Join us for Silversea’s second crossing of the Northeast Passage, retracing the voyages of famous explorers like Nordenskiöld, Nansen, DeLong and Amundsen! See how far north Silver Explorer can get and visit islands few people have even heard of. You will be amazed by the dramatic scenery and the resilient wildlife of the Russian High Arctic with a chance to spot walrus and polar bears in this harshest of landscapes.
Encounter fascinating local cultures in Chukotka and visit Wrangel Island, home to thousands of walrus and polar bears.
Throughout the voyage, learn about the history, geology, wildlife and botany of this spectacular area from lecture presentations offered by your knowledgeable onboard Expedition Team.
Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village, Chukotka, Russia –
Considered Russia’s easternmost settlement, the small coastal village of Uelen is north of Cape Dezhnev. The cape had been rounded by Dezhnev 130 years before Captain Cook, and has one of Russia’s most famous lighthouses and the monument honouring Dezhnev. Known by the local Yupik as „Land’s End“, the village has a population of around 700 inhabitants. The Chukchi and Inuit that live here are known as excellent carvers, working in walrus, whalebone and reindeer. Going ashore we will have a welcome and cultural presentation with an opportunity to see many of the excellent carvings.
Wrangel Island, Chukotka, Russia –
Silver Explorer will be exploring Wrangel Island for three days. This protected nature area and UNESCO World Heritage Site has the largest amount of polar bears and apparently was the last place where 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 we hope to offer a walk looking for the two types of lemmings found on Wrangel, Arctic foxes, Snowy Owls and obviously the tundra flora. While at Krassin Bay, a 3,400 year old Paleo-Eskimo camp will be one of the goals of our exploration. With our onboard naturalists and our Russian park rangers we hope to hike, looking for the remains of ancient inhabitants of Wrangel Island and will continue to look for land mammals, birds and the varied flora.
Medvezhyi Islands, East Siberian Sea –
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 so famous. This is one of the places described by Nordenskiöld in 1878. On Chetyrokhstolbovoy flowers, lichen, mosses and mushrooms will be everywhere, but if we can land we will also see the abandoned weather station and will intend to walk to the imposing rock spires. The height of up to 30 metres makes these geological features quite impressive and gave the island its name: Four-spires-island. A large field of boulders surrounds the spires, increasing in size with decreasing distance from the centre.
Cruise towards the Ice Edge –
While heading west we will get a feeling for the different approaches to these frigid waters by explorers like Nansen, Nordenskiöld and Amundsen. Considering that several explorers tried to reach the ice to drift towards the North Pole, our aim is to venture as far north as possible –where few others have been- and continue searching for seals, walrus, and polar bears on the ice.
Novaya Zemlya, Russia –
Novaya Zemlya will be the first part of Europe on this voyage. 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 put in place by Russia to clean the park of any remains of the Cold War.
Champ Island, Franz Josef Land, Russia –
Arctic Skuas, Little Auks, Black-legged Kittiwakes and Black Guillemots nest on the island, but the most famous attractions are the stone spheres that reach up to 2 metres in diameter.
Hall Island, Franz Josef Land, Russia –
Hall Island was the first of the Franz Josef Land 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 special features. In summer the many crevices in this massive cliff provide shelter 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 –
This ice-free port has a very interesting history and Russia’s icebreaker fleet is stationed here. The nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin, the first civilian nuclear-powered ship, will be of interest, as would be a visit to the Palace of Culture, the memorial lighthouse and associated deckhouse of the doomed submarine Kursk, Lenin Prospect and the museum of the Murmansk Shipping Company.
Gjesverstappan Islands, Norway –
Almost a hundred islands and rocks make up the Gjesverstappan Nature Reserve –one of Europe’s most accessible and largest nesting areas for Atlantic seabirds. The islands have one of the largest Atlantic Puffin colonies in North Norway. With our Zodiacs we will look for Atlantic Puffins and other species such as Northern Gannets, White-tailed Eagles, Common Eider Ducks, and Great Cormorants that bring the amount of nesting birds to almost 2 million.
- See cultural presentations in Provideniya and Uelen village, highlighting Russian and local folklore.
- See the bone carvings and the whale bone museum in Uelen.
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
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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