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High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos

Overview

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This epic adventure of discovery takes you to some of the most remote and extreme regions of the Russian High Arctic. Setting sail from Murmansk, we explore heavily glaciated Novaya Zemlya (New Land), a vast area of pristine Arctic wilderness where polar bears roam. We sail further east to the ‘ice cellar of the Arctic’ - the Kara Sea, where we follow in the footsteps of the Arctic explorers who set out in search of the fabled Northeast Passage. We may even explore Severnaya Zemlya, the last major territorial discovery on the planet. Then on to Franz Josef Land, a group of 191 remote islands within the Arctic Circle and part of the Russian Arctic National Park. This is an itinerary for the intrepid adventurer as you encounter unique wildlife amongst pristine landscapes.

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ACQEHAO

Location: Arctic

Ship: Ocean Adventurer

CRUISE ITINERARY

Your arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and design scene and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences. If you arrive early, explore the many museums, galleries and restaurants, relax at a Finnish sauna or wander the vibrant Design District before retiring at your included hotel.

Helsinki, Finland

After breakfast, we will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Murmansk, Russia. Once aboard, get acquainted with the ship and crew and settle in for your voyage north.

Embarkation in Murmansk, Russia

Today we sail through the Barents Sea, named for the great Dutch explorer Willem Barents, who led two expeditions to Novaya Zemlya in the 1590s. Your Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the region, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. Expedition Staff will also keep a lookout for the seabirds, such as kittiwakes, skuas and fulmars, soaring above your ship. Whale and seal sightings may also be possible in this biologically rich sea.

At Sea - Day 3 & 4

The largest of the Eurasian arctic archipelagos, the rarely visited Novaya Zemlya (“New Land”) is the third-largest wilderness area in Europe. This seemingly long, thin island actually consists of two main islands, Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern), separated by the imposing Matochkin Strait. These islands are pure, rugged arctic beauty at its best—massive extinct volcanoes, jagged ice cliffs and the most isolated mountain range in the Barents Sea.
As we explore Novaya Zemlya, expect a new adventure every day. Each expedition will be unique, depending on the weather and ice, but a few landing sites we strive to visit include Inostrantseva Bay, the Oransky Islands, Cape Zhelaniya, Cape Spory Navalok and Russkaya Gavan. Boasting one of the most picturesque glaciers in the entire archipelago, Inostrantseva Bay provides breathtaking panoramic views of pristine arctic wilderness. If conditions allow, we may explore ashore, or Zodiac cruise along the face of the glacier, at a safe distance, possibly witnessing the wonders of calving ice. Encounters with Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) are likely, owing to a small colony in the coastal cliffs.
To the east side of Severny Island are the Oransky Islands. Wildlife abounds here, with a variety of animal and plant life to be discovered, Walrus have been sighted here on many previous expeditions. Coming across a walrus haul-out is unforgettable. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create a raucous as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline. Encounters with whales and seabirds are possible, as well as polar bears, a genetically distinct subpopulation here.
A significant site in polar exploration, Novaya Zemlya also offers a number of opportunities for you to trace the footsteps of famous explorers and reflect on the region’s history.

Exploring Novaya Zemlya - Day 5 to 7

Say goodbye to Novaya Zemlya as we cruise farther east, exploring the Kara Sea. The westernmost Asian sea off Siberia, the Kara Sea is known as the “ice cellar” of the Arctic, as it is often encumbered by trapped ice floes. Ice conditions will be considered by your skilled captain during navigation—luckily sea ice happens to be a great habitat for iconic arctic wildlife. There are several sites and small archipelagoes along the Siberian coast we hope to explore, tracing the path of polar explorers searching for the Northeast Passage. Weather and ice will determine where we explore, but some areas we hope to visit include Russky Island, Troynoy Island and Cape Chelyuskin.
Both Russky Island and Troynoy Island are part of the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve, the largest reserve in Eurasia. Russky Island is the site of a former polar station, established, in part, to monitor navigation along the Northern Sea Route, the Russian section of the Northeast Passage. Troynoy Island is the largest of the Izvesti Tsik Islands, about 90 miles (150 km) off the coast of the Taymyr Peninsula. The island is uninhabited, except for the researchers at the weather station. Home to an ivory gull colony, the island is also frequented by polar bears. At the tip of the Taymyr Peninsula is Cape Chelyuskin, the northernmost point of the Russian and Eurasian mainland and the site of another active research station. Here, at “the edge of the earth,” we hope to explore on foot. Dependent on ice and weather conditions, an exploration of Severnaya Zemlya embodies the true spirit of adventure. Dominated by glaciers and polar desert, the archipelago was not discovered until 1913 and remained virtually unexplored till 1930–32, the last major undiscovered territory on earth. Amongst many possible destinations, we hope to visit a number of glaciers, including the Vavilov Ice Cap and those at Marat Fjord. If conditions are favourable, we may cruise the Red Army Strait, flanked by the massive Academy of Sciences Glacier (which also runs along the eastern shore of Zhuravlev Bay) and the smaller Rusanov Glacier. As one of very few people to ever explore this remote area in depth, you’ll want to have your camera ready to capture these amazing sights.

Exploring the Kara Sea - Day 8 to 13

There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team, relax in our polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the sea and searching for wildlife.

At Sea

This remote group of 191 islands, many ice covered, forms the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. A nature reserve, it is part of the Russian Arctic National Park. Our exploration of the region is highly determined by weather and ice conditions, but we hope to explore historical sites, remote seabird colonies and walrus rookeries such as Cape Flora, Cape Norway, Bell Island and Tikhaya Bukta. Polar bear encounters are also possible.
On Jackson Island, Cape Norway is where Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered from 1895 to 1896. The conditions were astonishingly difficult, but they survived until the summer and continued their journey south. The remains of their stone hut are still here today, with a memorial marking the event. Exploring Tikhaya Bukta (Calm Bay), the site of an abandoned weather station on Hooker Island, is a step back in time. There is plenty to discover as you wander the ruins, immersed in Russian polar history, and you may even be able to send a postcard from the post office! Another possible landing site, if time and weather permit, is Cape Tegetthoff on Hall Island, where we hope to visit the Barents memorial. The scenery here is spectacular, and we may be fortunate to view polar bears and Atlantic walrus.

Exploring Franz Josef Land - Day 15 to 18

As your arctic expedition winds down, you have a couple of days to sail through this wildlife-rich sea, where whales of various species are often seen. Take in a presentation, reminisce about your journey with your shipmates, relax in the lounge while swapping stories and photos or enjoy the solitude of the sea. Expedition staff will be on hand to answer any questions and spot wildlife.

At Sea - Day 19 & 20

Returning to Russia’s most northerly city, you’ll have time to bid farewell to your Expedition Team and crew before catching our group charter flight back to Helsinki, where you will have one more night in this exquisite city.

Disembarkation in Murmansk & Fly to Helsinki

After breakfast, spend time exploring more of the Finnish capital or catch your homeward-bound flight.

Helsinki
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Pricing & date

Departing Ending Duration
22 Jul 2020 12 Aug 2020 22
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Important Information

  • - Shipboard accommodation
    - All meals whilst on-board including snacks
    - Beer and wine during dinner
    - Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
    - All shore excursions and zodiac cruising (*excluding forward facing zodiac)
    - Guiding and lectures by expedition team and team
    - English-speaking expedition team
    - Free use of rubber boots on land
    - Wind and water resistant expedition jacket
    - All Port taxes
    - Russian invitation letter for visa application provided after final payment

    Exclusions:
    - Airfares to/from embarkation and disembarkation city
    - Visa fees (if applicable)
    - Travel Insurance
    - Personal expenses such as laundry, on-board communication (telephone calls, faxes, email service)
    - Gratuities for the crew (recommended US$15.00 per person per day)
    - Optional Activities whilst on-board
    **Mandatory Transfer Package includes;
    • One night’s pre- and post-expedition hotel accommodation in Helsinki
    • Round-trip flights from Helsinki to Murmansk
    • Transfers to and from the ship in Murmansk
    Transfers between the airport and hotel in Helsinki in conjunction with charter flight
          *Package Price: USD1,995 per person
     

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request

  • Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:

1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.

2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.

3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.

4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.

5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.