Chukotka – Where Russia's day begins

On this special Chukotka expedition we will meet the locals; we will have an opportunity to see and hear their stories and experience their love for, and strong connection with, the land and the sea.


Russia
© Katya Ovsyanikova

Duration: 15 days
Starts: Nome, Alaska
Ends: Anadyr, Russia
Languaje: English speaking voyage

You can join this expedition either in Anadyr or in Nome, Alaska. Those starting in Nome will fly by a Heritage Expeditions’ charter flight to Anadyr and will join the ship and the expedition members who have travelled direct to Anadyr.


Included Activities


The vast majority of people in the world won’t even know where it is, let alone know much about it.
It is one of 83 regions which make up the Russian Federation, and is officially known as the Chukotka Autonomous Region. It covers a vast area of North East Russia the size of England and France combined, and slightly larger than the state of Texas, yet is home to less than 50,000 people, the majority of which live in the towns. The indigenous people include Chukchi, Inuit, Even, Koryak, Chuvan and Yukaghir. The non-native inhabitants are predominately Russian. The Chukotka region was the last part of Siberia to be ‘conquered’ or ‘subdued’ by the Cossack invaders from the west. The Chukchi people resisted fiercely, only succumbing in the late 19th Century.

On this special Chukotka expedition we will meet the locals; we will have an opportunity to see and hear their stories and experience their love for, and strong connection with, the land and the sea. We also hope to celebrate with them at their annual Regatta and Festival. We will explore the vast expansive tundra with its wild flowers and dwarf tree species and we will watch for brown bears, reindeer, Arctic Foxes, ground squirrels and, if we are lucky, we may also see a Wolverine. We will explore Wrangel Island with its Polar Bears, walrus and rich Arctic history, while at sea we will be looking for whales.

Itinerary

© A. Charles
© E. Bell
© Katya Ovsyanikova

Day 0: Nome
For those departing from Nome, Alaska, your adventure begins with a flight across the Bering Sea and International Date Line, to the remote port of Anadyr.

Day 1: Anadyr
All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr, the administrative capital of Chukotka. Depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr before boarding the vessel. We will sail in the late afternoon for Egvekinot.

Day 2: Egvekinot
This small town was built by Gulag prisoners as a port to supply the rich Lul’tin mining complex some 200 kilometres inland, they were then forced to construct a road to the mine. We explore the town which has an excellent museum and plan to travel by Ural to explore along the road towards Lul’tin and into the tundra to gain an appreciation of this unique Arctic landscape close to the Arctic Circle.

Day 3: Konergino
Across Kresta Bay from Egvekinot is the small reindeer herding village of Konergino. Reindeer herding is still an important part of the indigenous people’s culture and economy, the practice has remained largely unchanged over the centuries and revolves around ‘brigades’ looking after large herds of reindeer out on the tundra. Today is an introduction to, and an opportunity to understand, this practice.

Day 4: Presbrazhenya Bay
We will be cruising along the south coast of Chukotka today and we will take the opportunity to stop at Presbrazhenya Bay. We Zodiac cruise spectacular bird cliffs which could provide great photographic opportunities. We also plan time exploring the rich tundra landscape for birds and plants.

Day 5: Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
The significant and intriguing archaeological site of ‘Whale Bone Alley’ on Yttygran Island dates to the 14th Century, its origins and purpose have been the cause of much debate. Whale bones stretch along the beach in the form of a pathway for nearly half a kilometre. Gray Whales are frequently seen in the vicinity and there may be a chance to go whale-watching by Zodiac. This afternoon we plan a landing at nearby Gil’mimyl Hot Springs.

Day 6: Cape Dezhnev
Sea conditions permitting, we plan to land at Cape Dezhnev early this morning; this is the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. The name 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). Nearby is the former Inuit village of Naukan, the inhabitants were relocated to nearby villages by the Soviet administration in 1958 but photographs and stories make the site come alive.

Day 7: At Sea
Relax as we navigate northwards towards Wrangel Island. Ice conditions will determine our speed and course and will ultimately dictate whether we will actually be able to reach the island.

Days 8 to 10: Wrangel Island
As we approach the island we will spend time searching the ice for Polar Bears, Ringed Seals and walrus. Should there be opportunities to land we will explore the tundra to look for species which breed here. We have allowed three days on and around the island to take advantage of whatever conditions we encounter and will be utilising the local knowledge of the Park Rangers to make multiple landings and Zodiac cruising the ice.

Day 11: At Sea
We sail south towards Kolyuchin Island. The day is filled with illustrated lectures, opportunities to spend time on deck, relaxing in the ship’s bar and catching up with some reading or download and editing photos.

Day 12: Kolyuchin Island / Kolyuchin Inlet
This morning we plan a landing and/or Zodiac cruise at Kolyuchin Island. When the ice recedes large numbers of walrus sometimes haul out on the island. At the western end of the island is the remains of a Polar Research Station and nearby are some amazing bird cliffs, where it is possible to get magnificent views (and photographs) of puffins and guillemots. This afternoon we will cruise to nearby Kolyuchin Inlet, a massive tidal estuary and ideal habitat for many bird species, it is early enough in the season for the majority of them to either be on nests or have young. It is an easy landing with lots of opportunity for ‘birding’.

Day 13: Lavrentiya and the Annual Beringia Regatta and Festival
We plan to be here for opening day of the annual Beringia Regatta and Festival which includes Baidara (traditional walrus skin covered boats) races as well as cultural group performances and games. It is one of the most colourful festivals in the Chukotka calendar and attracts people from many villages. There will be a range of activities at the Regatta and Festival and local foods for you to sample and souvenirs to purchase. This is a festival that gets to the very heart and soul of the people, their culture and their land.

Day 14: At Sea
As we make our way back to Anadyr we will recap the many experiences we have enjoyed on this special Chukotka expedition.

Day 15: Anadyr
After breakfast passengers will be taken ashore, a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central downtown hotel will conclude the expedition.

Itinerary

Day 0: Nome
For those departing from Nome, Alaska, your adventure begins with a flight across the Bering Sea and International Date Line, to the remote port of Anadyr.

Day 1: Anadyr
All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr, the administrative capital of Chukotka. Depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr before boarding the vessel. We will sail in the late afternoon for Egvekinot.

Day 2: Egvekinot
This small town was built by Gulag prisoners as a port to supply the rich Lul’tin mining complex some 200 kilometres inland, they were then forced to construct a road to the mine. We explore the town which has an excellent museum and plan to travel by Ural to explore along the road towards Lul’tin and into the tundra to gain an appreciation of this unique Arctic landscape close to the Arctic Circle.

Day 3: Konergino
Across Kresta Bay from Egvekinot is the small reindeer herding village of Konergino. Reindeer herding is still an important part of the indigenous people’s culture and economy, the practice has remained largely unchanged over the centuries and revolves around ‘brigades’ looking after large herds of reindeer out on the tundra. Today is an introduction to, and an opportunity to understand, this practice.

Day 4: Presbrazhenya Bay
We will be cruising along the south coast of Chukotka today and we will take the opportunity to stop at Presbrazhenya Bay. We Zodiac cruise spectacular bird cliffs which could provide great photographic opportunities. We also plan time exploring the rich tundra landscape for birds and plants.

Day 5: Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
The significant and intriguing archaeological site of ‘Whale Bone Alley’ on Yttygran Island dates to the 14th Century, its origins and purpose have been the cause of much debate. Whale bones stretch along the beach in the form of a pathway for nearly half a kilometre. Gray Whales are frequently seen in the vicinity and there may be a chance to go whale-watching by Zodiac. This afternoon we plan a landing at nearby Gil’mimyl Hot Springs.

Day 6: Cape Dezhnev
Sea conditions permitting, we plan to land at Cape Dezhnev early this morning; this is the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. The name 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). Nearby is the former Inuit village of Naukan, the inhabitants were relocated to nearby villages by the Soviet administration in 1958 but photographs and stories make the site come alive.

Day 7: At Sea
Relax as we navigate northwards towards Wrangel Island. Ice conditions will determine our speed and course and will ultimately dictate whether we will actually be able to reach the island.

Days 8 to 10: Wrangel Island
As we approach the island we will spend time searching the ice for Polar Bears, Ringed Seals and walrus. Should there be opportunities to land we will explore the tundra to look for species which breed here. We have allowed three days on and around the island to take advantage of whatever conditions we encounter and will be utilising the local knowledge of the Park Rangers to make multiple landings and Zodiac cruising the ice.

Day 11: At Sea
We sail south towards Kolyuchin Island. The day is filled with illustrated lectures, opportunities to spend time on deck, relaxing in the ship’s bar and catching up with some reading or download and editing photos.

Day 12: Kolyuchin Island / Kolyuchin Inlet
This morning we plan a landing and/or Zodiac cruise at Kolyuchin Island. When the ice recedes large numbers of walrus sometimes haul out on the island. At the western end of the island is the remains of a Polar Research Station and nearby are some amazing bird cliffs, where it is possible to get magnificent views (and photographs) of puffins and guillemots. This afternoon we will cruise to nearby Kolyuchin Inlet, a massive tidal estuary and ideal habitat for many bird species, it is early enough in the season for the majority of them to either be on nests or have young. It is an easy landing with lots of opportunity for ‘birding’.

Day 13: Lavrentiya and the Annual Beringia Regatta and Festival
We plan to be here for opening day of the annual Beringia Regatta and Festival which includes Baidara (traditional walrus skin covered boats) races as well as cultural group performances and games. It is one of the most colourful festivals in the Chukotka calendar and attracts people from many villages. There will be a range of activities at the Regatta and Festival and local foods for you to sample and souvenirs to purchase. This is a festival that gets to the very heart and soul of the people, their culture and their land.

Day 14: At Sea
As we make our way back to Anadyr we will recap the many experiences we have enjoyed on this special Chukotka expedition.

Day 15: Anadyr
After breakfast passengers will be taken ashore, a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central downtown hotel will conclude the expedition.


© A. Charles
© E. Bell
© Katya Ovsyanikova


INCLUSIONS

Pre/Post cruise transfers, all on board ship accommodation, meals and all expedition shore excursions.

EXCLUSIONS

Additional fees: Local Payment: $500.00pp
All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities.
International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.
Private charter flight Nome to Anadyr to Nome US$2,000pp


* The prices are per person expressed in US Dollars.
NOTE: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.




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