Discover the rugged lands of the Russian Far East and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wrangel Island Reserve on a 13-day voyage aboard the National Geographic Orion. Set sail from Alaska, crossing the legendary Bering Strait to discover pristine coastlines rich with wildlife, and experience the traditions of the indigenous peoples that make their home in these remote reaches of the planet. Hike the tundra amid a profusion of plant life, spy walruses and myriad seabirds, and continue north into the Arctic Ocean to search for the iconic polar bears of Wrangel Island.
Fly from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Embark the National Geographic Orion this afternoon and set sail. On our first leg of the voyage, we cross the Bering Strait—the gateway between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans and one of the most iconic bodies of water on the planet.
At the western edge of the Bering Strait lies Provideniya, a former Soviet military port. Often called "the gateway to the Arctic," Provideniya is also the administrative center where we will conduct our clearance into Russia. Visit the local museum, which houses historic artifacts and paintings from the area, and witness a traditional dance performance by the indigenous Yupik people.
Head north through the Bering Strait and round Cape Dezhnev, the easternmost point of the Eurasian continent and a former center for fur and whale trading. Conditions permitting, venture ashore and hike to the lighthouse at the tip of this rocky headland. Continue to the nearby Chukchi and Yupik village of Uelen, known for its rich artistic traditions.
Today, we explore Kolyuchin Island and Inlet on the northern Chukotka coast. An enormous tidal estuary, Kolyuchin Inlet offers excellent hiking and birding opportunities. Nearby, Kolyuchin Island is a high, cliff-lined island where puffins and guillemots nest, and where Pacific walruses occasionally sunbathe on the rocks below. Explore this remote and untouched coastline in a Zodiac, and conditions permitting, head ashore to go hiking with our naturalists.
Spend four days exploring the World Heritage-listed Wrangel Island Reserve in the Arctic Ocean. With the world’s largest population of Pacific walruses and the highest density of ancestral polar bear dens, Wrangel Island offers incredible opportunities for wildlife viewing. The island escaped glaciation during the last ice age, and now has the highest level of biodiversity in the high Arctic, with an astonishing variety of plant life. It was also the last refuge of woolly mammoths, whose bones and tusks have been discovered amid the island’s riverbeds, providing intriguing clues to their past existence. As we explore by ship, by Zodiac, and on foot, keep an eye out for gray whales, which can be found in these prime feeding grounds, and more than 100 migratory bird species. (B,L,D daily)
Enjoy a day at sea as we make our way south from Wrangel Island to the easternmost reaches of Russia. Attend talks by our expedition team, visit the ship’s bridge and library, and spy seabirds from the deck. Later, experience Chukchi culture during a day at Lorino, the largest indigenous village in Chukotka. Witness a dance performance and learn about this traditional fishing, hunting, and reindeer-herding culture. (B,L,D daily)
This morning, visit “Whale Bone Alley” on Yttygran Island. Created some 600 years ago, Whale Bone Alley is thought to have been a communal or a ceremonial Yupik gathering place. Today, this haunting site consists of a number of fascinating whalebone formations, which protrude from the tundra overlooking the Bering Sea. Later, continue to Provideniya, where we conduct our outbound clearance before heading back east to Nome.
Spend our final day at sea, crossing the Bering Strait. Spend time on deck with binoculars in hand, on the lookout for marine mammals and seabirds. Attend talks by our naturalists and photo team, or perhaps treat yourself to a massage.
Arrive in Nome this morning, and transfer to the airport for flights to Anchorage and home.
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Accompanying each expedition is a diverse team of experts--from naturalists to regional specialists — who will share their knowledge and insights on the wildlife, landscapes and local culture. The expert featured below will be part of the expedition team on the date noted.
Photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva was born in the small town of Tiksi, located on the shore of the Laptev Sea in Russia. In her photographic work, she often looks into her Arctic homeland, discovering and capturing the remote worlds and people who inhabit them. A contributing photographer to National Geographic magazine, she first covered a story on mammoth hunters -- native people of Yakutia who excavate mammoth tusks from the thawing permafrost of the New Siberian Islands -- that appeared in the April 2013 issue. Recently, for an October 2017 article, Evgenia migrated with nomadic reindeer herders on the Yamal Peninsula in the Russian Arctic to capture the impact of growing development of natural gas industry on the traditional lifestyle of Nenet indigenous people. A graduate of New York's International Center of Photography’s Documentary Photography and Photojournalism program, she is a recipient of the ICP Infinity Award as well as the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. Arbugaeva's work has also appeared in The New Yorker and Le Monde, among other publications, and has been exhibited in the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, the Photographers’ Gallery in London, and The Rencontres d’Arles in Provence, France. Evgenia looks forward to sharing her photographic knowledge and special love for this region with travelers on this expedition.
Evgenia will join the following departure:
Aug 23 - Sep 04, 2019
This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.
|Category 1 Solo||$24,340|
|Category 3 Solo||$29,140|
Prices are per person, double occupancy, except those marked solo, which are based on single occupancy.
Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.