Day 15

Anadyr

After breakfast, it’s time to say your farewells. Transfer to a central downtown hotel, or to the airport where the trip ends upon arrival.

Trip Details

Trip Dates & Prices

This is a small group safari departing on three set dates between July and August 2019.

2019 Departures Price
July 22 - Aug 5 £8,000
Aug 5 - Aug 19 £8,000
Aug 19 - Sep 2 £8,000

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

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