High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos (Day 2)
Embarkation in Murmansk: Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your hotel in Helsinki and set off for the airport as you embark on the first leg of your Arctic expedition. Board your private charter flight and buckle in for the journey to the Russian city of Murmansk. Known as the world’s largest Arctic city, Murmansk lies on the banks of Kola Bay. As you fly in, get an aerial view of the city that has transformed into one of the biggest ports along the Arctic Ocean, thanks to its ice-free waters. Board your cruise ship and get to know the crew. Enjoy exploring the ship and settle into your comfortable cabin while the vessel prepares to sail northwards.
High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos (Days 3 – 4)
At Barents Sea: Glide along the shallow, warm waters of the Barents Sea as you cruise northward. Named after the famous 16th century Dutch explorer Willem Barents, who led two expeditions to Novaya Zemlya archipelago, this sea is part of the Arctic Ocean. Learn about the fascinating history and ecology of the region from knowledgeable expedition guides. Follow their instructions as you prepare for the multitude of adventures and activities that await you over the next two days. Watch out for endemic bird species such as skuas, kittiwakes and fulmars soaring overhead. If you’re lucky, you might get to spot frolicking whales and seals in the water!
High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos (Days 5 – 7)
Exploring Novaya Zemlya: Discover the untamed wilderness of Novaya Zemlya with a range of shore adventures and interesting activities. The largest of the Eurasian Arctic archipelagoes, it comprises two main islands – Severny and Yuzhny. Sail across the dramatic Arctic landscape, featuring huge extinct volcanoes and jagged ice cliffs. Hop into a zodiac boat to see the picturesque glacier of Inostrantseva Bay, named for a Russian geologist. You might also be able to spot the unique phenomenon of ice calving, albeit from a safe distance. Along the way, keep an eye out for sightings of Brünnich’s guillemots or thick-billed murres that inhabit the cliffs in the region. Glide along to the Oransky Islands, known for their varied flora and fauna. If you’re lucky, you might catch sight of a walrus haul-out, where the huge mammals vie for the choicest spots of coastline to lounge on! Other possible encounters include polar bears, whales, and various seabird species. Cape Zhelaniya, Cape Spory Navalok, and Russkaya Gavan are some other possible landing sites. Learn all about Novaya Zemlya’s polar exploration history and retrace the footsteps of famous explorers before it’s time to resume cruising.
High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos (Days 8 – 13)
Exploring the Kara Sea and Severnaya Zemlya: Leave the Novaya Zemlya archipelago behind and cruise eastwards to the Kara Sea. Over the next few days, sail into the white wonderland known as the ‘ice cellar of the Arctic.’ Pass by ice floes and stop to explore small archipelagoes along the Siberian coast, as you retrace the footsteps of polar explorers in search of the Northeast Passage. Glide into the Great Arctic State Nature Reserve, Eurasia’s largest, for a closer look at the erstwhile polar station of Russky Island. Sail on to Troynoy Island, the largest of the Izvesti Tsik Islands, home to a weather station. Watch out for polar bears and ivory gulls that have their colony here. Cruise up to another active research station at Cape Chelyuskin, along the tip of the Taymyr Peninsula, at the northernmost point of the Russian and Eurasian mainland. Step ashore at Severnaya Zemlya for a walking tour of this glacial archipelago that was unexplored till the 1930s. Stop by some of the famous glaciers, including Vavilov Ice Cap and those at Marat Fjord. In favorable weather, you could cruise along the Red Army Strait for a glimpse of the Academy of Sciences Glacier and the Rusanov Glacier. Put your camera to good use and capture stunning images of the dramatic landscape for memories of a lifetime!
High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos (Day 14)
At Sea: Enjoy the various onboard activities as you cruise on to your next destination. Participate in dynamic presentations organized by your expedition team. Learn all about the ecology and history of the remote Russian archipelagos from your experienced guides. Choose an interesting read in the polar library and enhance your knowledge of the region. You could also relax on the deck, enjoying the scenic beauty of your surroundings as you glide on. Watch out for wildlife species that inhabit the area and keep your camera ready for some great shots.
High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos (Days 15 – 18)
Exploring Franz Josef Land: Discover the spectacular flora and fauna of the Arctic region as you sail past nearly 200 islands of Franz Josef Land. Eurasia’s northernmost archipelago, it is a nature reserve and part of the Russian Arctic National Park. Remote seabird colonies, walrus rookeries and historic sites await you here. Get a glimpse into the past at Cape Flora on Northbrook Island, a popular base for polar expeditions in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Stop by Bell Island, named for its bell-shaped mountain, home to a cabin built by a British explorer. At Cape Norway on Jackson Island, get a closer look the remnants of a stone hut with a memorial in honor of the two Norwegian explorers who wintered here in the late 19th century. Explore Tikhaya Bukta or Calm Bay, where you’ll find the remains of an abandoned weather station that is now seasonally used by national park rangers. Stop by the world’s northernmost post office. Try to spot endemic bird species that inhabit the cliffs on Hooker Island that sits along the bay. You might also get an opportunity to walk around Cape Tegetthoff on Hall Island to explore the remnants of yet another historic base. If you’re lucky, you might spot a polar bear and Atlantic walrus in their native habitat!
High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos (Days 19 – 20)
At Barents Sea: Spend the last few days of your thrilling adventure relaxing onboard. Spend time on the deck, keeping an eye out for various whale species that are commonly found in the region. Make use of helpful tips from the experienced expedition staff on where to look for the giant mammals and other species. Settle down to enjoy one of the fascinating presentations by knowledgeable expedition leaders. Feel free to ask questions and gain insights into the history and ecology of the region. Mingle with fellow guests as you relax in the lounge, swapping experiences and photos. Or, find a cozy nook to enjoy the solitude of the sea.
High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos (Day 21)
Disembarkation in Murmansk and flight to Helsinki: Bid adieu to the expedition team and crew before you step ashore at Murmansk port. Board your shared charter flight and buckle in for the journey to the Finnish capital city of Helsinki. As you fly in, get an aerial view of the city that is renowned across the world for its exquisite examples of architecture and design. Check in to your airport hotel for a good night’s rest.