Northeast Passage in Luxury
Northeast Passage in Luxury 26 Days aboard Silver Explorer
Join us for this unique crossing of the Northeast Passage, retracing the voyages of famous explorers like Nordenskiöld, Nansen, DeLong and Amundsen. Board the Silver Explorer on one of her most northward trips and visit islands that few people know. The dramatic scenery and resilient wildlife of the Russian High Arctic will surely impress you. In addition, there will be opportunities to spot walrus and polar bears in this toughest of landscapes. Encounter fascinating local cultures in Chukotka and visit Wrangel Island, home to polar bears and plentiful gatherings of walrus. Throughout the voyage, learn about the geology, wildlife and botany of this spectacular area from lecture presentations offered by your knowledgeable on board Expedition Team.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
- Alaska, Norway & The Russian High Arctic including Franz Josef Land!
- Spectacular scenery
- Magnificent icebergs
- Myriad birdlife
- Marine and land mammals including whales, seals & polar bears
- Historical associations
- Cultural presentations
- Full board accommodation on board ship, including all beverages
- Butler service in all suites
- Zodiac and shore excursions
- Highly qualified expedition team with experts in their field (marine biologists, ornithologists, historians and more)
- Programme of expert lectures
- Free wifi
- Complimentary expedition gear: backpack and water bottle on every voyage, Haglöfs parka for polar expeditions
ITINERARY25 Nights 26 Days
- Day 1 | Nome
- Day 2 | Provideniya
- Day 3 | Cape Dezhnev & Uelen Village
- Day 4 | Kolyuchin Island
- Days 5 - 7 | Exploring Wrangel Island
- Day 8 | At Sea
- Day 9 | Ayon Island, Russia
- Day 10 | Medvezhyi Islands
- Day 11 | At Sea
- Days 12 - 13 | Ostrov Bennetta & Ice Edge Cruising
- Day 14 | At Sea
- Days 15 - 16 | Akhmatov Gulf & Ostrov Isachenko
- Day 17 | Uyedineniya Island
- Day 18 | Cape Zhelaniya & Ostrov Oranskiye
- Days 19 - 21 | Franz Josef Land
- Days 22 - 23 | At Sea
- Day 24 | Murmansk
- Day 25 | Gjesverstappan Islands, Norway
- Day 26 | Tromsø
Embark Silver Explorer and set sail.
On Day 2 we will cross the date line meaning that technically we lose a day.
Provideniya is a former Soviet military port at the southern limit of the Arctic ice pack. With slightly less than 2000 inhabitants, many of whom are Yupik, it is the largest town and administrative center of the Providensky District. Started as a depot for the Northeast Passage traffic, it now is a port of entry to the Russian Far East and since the decline of the Soviet Union eco-tourism has boosted the local economy. The town has a Technical School and a fascinating museum with interesting and well-presented exhibits about the natural history and wildlife of the region. Additionally, displays highlight the housing styles and clothing of local Chukotka people from various villages in the area.
Cape Dezhnev & Uelen Village
Considered Russia’s easternmost settlement, the small coastal village of Uelen is just north of Cape Dezhnev. The historic cape was navigated by Seymon Dezhnev 130 years before Captain Cook, and has one of Russia’s most famous lighthouses, as well as a monument honoring Dezhnev. Known by the local Yupik as “Land’s End“, Uelen village has a population of around 700 inhabitants of Chukchi and Inuit, known as excellent bone carvers that work in walrus tusk, whalebone and reindeer.
Kolyuchin Island is a small island in the Chukchi Sea that is uninhabited and covered with tundra vegetation. The island is the site of a famous rescue operation after a Russian icebreaker was crushed by ice nearby. Located close to the Siberian shore this island has been used as the base for a now-abandoned meteorological station at its western end, while walrus hunters had a few huts on the eastern side. The island has steep, dramatic bird cliffs teeming with Pelagic Cormorants, Thick-billed Murres and kittiwakes.
Exploring Wrangel Island
Silver Explorer will explore the wilds of Wrangel Island over the course of approximately three days. This protected nature area and UNESCO World Heritage Site has a large number of polar bears and was the last known place the woolly mammoth roamed. Grey whales, bowhead whales and beluga whales are known to be in the Chukchi Sea and the island is an important breeding ground for walrus. At Cape Florence look for the two types of lemmings found on Wrangel, as well as Arctic foxes, Snowy Owls and the subtle but impressive tundra flora.
Areas we may explore include;
Krasin Bay: In Krasin Bay you will find the remains of ancient inhabitants of Wrangel Island, a 3,400 year old Paleo-Eskimo camp. In addition, nature trekking to look for land mammals, birds and the varied flora is recommended. Wildlife sightings may include walrus, musk oxen, and possibly even polar bears.
Cape Waring: Sail between blue and white ice floes, approaching a rocky cliff covered in seabirds and hugged by low-lying clouds. The ice floes are a favorite hang-out spot for walrus as well as seabirds such as Brunnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres), petite and hearty black-and-white water birds.
Ostrov Gerald: Ostrov Gerald is a small, isolated granitic island in the Chukchi Sea, less than 40 nautical miles to the east of Wrangel Island. It was named after a survey vessel, the HMS Herald, which visited the island in 1849 while searching for the vanished expedition of Sir John Franklin, and it’s English name is in fact, Herald Island. Steep cliffs ring the island in all but one slim area of accessible shoreline at the northwestern point of the island. Here the cliffs have eroded into piles of rock and one can find the only possible landing spot on this unglaciated, remote, and uninhabited island.
Cape Florens: Cape Florens is located on the less icy northeast edge of Wrangel Island. This bay offers access to tundra nature walks, where visitors will tread upon permafrost and be able to explore the diverse and beautiful vegetation, including shrubs, sedges, grasses, mosses and lichens.
Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and marine mammals; attend informative lectures or just read and relax in the luxurious settings of the Silver Explorer.
Ayon Island, Russia
Ayon Island is located off the coast of Chukotka at the eastern end of the Kolyma Gulf. Its size of 2,000 square kilometres permits the small local Chukchi population to herd reindeer. The local population welcomes the rare visitor with warmth and hospitality. The village of Ayon has a school with a museum that was put together by the children of the school. Displayed are mammoth tusks, stuffed birds and some Paleo Eskimo artifacts. The Russian polar station on Ayon Island is one of the few meteorological stations still in use and is staffed by 12.
The Medvezhyi Islands (Bear Islands) are an uninhabited group of islands at the western side of the Gulf of Kolyma. It is not the bears, but the flora and geology that make these six islands famous as described by Nordenskiöld in 1878. View the ubiquitous flowers, lichen, mosses and mushrooms on Chetyrokstolbovoy, where depending on conditions we may land to see the abandoned weather station and walk to the imposing rock spires. The height of up to 30 meters makes these geological features impressive and gave the island its name: Four-spires-island.
Spend some time out on deck keeping an eye out for seabirds and marine animals, or attend additional natural history presentations by the on-board experts.
Ostrov Bennetta & Ice Edge Cruising
Ostrov Bennetta in Russian, or Bennett Island as it is known in English, is the largest of the De Long group of islands located in the northern extents of the East Siberian Sea. Mount De Long dominates Bennett Island and is the highest point in the archipelago topping 426 meters (1,398 feet). The frosty white landscape of Bennett Island is the largest permanent ice cover within the De Long Islands. In recent years scientists have been able to map four separate glaciers forming the solid ice cap of this island.
On day 15 we will spend the day cruising the ice edge. While heading west, we will see the varying approaches that explorers like Nansen, Nordenskiöld and Amundsen took in these frigid waters. Our aim is to venture as far north as possible, where few have been, searching for seals, walrus, and polar bears on the ice. Imagine being surrounded on all sides by glistening sea ice on top of dark, frigid waters. The sound of the ship’s bow crunching through the crusty rime carries on the crisp air with a resounding echo. Perhaps in the distance the expedition team spots an inconsistency of color on the ice – a vaguely yellow patch against the bright white of the snow. Excitement on deck grows as the ship draws closer, and with baited breath it becomes obvious to all aboard that a polar bear is plodding along, jumping from floe to floe, in its eternal quest for the next meal.
While we're at sea, enjoy wine tastings, designer boutiques, language and dance classes. Take in a matinee movie, check the market or your e-mail in the Internet Point, slip away with a novel from the library or simply enjoy the views from deck.
Akhmatov Gulf & Ostrov Isachenko
Akhmatov Gulf is also known as Akhmatov Bay and Akhmatov Fjord. It is a deep, glacially carved arm that runs almost mid-way through the mass of Bolshevik Island, the southernmost island of Severnaya Zemlya in far northern Russia. The fjord has a wide mouth (approx. 9 nautical miles across) on the island’s northeastern side and is clogged by ice much of the year. Steep, ice-polished mountain slopes drop into the water on either side of the broad channel.
Isachenko is an island of the Kirov group in the Kara Sea north of Russia. A level beach, under the right conditions, can provide a landing site for access to this remote island. Ashore, it is possible to see a deserted station, the operation of which was likely discontinued in 1993. Evidence of the station’s abandonment is everywhere with scattered pieces of equipment and a host of other materials left behind by the station crew in the now slowly decaying huts.
Uyedineniya Island, Lonely Island or Solitude Island, as it is also known, is located in the Kara Sea between Novaya Zemlya and Severnaya Zemlya. The small, relatively flat island’s tundra, when free of ice and snow, grows green vegetation in the summer. In addition to tundra, there are bogs and small lakes on the island. A long spit of land dominates its northeastern side and ice floes are commonly found in the waters here, even in the summer.
Cape Zhelaniya & Ostrov Oranskiye
The Russian word, Zhelaniya means 'wish,' and leads one to wonder why such a poetic name was ascribed to this remote headland on the northern end of Severny Island, part of Novaya Zemlya in the Russian Federation. The cape is an important geographical landmark although quite a desolate and exposed location, especially in the bitter Arctic winters. It is the physical point of reference that marks the boundary between the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea.
Located a few nautical miles north of Cape Zhelaniya at the northern tip of the massive island of Novaya Zemlya lies tiny Ostrov Oranskiye; one of a small group known as the Orange Islands. Willem Barentz, a Dutch navigator sailed this region in the late 1500s on the small ship Mercury. The Mercury was one of three ships attempting to enter the Kara Sea in order to find the Northeast Passage above Siberia. It is reported that the Mercury’s crew discovered a massive herd of walrus on the Orange Islands and proceeded to attack them with hatchets and pikes to harvest their fabulous ivory tusks.
Franz Josef Land
Over 190 islands complete the Franz Josef Land group, covering an area of more than 16,000 square kilometers. In the Franz Josef Land archipelago, an estimated 85% of the islands are glaciated. The archipelago was first spotted by Norwegian sealers in 1865. The climate is severe most of the year with the average summer temperature around 35° F (2° C). Sparsely vegetated by lichens, mosses, and a few species of Arctic flowering plants, the islands can be home to mammals including polar bears and the Arctic fox, with the potential for viewing numerous seabird species nesting.
During our time here we can expect to visit some of the following areas:
Hall Island: Hall Island is one of many islands in the archipelago that is almost totally covered by glaciers. Its highest point is over 500 meters, and is located on top of an ice dome. Cape Tegetthoff is a headland on the south end of Hall Island, one of the largest islands in the Franz Josef Land group. Hall Island was named after American Arctic explorer Charles Francis Hall. The island is easily recognized by the massive cliffs and spires that protrude from the surrounding sea. Remains of the rustic campsite of Wellman’s 1898-1899 expedition can still be seen.
Hooker Island: Tikhava Bay and the enormous Rubini Rock, with its basalt formations, are Hooker Island’s iconic features. The many crevices in the massive cliff provide shelter for large colonies of seabirds including kittiwakes, guillemots and skuas. Weather permitting, we will make a Zodiac landing to visit the abandoned Sedova Station on shore, the first polar station of Franz Josef Land.
Champ Island: Visit Champ Island to see where Arctic Skuas, Little Auks, Black-legged Kittiwakes and Black Guillemots nest. The spot is also known for stone spheres that reach up to 2 meters in diameter.
Bell Island: Bell Island is located in the western portion of the island chain and is home to the historic hut of explorer Benjamin Leigh Smith, dating back to 1881.
Cruising towards Murmansk keep an eye out on deck for sea birds and marine animals. Enjoy the sumptuous settings and amenities of your luxury vessel.
The ice-free port of Murmansk has an interesting history. Russia’s icebreaker fleet is stationed here, and the nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin, the first civilian nuclear-powered ship is a major point of interest. The northerly city is home to the Palace of Culture, the memorial lighthouse of the doomed submarine Kursk, as well as Lenin Prospect and the museum of the Murmansk Shipping Company.
Gjesverstappan Islands, Norway
Almost a hundred islands make up the Gjesverstappan Nature Reserve, one of Europe’s largest and most accessible nesting areas for Atlantic seabirds. The islands have one of the most significant Atlantic Puffin colonies in North Norway. With our Zodiacs we hope to look for Atlantic Puffins and the other species such as Northern Gannets, White-tailed Eagles, Common Eider Ducks, and Great Cormorants that total almost two million nesting birds.
Arrive in Tromsø and disembark Silver Explorer in the morning.
You may wish to spend a further day here to experience this unique city. Tromsø surprised visitors in the 1800s: they thought it very sophisticated and cultured for being so close to the North Pole—hence its nickname, the Paris of the North. It looks the way a polar town should—with ice-capped mountain ridges and jagged architecture that is an echo of the peaks.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
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