Across the Top of the World - Wrangel Island 15 days aboard Akademik Shokalskiy
A unique and exciting expedition across the Arctic circle, visiting remote and captivating areas including the Wrangel and Herald Islands and a significant section of the wild North Eastern Siberian coastline. Aboard the Spirit of Enderby you will journey through the narrow Bering Strait, which separates Russia from the United States of America, before travelling along the Chukotka coastline and across the De Long Strait to Wrangel Island and nearby Herald Island.
Exploring these beautiful areas via Zodiac and on foot you will discover a fascinating history and a treasure trove of Arctic biodiversity, as well as an abundance of wildlife and birdlife. Known for its fantastic nature reserve Wrangel Island is home to a multitude of Polar Bears that breed here, as well as the world's largest population of Pacific Walrus. You can also expect to see Gray Whales, Reindeer, Musk Ox and an abundance of sea and land birds.
Note. Local landing charges of US$500 cash apply to this itinerary
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
Special Guest Photography GuideChris was 32 when he finally realised he really did want to be a photo-journalist and walked out on his career in IT sales to become a wildlife photographer Read more >
- Amazing and varied wildlife, including polar bears
- Spectacular scenery
- Local history and culture
- Transfers to and from ship for arrival and departure
- All meals on board ship
- All excursions shown in itinerary
- Programme of expert lectures and talks
ITINERARY14 Nights 15 Days
- Day 1 | Anadyr
- Day 2 | Anadyrskiy Bay
- Day 3 | Lavrentiya and Cape Dezhnev
- Day 4 | Kolyuchin Island & Kolyuchin Inlet
- Day 5 | At Sea
- Days 6 - 10 | Wrangel & Herald Islands
- Day 11 | North Siberian Coast
- Day 12 | At Sea & Masik Village
- Day 13 | Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands
- Day 14 | Preobrazheniya Bay
- Day 15 | Anadyr
Arrive independently to Anadyr and join the transfer to the port to board your ship. After a warm welcome on board settle in to your home for the next 14 nights and join your expedition team on the bridge on the lookout for seabirds as your ship sets sail for your journey across the top of the world.
This morning will be spent at sea, and you can join some of the optional lectures and presentations on the wildlife, history and geology of the areas you will be visiting, delivered by your onboard team of experts. There will also be some safety and environmental briefings and you will have chance to spend some time on deck looking out for the seabirds which may follow the ship.
Lavrentiya and Cape Dezhnev
This morning we will make a landing at Lavrentiya Bay where we will enjoy a visit to the Chukchi Region’s administrative centre of Lavrentiya. We will explore the township and visit the local museum which displays an interesting insight into Yupik and Chukchi cultures. There may be an opportunity to view Chukchi song and dance and to interact with the locals.
If sea conditions permit, in the afternoon we will attempt a landing at Cape Dezhnev. This remote outpost is the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent, and on a clear day it is sometimes possible to see the coast of America from here. It is also an historic landmark named after the Siberian Cossack, Semyon Dezhnev, who in 1648 became the first European to sail from the Arctic to the Pacific.
Kolyuchin Island & Kolyuchin Inlet
So huge that it is visible from satellite photos, Kolyuchin 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.
The next stop on our adventure will be Kolyuchin Island, which was once an important Russian Polar Research Station. We will visit the remnants of the station and learn about the history of the area, with time to explore the island’s spectacular bird cliffs where puffins, guillemots and gulls can be observed and photographed up close.
We continue our journey north across the Chukchi Sea, there may be sea ice to negotiate our way through as we get closer to Wrangel Island; this could offer our first opportunities to see Polar Bears, seals and walrus on ice.
Wrangel & Herald Islands
The next few days will be the pinnacle of your expedition as you get to explore the majesty of the Russian Federal Nature Reserve of Wrangel Island and nearby Herald Island. Your exact itinerary here will be much dictated by ice and weather conditions, with your captain choosing the best course each day to make the most of all scenic and wildlife opportunities. Top of the list here will be searching for sightings of Polar bears, with Wrangel Island being a major Polar Bear denning area. With a little patience we should be rewarded with a number of encounters, and we may also get to see musk oxen and reindeers, which were introduced to the island in 1975 and 1948. Birding opportunities are also excellent here, and each summer thousands of birds migrate here to breed, including Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuas, Arctic Terns, Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls.
As well as wildlife encounters you will also have the chance to visit Dragi Harbour where the survivors of the Karluk which was crushed by ice in 1914 scrambled ashore and lived until they were rescued. The history experts accompanying you will keep you entertained with stories of the island’s past, and the nature experts will offer insight into the wild flowers and beautiful Arctic landscapes that you will see along the way.
Please note: There is the option of a 3 day/2 night traverse of the island by tundra vehicle, which must be booked in advance
North Siberian Coast
Early morning we will pass the Diomede Islands, sometimes called Tomorrow Island and Yesterday Isle because they straddle the International Date Line. Here Russia and America are separated by only 2.3 nautical miles of ocean. We will remain in Russian territory as we cruise south past the islands.
We will spend the rest of the day exploring by Zodiac along the coastline through the narrow sand ridges, with numerous lagoons and inlets offering ample landing opportunities. On a constant lookout for whales, walrus and other wildlife, we will also visit some small Chukchi villages whose residents survive in an unforgiving climate, hunting seals and whales just as their ancestors did.
At Sea & Masik Village
This afternoon we plan to visit Masik Village, an archaeological site at Mechigmen Bay which is part of Beringia National Park. This site consists of subterranean dwellings, food caches and possible ceremonial structures where materials used in construction were whale skulls, ribs and jawbones.
Yttygran, Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands
Today we will visit Yttygran Island, home to the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley, where whalebones stretch along the beach for nearly half a kilometre. We will have time to explore the in search of the Grey whales that regularly frequent the area, before cruising by the Nuneangan and Arakamchechen Islands where seabird nests and walrus can often be found.
Today we will be in the vicinity of Preobrazheniya Bay where there are some outstanding ‘Bird Cliffs’. We plan to Zodiac cruise around the rock faces, ridgelines and soaring granite spires which are home to an abundance of bird life. Species that can be seen include Common and Thick-billed Murres, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Least and Crested Auklets, Vega Gulls and Arctic Tern. Both Horned and Tufted Puffins are normally in vast numbers stretched along cliffside grasses.
This evening relax and enjoy your last night on board as we sail across Anadyrskiy Bay towards Anadyr.
Arrival back in Anadyr signals the end of our expedition. In the morning you will disembark and join a transfer to the airport or to a central hotel.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. Our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. The Antarctica Trip was superb - WIldfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted - A truly memorable Experience Thank You Wildfoot
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