Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village, Chukotka –
Considered Russia’s easternmost settlement, the small coastal village of Uelen is just north of Cape Dezhnev. The historic cape was navigated by Seymon Dezhnev 130 years before Captain Cook, and has one of Russia’s most famous lighthouses, as well as a monument honoring Dezhnev. Known by the local Yupik as “Land’s End“, Uelen village has a population of around 700 inhabitants of Chukchi and Inuit, known as excellent bone carvers that work in walrus tusk, whalebone and reindeer.
Wrangel Island, Chukotka –
Silver Explorer will explore the wilds of Wrangel Island over the course of approximately three days. This protected nature area and UNESCO World Heritage Site has a large number of polar bears and was the last known place the woolly mammoth roamed. Grey whales, bowhead whales and beluga whales are known to be in the Chukchi Sea and the island is an important breeding ground for walrus. At Cape Florence look for the two types of lemmings found on Wrangel, as well as Arctic foxes, Snowy Owls and the subtle but impressive tundra flora.
Medvezhyi Islands, –
The Medvezhyi Islands (Bear Islands) are an uninhabited group of islands at the western side of the Gulf of Kolyma. It is not the bears, but the flora and geology that make these six islands famous as described by Nordenskiöld in 1878. View the ubiquitous flowers, lichen, mosses and mushrooms on Chetyrokstolbovoy, where depending on conditions we may land to see the abandoned weather station and walk to the imposing rock spires. The height of up to 30 meters makes these geological features impressive and gave the island its name: Four-spires-island.
Cruise towards the Ice Edge –
While heading west, we will see the varying approaches that explorers like Nansen, Nordenskiöld and Amundsen took in these frigid waters. Our aim is to venture as far north as possible, where few have been, searching for seals, walrus, and polar bears on the ice.
Novaya Zemlya –
Novaya Zemlya was visited by famous explorers like Barents and Lütke and used for military purposes until the late 20th century. Novaya Zemlya is now part of the Russian Arctic National Park and great efforts are being implemented by Russia to clean the park of remains of the Cold War.
Champ Island, Franz Josef Land, Russia –
Visit Champ Island to see where Arctic Skuas, Little Auks, Black-legged Kittiwakes and Black Guillemots nest. The spot is also known for stone spheres that reach up to 2 meters in diameter.
Hall Island, Franz Josef Land, Russia –
Hall Island was the first of the Franz Josef Islands to be discovered in 1873. The island is easily recognized by the massive cliffs and spires that protrude from the surrounding sea. Remains of the rustic campsite of Wellman’s 1898-1899 expedition can still be seen.
Hooker Island, Franz Josef Land, Russia –
Tikhava Bay and the enormous Rubini Rock, with its basalt formations, are Hooker Island’s iconic features. The many crevices in the massive cliff provide shelter during the early summer months for large colonies of seabirds including kittiwakes, guillemots and skuas. Weather permitting, we will make a Zodiac landing to visit the abandoned Sedova Station on shore, the first polar station of Franz Josef Land.
Murmansk, Russia –
The ice-free port of Murmansk has an interesting history. Russia’s icebreaker fleet is stationed here, and the nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin, the first civilian nuclear-powered ship is a major point of interest. The northerly city is home to the Palace of Culture, the memorial lighthouse of the doomed submarine Kursk, as well as Lenin Prospect and the museum of the Murmansk Shipping Company.
Gjesverstappan Islands, Norway –
Almost a hundred islands make up the Gjesverstappan Nature Reserve, one of Europe’s largest and most accessible nesting areas for Atlantic seabirds. The islands have one of the most significant Atlantic Puffin colonies in North Norway. With our Zodiacs we hope to look for Atlantic Puffins and the other species such as Northern Gannets, White-tailed Eagles, Common Eider Ducks, and Great Cormorants that total almost two million nesting birds.
• Cultural presentations in Provideniya and Uelen village highlighting Russian and local folklore
• The intricate Chukchi and Inuit bone carvings
• Uelen’s whale bone museum
• In Krassin Bay, explore a 3,400 year old Paleo-Eskimo camp
Wildlife Watch List:
• Polar bears, reindeer, musk oxen, Arctic ground squirrel, snow hare
• Pacific walrus, ringed seals, ribbon seals, spotted seals, bearded seals
• Humpback whales, grey whales, bowhead whales, beluga whales and white-beaked dolphins
• Birds of note: Northern Fulmar, Short-tailed Shearwater, Northern Gannet, Horned Puffins, Tufted Puffins, Atlantic Puffins, Great Skua, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Red-legged Kittiwakes, Black Guillemots, Pigeon Guillemots, Common Guillemots, Parakeet Auklet, Least Auklet, Snow Buntings, White-tailed Eagles, Great Cormorants
Please note: Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
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