Epic Northeast Passage Expedition
Epic Northeast Passage Expedition 27 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 Murmansk to Anadyr, 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 >
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 >
- 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 Anadyr to Nome, Alaska ($1300)
- NOT included: Port charges of US$500 paid locally in cash
ITINERARY26 Nights 27 Days
- Days 1 - 3 | Murmansk & Barents Sea
- Days 4 - 6 | Franz Josef Land
- Days 7 - 8 | Kara Sea
- Days 9 - 11 | Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago
- Days 12 - 13 | Laptev Sea
- Days 14 - 15 | Noviye Sebirskiye (New Siberian Islands)
- Days 16 - 17 | East Siberian Sea & Medvezhyi Islands
- Days 18 - 19 | East Siberian Sea & Ayon Island
- Days 20 - 22 | Wrangel Island
- Day 23 | Kolyuchin Island
- Day 24 | Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village
- Day 25 | Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
- Day 26 | Preobrazhnaya Bay
- Day 27 | Anadyr
Murmansk & Barents Sea
Having arrived independently in Murmansk, 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 26 nights we will set sail towards the Barents Sea.
Various options are available for getting to Murmansk. Please enquire for full details and prices.
As our epic expedition begins in earnest, we will spend two days at sea sailing through the famous Barents Sea towards Franz Josef Land. 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 are often found in the waters below. Take some time to relax and prepare for the many adventures that lie ahead.
Franz Josef Land
Our first stop may well be the highlight of our whole 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.
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 Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago. En route we hope to make a landing on the island of Ostrov Vize.
Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago
We will now 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 Laptev Sea.
These two days will be spent at sea sailing towards the New Siberian Islands. The Laptev Sea is bounded by the Taymyr Peninsula and as we sail we hope to 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.
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 two days here discovering and learning all there is to know about each of them.
East Siberian Sea & Medvezhyi Islands
Leaving the New Siberian Islands behind, 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 17 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.
East Siberian Sea & Ayon Island
Continuing our transit through the East Siberian Sea, on day 18 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.
Day 19 will be spent onboard in the East Siberian Sea on our way to Wrangel Island.
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.
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.
Cape Dezhnev and Uelen Village
This morning we will arrive at Uelen Village, the most north-eastern village in Russia and 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 and museum. In the afternoon we will sail a few nautical miles to 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. On the way we are likely to see flocks of King, Common and Spectacled Eiders as they migrate south.
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 to make a landing at nearby Gil’mimyl Hot Springs.
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 last 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.
As our epic expedition comes to an end we will arrive in Anadyr, the capital of Chukotka, where after breakfast it will be time to disembark. A transfer will be provided either to a central hotel or to the airport for your homeward or onward flights.
A charter flight from Anadyr to Nome in Alaska on the day of disembarkation is available. The cost of this flight is $1300pp. Please enquire with our adventure travel consultants about this and other options available for getting home from Anadyr or extending your stay.
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
How WILDFOOT creates your holiday Adventure
Talk to someone who knows. Our specialist consultants are here to help you every step of the way – here’s how..
Talk to a specialist
Visit the wildfoot website for inspiration on your choice of adventures and destinations, then call us and speak to one of our specialists for first hand advice. We can start the planning process straight away, if you are ready.
Create your personal
Your specialist consultant will set the ball rolling and work with you to choose the right itinerary (and the right ship, if you are going to the arctic or antarctic) just for you, to suit your requirements and budget.
Help right up
We will answer any questions about your trip that may arise and, when you have paid your balance (12-15 weeks prior to departure), we will send you your detailed itinerary and go through it with you.
We are still there for you even when you have left home – our partners overseas are there to assist, especially for emergencies and you can contact us at any time in the uk by e-mail or telephone.