Waterproof Cruises

Chukotka - where Russia's day begins

The many migratory bird species that travel each year to the High Arctic will be a feature of the expedition.

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Chukotka - where Russia's day begins

On this special Chukotka expedition we will meet the people, we will see and hear their stories and learn of their love for and strong connection with the land and the sea. We will celebrate with them at the annual Beringia Regatta and Festival and go in search of the special wildlife which inhabits the region. One species we will be particularly interested to see is the Spoon-billed Sandpiper which is close to extinction. This voyage will join an international effort to search for this bird in areas where it was once abundant. Please click on link for a personal message from company owner and expedition leader, Rodney Russ about the importance of this special expedition.
The many migratory bird species that travel each year to the High Arctic will be a feature of the expedition. 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. At sea we will look out for whales and walrus and search for Polar Bears. These are what make Chukotka so uniquely different and so deserving of this special Chukotka expedition.
We look forward to travelling with you on this Chukotka experience and know that you will gain a greater understanding of the people and the place where Russia's day begins on this 14 day expedition.

Note:
This is a sample itinerary. We do our utmost to guarantee the best experience, unfortunately we have no control over the weather or wildlife behaviour. Ports of embarkation and disembarkation and sites may change depending on vessel and departure dates, weather- and ice conditions.

  • Highlights

    - Be part of a unique expedition run as a co-operative venture with BirdLife International.
    - Experience the annual Beringia Regatta and Festival which includes whaleboat and baidara races as well as cultural group performances. It is one of the most colourful festivals in Chukotka and attracts people from all around the region.
    - Visit an area very few people have had the privilege of visiting.

  • Day 1

    We join the Spirit of Enderby in Anadyr this afternoon and this evening we will sail for Egvekinot. After sailing there will be introductions to the staff and ship. We will also conduct a safety briefing and life boat drill.

    Day 2

    From the small town of Egvekinot we will travel by Ural truck inland across the expansive tundra to the point where the 180 Meridian intersects the Arctic Circle. This is a unique opportunity to experience first hand this amazing habitat that dominates so much of Chukotka. We enjoy a barbecue lunch here before returning to the ship.

    Day 3

    We will be assisting a team from BirdLife International and Birds Russia searching the Seutaken Spit for Spoon-billed Sandpiper. This extremely rare wader (possibly the rarest in the world) was once widespread throughout Chukotka. This is part of an international effort to try and save this species from extinction and a great way to explore and discover this rarely visited coastline.

  • Day 4

    Those who choose to continue the Spoon-billed Sandpiper search will go ashore with the researchers for the day. The rest of the group will start the day with a visit to 'Whale Bone Alley' on Yttygran Island. The purpose of this very significant archaeological site dating to the 14th century is not fully understood, but is believed to have been ceremonial as well as an important food storage area. This afternoon we visit the Gil'mimyl Hot Springs and will then collect the Spoon-billed Sandpiper search team.

    Day 5

    Weather permitting, this morning we will land at Cape Dezhnev. The name celebrates the voyage of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev in 1648 who it is believed was the first European to sail through the strait 80 years before Commander Vitus Bering did. Nearby are the fascinating remains of Naukan Village, formerly inhabited by Inuits. The inhabitants were relocated amongst other villages in the region in the 1950s because it was thought they posed a security risk (supposedly because of their proximity to the USA). The poignant remains tell us a lot about these people. This afternoon we visit the village of Uelen which has been inhabited for over 2,000 years. Here we will enjoy the hospitality of the local people and enjoy a cultural performance. The inhabitants here are almost all 'sea hunters' hunting walrus and whales in much the same way their ancestors did. We will also visit their bone-carving studio which is famous throughout Russia.

  • Day 6

    This morning we land at the small island of Kolyuchin Island, which has an abandoned Polar Research and Weather Station. There are also some terrific bird cliffs where it is possible to get some great photos of puffins, guillemots and gulls. Polar Bears are also known in this region but their distribution varies from year to year depending on local ice conditions. This afternoon we visit the small village of Vankarem it is a typical Marine Hunters village of which there are quite a number along this coast.

    Days 7 - 8

    Overnight we will have sailed back to Kolyuchin Inlet, a massive tidal estuary so big we can take our ship inside. This is ideal habitat for many bird species including the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, so our search for this rare bird will continue here. The areas to be searched are Kamakay and Keutkuem Bays which are also world renowned as excellent birding areas for many species.

  • Day 9

    First up this morning we will visit the site where the great Swedish explorer Adolf Nordenskiold wintered over on the first ever successful transit of the North East Passage in 1878. The ice edge should not be too far north of our current position. This is a good place to look for wildlife including Polar Bears, walrus and seals. We will cruise the ice edge and go amongst the ice floes to search for these animals. If the ice edge has already retreated further north (it is a little hard to predict) we will make some expedition landings along the coast.

    Days 10 - 11

    This afternoon in the Bering Strait we visit Ratmanov (or Little Diomede) Island. The Border Guards based on the island sometimes allow us to Zodiac cruise the spectacular bird cliffs here. Less than one mile away from here and across the International Date Line is Big Diomede Island which is US territory.

    This afternoon we visit the village of Lavrentiya on the shores of Lavrentiya Bay. The bay was named by Captain James Cook who visited on St Laurence's day in 1778. Our visit is timed to coincide with the annual Beringia Regatta and Festival which includes whaleboat and baidara races as well as cultural group performances. It is one of the most colourful festivals in Chukotka and attracts people from all around the region. We are privileged to be invited to join in this annual celebration that will immerse us in the local culture. We stay at anchor overnight to enjoy all the action over two days of this multi day event.

    Late this afternoon after leaving Lavrentiya we make a landing at a well known archaeological site on Mechigmen Spit. This is a very significant ancient Inuit settlement founded 2,000 years ago and active for around 1,500 years. Artefacts found at this site have helped define Inuit culture of that time.

  • Day 12

    Today we disembark the vessel immediately after breakfast and board Urals which will take us across a couple of mountain passes where it is possible to get good views over the surrounding countryside. We will visit the small settlement of Novoye Chaplino, and travel on to Provideniya where we will go to the excellent museum, arguably the best in Chukotka. Our guides will show us the town which was once a bustling and important military outpost, but is today only a shadow of its former self. We will rejoin our ship which will have sailed around to meet us in Provideniya.

    Day 13

    We are at sea all day today as we make our way back to Anadyr and the conclusion of this special Chukotka expedition. We will take the opportunity to recap the many experiences we have enjoyed. Our special guest lecturers from Chukotka will give their last presentations and we will enjoy a farewell dinner together.

    Day 14

    You will wake this morning as we enter the Port of Anadyr. After breakfast you will be taken ashore either to the airport if you have a flight out today or to the town if you have chosen to stay on for a few extra days.

    To allow time for disembarkation procedures we do not recommend booking flights before 13:00hrs.

Dates and Rates

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