Epic Northeast Passage Expedition
Epic Northeast Passage Expedition 28 Days aboard Akademik Shokalskiy
This one-of-a-kind voyage will take you through the rarely explored Northeast Passage to discover these remote shores that are teeming with an abundance of wildlife, narrow fjords and remnants of Arctic history. This very special route is only achievable during a short window in the Arctic summer and you could be one of very few people to have ever transited these mysterious and fabled waterways. Cruising from Anadyr to Murmansk, we will make our way through the High Arctic, sailing through the mythical waters of the Chukchi, East Siberian, Laptev, Kara & Barents Seas to visit intriguing landing sites such as Wrangel Island, Franz Josef Land, and the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago. These vast shallow waters north of Russia are a refuge for many Arctic wildlife species such as Polar bears, various species of walrus and whales, and iconic birds like Ivory gulls, Sabine's gulls and the elusive Ross's Gulls. Come with us as we explore some of the most seldom visited shores on the planet.
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 >
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 >
- Discover some of the most rarely visited shores on the planet
- Incredible array of Arctic wildlife including Polar bears, walrus, narwhal and Arctic gulls
- Visit fascinating historic sites and experience the warmth of Arctic hospitality in local villages
- Visit the much sought-after destinations of Wrangel Island and Franz Josef Land
- Transfers to and from ship at arrival and departure
- Ship accommodation with all meals on board
- All excursions shown in itinerary
- NOT included: Optional charter flight from Nome, Alaska to Anadyr ($1300)
- NOT included: Port charges of US$500 paid locally in cash
ITINERARY27 Nights 28 Days
- Day 1 | Anadyr
- Day 2 | Preobrazhnaya Bay
- Day 3 | Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
- Day 4 | Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village
- Day 5 | Kolyuchin Island
- Days 6 - 8 | Wrangel Island
- Days 9 - 10 | East Siberian Sea & Ayon Island
- Days 11 - 12 | Medvezhyi Islands & East Siberian Sea
- Days 13 - 15 | Noviye Sebirskiye (New Siberian Islands)
- Days 16 - 17 | Laptev Sea
- Days 18 - 20 | Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago
- Days 21 - 22 | Kara Sea
- Days 23 - 25 | Franz Josef Land
- Days 26 - 28 | Barents Sea & Murmansk
Having arrived independently in Anadyr, the capital of Chukotka, this afternoon it will be time to embark your expedition ship for the adventure of a lifetime. After settling into your cabin and exploring your home for the next 27 nights we will set sail out of the Anadyr Estuary. We recommend spending some time on deck looking for the beluga whales that are often spotted in the waters here.
A charter flight from Nome in Alaska to Anadyr on the day before departure is available. The cost of this flight is $1300pp. Please enquire with our adventure travel consultants about this and other options available for getting to Anadyr.
As we sail towards Preobrazhnaya Bay across the Gulf of Anadyr we will spend some time on deck searching for wildlife sightings before exploring the magnificent coastal cliffs of Preobrazhnaya Bay in the afternoon. This will be our first chance for exploration in our Zodiac dinghies and our main aim today will be searching for the seabirds that are seen here in abundance including Tufted and Horned Puffins, Crested and Parakeet Auklets and Brunnich’s Guillemot.
Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
This morning we will visit the fascinating ‘Whale Bone Alley’ on Yttygran Island. This significant archaeological site dates back to the 14th century and its origins and purpose have been the cause of much debate. Whalebones stretch along the beach in the form of a pathway for nearly half a kilometre and the expert historians who will accompany you on your voyage will offer an insight into the area’s origins. As we explore the area we will keep an eye out for the Gray whales which often frequent the area and may have chance to take a Zodiac whale-watching excursion. In the afternoon we plan a landing at nearby Gil’mimyl Hot Springs.
Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village
This morning we will attempt a landing at Cape Dezhnev, a remote outpost which is the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. On a clear day it is sometimes possible to see the coast of America from here. After an exploration of the area, in the afternoon we will sail a few nautical miles to Uelen Village on the west of the cape. On the way we are likely to see flocks of King, Common and Spectacled Eiders as they migrate south. Uelen Village is the most north-eastern village in Russia and is one of the largest centres for traditional Chukchi and Inuit art in the world. We will enjoy a warm welcome from the villagers and perhaps a cultural presentation before visiting the bone-carving workshop.
The next stop on our adventure will be Kolyuchin Island, which was once an important Russian Polar Research Station. We will hope to make land here to search for the Brunnich’s and Common Guillemots, Tufted and Horned Puffins and Black-legged Kittiwakes which are known to be spotted here in large numbers, despite visiting outside of the peak breeding season. We also hope to take a Zodiac cruise to explore the island’s spectacular bird cliffs to observe and photograph these birds up-close. Humpback and Bowhead whales are also often spotted here so we will be on the lookout for these.
The next few days may well be one of the highlights of your expedition as you get to explore the majesty of the Russian Federal Nature Reserve of Wrangel Island. 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, as well as Arctic fox. 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.
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 throughout your exploration of the island.
East Siberian Sea & Ayon Island
As we leave Wrangel Island behind and head towards Ayon Island, we will sail through the East Siberian Sea, on a constant lookout from deck for the walrus and Bowhead whales which are known to frequent the waters.
On day 10 we will have arrived at Ayon Island where we will stop for a visit to the local community to enjoy the warm hospitality of the Chukchi people, and learn more about their way of life on this exceptionally remote island.
Medvezhyi Islands & East Siberian Sea
Continuing our transit through the East Siberian Sea, on day 11 we will stop to explore the little known and seldom visited Medvezhyi Islands (Bear Islands). This remote archipelago of five granite islands will offer us much to explore, and our first stop will be Chetyrekhstolbovoy Island where we can enjoy a hike to the distinctive rock ‘pillows’ that the island is named after. While we are here we will also hope for some excellent polar bear encounters as the islands are known to have a sizeable population. Later we will explore Pushkareva Island to visit the old lighthouse and enjoy a walk to discover the unique Arctic flowers that cover the expansive tundra.
Day 12 will be spent at sea sailing towards the New Siberian Islands.
Noviye Sebirskiye (New Siberian Islands)
Next on our list of adventurous destinations will be the remarkable yet seldom visited islands of Noviye Sebirskiye (New Siberian Islands). This exceptionally remote archipelago which marks the border between the Laptev and East Siberian Seas, is made up of three distinctive island groups - – Southern, Central (Anzhu) and Northern (De Long). Each island group has its own unique geology and landscapes that are a delight to explore, and conditions permitting we will spend three days here discovering and learning all there is to know about each of them.
These two days will be spent at sea sailing towards the Severnaya Zemlya Islands. The Laptev Sea is bounded by the Taymyr Peninsula and as we sail we will make some stops to explore the peninsula by Zodiac in search of the Laptev Sea Walrus which are found nowhere else in the world. We hope to have good opportunities to photograph this isolated and elusive species up-close. We will also be on the lookout for musk ox as well as the lesser-known Taymyr form of Herring Gull.
Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago
Next we will spend three days exploring the three largest islands of the Severnaya Zemlya group, an archipelago which offers spectacularly scenic glaciated landscapes consisting of deep fjords and magnificent tidewater glaciers. We will explore by Zodiac to get up-close to these glaciers to witness the icebergs calving, and will also spend some time on land searching for the large colony of Ivory gulls. The islands lie on the border of the Kara and Laptev Seas, and we will have ample time here to discover all that makes them so unique before making our way into the Kara sea.
Generally considered to be the coldest sea in Russia, you will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we make our way through the Kara Sea towards the wild and remote Franz Josef Land archipelago. En route we hope to make a landing on the island of Ostrov Vize.
Franz Josef Land
It’s time for the pinnacle of our adventure as we reach the huge Franz Josef Land archipelago. Made up of 192 islands, this exceptionally remote area is located just 10 degrees from the North Pole and offers an abundance of intriguing wildlife, dramatic landscapes and fascinating landing sites. The archipelago’s unique position close to the permanent ice of the Arctic Ocean, yet accessible to the rich waters of the Atlantic, provides a wealth of marine wildlife for us to discover including Beluga and Bowhead whales, and perhaps even the elusive narwhal. We are also very likely to spot good numbers of polar bears here with the islands being host to a sizeable population.
Our exact itinerary here will be determined by ice and weather conditions and your experienced captain and crew will decide on the best route for exceptional wildlife, scenic and historic experiences. Places we expect to visit include Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island where the numbers of guillemots and kittiwakes on the spectacular columnar cliffs of Rubini Rock is quite remarkable, and Cape Triest on Alger Island where the famous ‘Devil’s Marbles’ (spherical geodes) dot the landscape. We also plan to visit Cape Tegetthoff. This fascinating group of islands hold the stories of a history rich in exploration, scientific research and habitation, and at Cape Flora on Northbrook Island we will see the remains of three historic expeditions. The expert historians that will be accompanying you throughout your exploration will offer insights into the stories behind these.
Barents Sea & Murmansk
As our epic expedition comes to an end we will leave Franz Josef Land behind and head towards Murmansk through the Barents Sea. This crossing will take two full days and as we sail we recommend spending some time on deck searching for sightings of the harp seals and humpback whales which become more prominent as we sail further south. We will arrive in Murmansk on the morning of day 28 and upon arrival a transfer will be provided either to a central hotel or to the airport for your homeward or onward flights.
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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