Across the Top of the World cruise - Heritage Expeditions

Arctic Northwest and Northeast Passages

Inclusions

14 nights Cruise Only

*** ALL RATES IN USD PER PERSON TWIN SHARE **

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Highlights:
This unique expedition crosses the Arctic Circle and includes the isolated and pristine Wrangel and Herald Islands and a significant section of the wild North Eastern Siberian coastline. It is a journey only made possible in recent years by the thawing in the politics of the region and the retreat of summer pack ice in the Chukchi Sea. The very small distance between Russia and the USA along this border area was known as the Ice Curtain, behind which, then and now, lies one of the last great undiscovered wilderness areas in the world.
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Cruise only package prices include:
- One way transfer from Anadyr central meeting point to the port for embarkation
- 14 night expedition cruise aboard the Spirit of Enderby (50 guests) round trip from Anadyr Bay
- All shipboard main meals
- All off ship expedition shore excursions and zodiac rides with a team of experts in the region
- Transfer from Anadyr Bay port to downtown hotel or airport
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OPTIONAL RETURN PRIVATE CHARTER FLIGHTS
From Nome to Anadyr to Nome is an extra USD $2000 per person on the prices listed here.

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Note:
There are shared cabins on this ship with shared bathrooms, we have not included these prices, but if you are interested in this style of travel, please contact our office for rates and availability. All prices here begin with cabins using private facilities.

Discovery Fund: A discovery fund fee of US $500 is payable onboard and is included in your cruise fare shown here

Details

Cruise 14 nights with Heritage Expeditions on an expedition to Russia`s Far East.

14 Night Cruise sailing from Anadyr roundtrip aboard Spirit of Enderby.

Day by Day Itinerary:

Day 1: Anadyr
All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr; depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr, before getting to know your fellow voyagers and expedition team on board the Spirit of Enderby. We will depart when everybody is on board.

Day 2: Anadyrskiy Bay
As we sail across Anadyrskiy Bay towards the Bering Strait there will be an introduction to the staff and ship and a series of compulsory briefings and drills. There will also be a chance to relax or enjoy some ‘birding’ with our naturalists and/or settle into ship life and, for many of you, adjust to the time changes. Late this afternoon we will be in the vicinity of Preobrazheniya Bay where there are some outstanding bird cliffs which we plan to Zodiac cruise.

Day 3: Yttygran Island and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
Yttygran Island is home to the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley, where whale bones stretch along the beach for nearly half a kilometre. There are many meat pits used for storage and other remains of a busy whaling camp that united several aboriginal villages at a time. In one location, immense Bowhead Whale jawbones and ribs are placed together in a stunning arch formation.Gray Whales are frequently seen around the island. After landing at Whale Bone Alley we will take the Zodiacs on a whale-watching excursion. This afternoon we intend to make a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs. They are a short walk from the coastline, but well worth the effort. There will be a chance to explore the tundra for birds, plants and animals as we walk to and fro. After a soak in the springs we will re-join the ship for a relaxing evening.

Day 4: Lavrentiya and Cape Dezhnev
Dropping anchor in beautiful Lavrentiya Bay, we expect to spend the morning exploring its historically and culturally rich village. A former indigenous settlement, this Soviet-planned community was established in the 1920s as an administrative centre where local Chukchi and Siberian Yupik were encouraged to move to. We plan to visit the Lavrentiya museum, meet local elders and enjoy an authentic taste and slice of village life in the main square.This afternoon we plan to be at Cape Dezhnev, the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. This cape commemorates the accomplishment of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev who was the first European to sail through this strait in 1648 (80 years before Bering did). On the cape is a lighthouse, a monument and the remains of a Border Guard base. If the weather and sea conditions are suitable we plan to land here and give you the opportunity to explore the area.A short distance south of the cape is the former Inuit settlement of Naukan. The Soviet government relocated these people to other Chukotka settlements in the 1950s as it was thought they posed a security risk, supposedly because of the close proximity of Alaska. It is still possible to sense the melancholy in the air because the people never wanted to leave. As the relocation was fairly recent, there is a wealth of historic data and photographs that makes this visit even more poignant.

Day 5: Kolyuchin Island
This small island was once an important Russian Polar Research Station and one of a number dotted across the Arctic. Sadly with the collapse of the USSR there was no money to maintain them and they were abandoned; the buildings are derelict but the wildlife the men studied is still there. Near the abandoned station at the north-western end of the island are some of the most amazing bird cliffs in the Arctic, where puffins, guillemots, gulls and cormorants can be observed and photographed from just metres away.At the south-eastern end of the island there is a prominent walrus haul out, if the animals are present it is one of the easiest places to observe them and get some good photographs.

Days 6 to 10: Wrangel and Herald Islands
Ice and weather conditions permitting, we plan to spend the next few days exploring Wrangel Island and, if possible, we also plan to include a visit to nearby Herald Island.Wrangel Island is one of those islands that you have to visit to appreciate. The earliest human occupation is dated 3200 years BC, and it has been established that they were seasonal hunters from Siberia. The island’s presence was speculated about and marked on maps by early Russian explorers, but it wasn’t until 1849 that it was ‘rediscovered’ by the British. A Canadian expedition attempted to establish a permanent settlement and claim the island for Canada, however they were evicted by the Russians who took ownership of the island.Today it is a Russian Federal Nature Reserve of international importance. A lot of its significance lies in the fact that it is a major Polar Bear denning area. In fact it is sometimes referred to as ‘the world’s Polar Bear maternity ward’ on account of the large numbers of cubs born there. It is also the last landfall for migratory species flying north. Each summer thousands of birds migrate here to breed including Snow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuas, Arctic Terns, and Ross’s, Sabine and Ivory Gulls.There are many landings that we can make to search out wildlife, wild flowers and Arctic landscapes. Polar Bears will be high on our list of animals to see and with a little patience we should be rewarded with a number of encounters. Musk Oxen and reindeer were introduced to the island in 1975 and 1948 respectively, though reindeer numbers are low. We also have a 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. If ice conditions permit, we will explore Herald Island to the east of Wrangel Island.

Day 11: Kolyuchin Inlet and North Siberian Coast
Today is an expedition day where we expect to visit the Kolyuchin Inlet and cruise the North Siberian Coast. So huge that it is visible from satellite photos, the Kolyuchin Inlet contains vast numbers of waterfowl and migratory waders. We plan to visit Belaka Spit near the mouth of the inlet – a wild, desolate landscape that is strangely beautiful. Here we plan to 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.Although the North Siberian Coast is well-mapped and charted, there have been very few Expedition Cruises here and, consequently, there is a lot of scope for expedition landings. Depending on weather and sea conditions we will attempt an expedition landing today. There are several choices including Cape Vankarem where there is a seasonal large walrus haul out which may have animals present. Another is the area around the Cape bounded by narrow sand ridges with numerous coastal lagoons and inlets; while nearby there is a small Chukchi village whose residents still make their living hunting walrus, seals and whales. Another option is Chukchi village Nutepelmen, which is situated on a spit at the entrance to Pyngopikhin Lagoon, west of Cape Vankarem.

Day 12: Bering Strait and Chukotka Coast
Early morning we will pass through the Bering Strait, the only gateway between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans, and one of the world’s most nutrient-rich stretches of water. Each spring it is the scene of one of the planet’s largest wildlife migrations. Beluga, Bowhead and Gray Whales, walrus, Polar Bears, Ringed and Ribbon Seals and numerous seabirds are all known to frequent the strait. Here we will pass between 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.In 1867 when the USA purchased Alaska from Russia the new boundary was drawn between Big (Russian) and Little (USA) Diomede Islands. This makes Big Diomede Island Russia’s eastern-most possession. The island was originally inhabited by Yupik Eskimos but after World War II the native population were relocated to the mainland. Today there are no permanent residents, but Russia still maintains a Border Guard station here. It is an important island for birdlife with spectacular numbers of Black-legged Kittiwakes, Common and Brunnich’s Guillemot and Horned and Tufted Puffin.

Day 13: Bukhta Penkingney and Arakamchechen Island
This morning we will be launching our Zodiacs with a planned landing at Bukhta Penkingney, a long fiord cut into the coastline by glaciers and popular spot for whale watching. Here a small braided river, its gravel bed studded with Willow bushes, winds its way down to the sea where we land. Exploring this scenic location we will be looking for Arctic Ground Squirrels and Pikas, Willow Ptarmigan, Sandhill Cranes and brown bears attracted by the berries and salmon-filled river.

This afternoon we plan to cruise over to Arakamchechen Island, just north of Cape Chaplino and separated from the Chukotka mainland by the 8-kilometre wide Senyavina Strait. Having watched Gray Whales feeding here previously, we recommend being out on deck as we slowly cruise through the strait. On Arakamchechen Island we aim to explore the lush tundra and, if they are present, view the prominent walrus haul out from the cliffs.

Day 14: At Sea
Join the staff for an expedition recap and a disembarkation briefing, and then simply relax as we sail across Anadyrskiy Bay towards Anadyr. Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner to celebrate our journey.

Day 15: Anadyr
After breakfast it will be time to say our farewells. There will be a complimentary transfer to take you to the airport or a hotel of your choice.

Please select your cabin type to enquire

Pricing (per person)

  • All (4)
Twin

Superior Cabin

US $12,000

Superior Plus

US $13,100

Mini Suite

US $13,500

Heritage Suite

US $14,300

Terms & Conditions

*Conditions Apply: All prices shown here are per person share twin in USD, based on best available cruise fare at time of publication (04Feb21). Some cabins may have obstructed views. Cruise deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry. All passports, vaccinations and visas are the responsibility of the travelling guest to secure prior to departure from Australia. Please note that the prices shown here are not shown in real time. Transfers only included if guests are arriving/departing by air at specific airports on exact package dates. Offer subject to availability at time of booking. We reserve the right to correct errors without penalty.