Chukotka – Where Russia’s Day Begins aboard Heritage Adventurer

Chukotka – Where Russia’s Day Begins aboard Heritage Adventurer

From USD $10,250


From rambling Polar Bears to pods of feeding whales, massive walrus populations, towering bird cliffs and sweeping tundra landscapes, Chukotka’s coastline and Wrangel Island are a treasure trove of biodiversity. Also rich in history and culture, Chukotka is one of 83 regions which make up the Russian Federation and 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, while its non-native inhabitants are predominately Russian.

During this voyage we plan to fuse this history and culture with unforgettable Polar Bear and marine mammal encounters as we explore the pack ice from our ship and fleet of Zodiacs. This is a rare opportunity to experience, in depth, one of the last great undiscovered wilderness areas in the world which spends up to 10 months a year protected by ice.

North of Chukotka, where the Chukchi Sea meets the Arctic Ocean, is nature reserve and World Heritage site Wrangel Island, which has outstanding wildlife values. Sometimes referred to as ‘The World’s Polar Bear Maternity Ward’, because of the high density of denning Polar Bears, it is an island that never disappoints those keen on natural and Arctic history. As the ice retreats each summer (further and faster than ever before) Polar Bears come ashore and we see good numbers of these, likewise walrus find refuge here each summer normally in large numbers. Birds like Snow Geese and Snowy Owls also breed here in good numbers. And of course, Wrangel Island is central to the story of the wreck of the Karluk and other Arctic exploration stories.

The ‘mammoth steppe’ vegetation complex, a rich and diverse relic from the Pleistocene epoch nurtures over 400 plant species and never fails to astound visitors with its sublime beauty. The number and type of endemic plant species, the diversity within plant communities, the presence of relatively recent mammoth tusks and skulls, a range of terrain types and geological formations in the small geographical space are all visible evidence of Wrangel’s rich natural history and its unique evolutionary status within the Arctic.

On this special Chukotka expedition we will meet the locals, hear their stories and discover the region’s rich Arctic history. We may also have the opportunity to experience thrilling cultural exchanges at their spirited annual Beringia Regatta and Festival.

We will spend our time looking for, and observing, Chukotka and Wrangel Island’s abundant wildlife – specifically Polar Bears, walrus, seals, whales and birds. On land we will explore the 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 during this authentic, high Arctic expedition adventure.

Trip Name
Chukotka - Where Russia's Day Begins aboard Heritage Adventurer
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 124 metres Passenger Capacity: 140 Built: 1991 Heritage Adventurer is a true pioneering expedition vessel of exceptional pedigree. Often referred to as the ‘Grande Dame of Polar Exploration’ due to her celebrated history and refined design, she was purpose-built for adventure in 1991 at Finland’s Rauma shipyard and specifically designed for Polar exploration.Setting a peerless standard in authentic expedition travel, Heritage Adventurer (formerly known as MS Hanseatic) combines the highest passenger ship ice-class rating (1A Super) with an impressive history of Polar exploration. Having held records for the most northern and southern Arctic and Antarctic navigations, and for traversing both the Northwest and Northeast Passages, makes Heritage Adventurer perfect for pioneering New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions signature experiential expedition travel.Originally designed to accommodate 184 guests, Heritage Adventurer now welcomes just 140 expeditioners ensuring spacious, stylish and comfortable voyages, while a fleet of 14 Zodiacs ensures all guests are able to maximise their expedition adventure. Heritage Adventurer proudly continues our traditions of exceptional, personalised expedition experiences as Heritage Expeditions flagship. Observation Lounge – One of the most celebrated and best-known features of Heritage Adventurer is the awe-inducing Observation Lounge, Library and Bar. Located on Deck 7 and perched directly above the Bridge, enjoy sweeping 270-degree views through floor to ceiling windows, perfect for wildlife spotting and quick access to the outer deck. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife, observe the ever-changing landscape, write in your journal or relax with a book. Observation Deck – Enjoy 360-degree views from the highest point on the ship. The Observation Deck sits above the Observation Lounge and provides exceptional outside viewing options. Stretching the full width of the vessel, this is the perfect spot to take in the surrounding land and seascapes. Perfect on a sunny day, recline in the comfortable sun loungers protected from the wind and elements and watch your voyage unfold.  The Bridge – No expedition is complete without visiting Heritage Adventurer’s busy nerve centre. Located on Deck 6, Heritage Expeditions’ Open Bridge Policy means you are welcome to observe the Captain and crew at work while enjoying some of the ship’s best views. It’s a fascinating place to learn about navigation and vessel operations, however please note the Bridge will be closed when departing or arriving at port. Dining Room  – Indulge in fine international cuisine from our talented chefs in the lavish surrounds of our Dining Room on Deck 4. Sensational 270-degree views provide a stunning backdrop to meals here along with an international wine list featuring many outstanding regional wines. With relaxed seating arrangements, all guests can enjoy dining in a single sitting from hearty breakfasts setting you up for the day’s adventure to sumptuous lunches and multi-course evening dining. Bistro  – Simple fast and delicious meals and snacks are on offer in our relaxed Bistro on Deck 6. Perfect for early risers to enjoy tea, coffee and light breakfast options the Bistro provides great views and opens directly onto a covered and heated teak-deck outdoor dining area. The Bar and Lounge  – The social hub of  Heritage Adventurer, the Bar and Lounge on Deck 5 features seating for all guests. Enjoy a beverage at the bar, sink into an armchair, relax on one of the many spacious loungers and watch the world go by through the panoramic windows or make new friends at the communal seating. This multi-tasking space also doubles as the location of daily briefings and evening recaps with the expedition team. The Gym – Featuring spectacular ocean views, the well-equipped gym is adjacent to the pool, hot tub and sauna in Deck 7’s wellbeing zone. Maintain your routine with an elliptical cross trainer, treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bikes, TRX as well as free weights, yoga mats and fitness balls. Towels are provided with change room and shower amenities nearby. Sauna and Steam Room – True to her Nordic origins, Heritage Adventurer features a dry-heat Finnish sauna and European steam room on Deck 7. Perfect for warming up post Polar plunge or unwinding after a day’s adventures, the sauna and steam room include change room facilities, showers and towels. Swimming Pool and Hot Tub – Surrounded by relaxed teak seating including sun loungers, the open-air saltwater pool can be heated or chilled. Encased in glass the hot tub ensures all-weather use, perfect for those who like to relax with a view following a day of exploring. Lectures and Presentations – Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures on history, biology, wildlife, and ecology in the comfort of the Presentation Theatre. With state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, our world-renowned expedition team will bring your adventure to life through interactive presentations and discussions.


Day 1 - Day 1: Nome, Alaska, USA
Our expedition begins and endsin Nome, Alaska’s most famousgold rush town. Make your wayto the designated meeting pointfor your transfer toHeritageAdventurer(times and meetingpoint will be confirmed with yourvoyage documents) where thecaptain and expedition teamwill be waiting to welcome youaboard.You will have the opportunity tosettle into your accommodationand familiarise yourself onboard before joining your fellowexpeditioners on deck as weset sail across the Bering Straitand International Date Line forProvideniya, Russia.
Day 2 - Day 2: Provideniya, Russia
After clearing Russian Customsand Immigration there maybe an opportunity to explorethis fascinating former Sovietmilitary port and administrativecentre followed by an afternoonexpedition.
Day 3 - Day 3: Presbrazhenya Bay
We aim to be cruising alongthe south coast of Chukotkatoday and plan to stop atPresbrazhenya Bay. This is anexcellent opportunity to Zodiaccruise some spectacular birdcliffs, as long as sea conditionspermit we will get in close for some great photographicopportunities. We also plan tospend some time exploring therich tundra landscape for wildlifeand interesting flora.
Day 4 - Day 4: Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
Our first landing of the day weexpect to be at one of themost significant and intriguingarchaeological sites in the Arctic– Yttygran Island’s Whale BoneAlley. This ancient Inuit site isdecorated with Bowhead Whaleskulls and bones dating back tothe 14thCentury, but was onlydiscovered in 1976. Thought tobe either a ceremonial site orhunting camp, a UNESCO WorldHeritage Site application hasbeen submitted highlighting itscultural importance.This afternoon we intend tomake a landing at the Gil’mimylHot Springs. They are a short walkfrom the coastline, but well worththe effort. There will be a chanceto explore the tundra for birds,plants and animals as we walkto and fro. After a soak in thesprings we will re-join the ship fora relaxing evening.
Day 5 - Day 5: Lavrentiya and Cape Dezhnev
Dropping anchor in beautifulLavrentiya Bay, we expect to spend the morning exploringthe historically and culturallyrich village of Lavrentiya. Aformer indigenous settlement,this Soviet-planned communitywas established in the 1920s asan administrative centre wherelocal Chukchi and Siberian Yupikwere encouraged to move to.Visit the museum, meet localelders and enjoy an authentictaste and slice of village life inthe main square.This afternoon we will be at CapeDezhnev, the north-eastern mostpoint of the Eurasian continent.This cape commemorates theaccomplishment of the CossackSemyon Dezhnev who was thefirst European to sail through thestrait in 1648 (80 years beforeBering did). On the cape is alighthouse, a monument andthe remains of a Border Guardbase. If the weather and seaconditions are suitable weplan to land here and give youthe opportunity to explore thearea. A short distance southof the cape is the former Inuitsettlement of Naukan. It is stillpossible to sense the melancholyin the air because the peoplenever wanted to leave. As therelocation was fairly recent, thereis a wealth of historic data andphotographs that make a visit tothis site even more poignant.
Day 6 - Day 6: Kolyuchin Island and Kolyuchin Inlet
Today is an expedition daywhere we plan to visit KolyuchinIsland and Inlet. Once thelocation of an important RussianPolar Research Station, thissmall island has since beenabandoned following thecollapse of the USSR. Whilethe buildings are now derelict,the abundant wildlife the menstudied is still there. Near the oldstation at the north-western endof the island are some of themost amazing bird cliffs in theArctic, where puffins, guillemots gulls and cormorants can beobserved and photographed justmetres away. A prominent walrushaul out often congregates atthe south-eastern end and, ifthe animals are present, youcan expect some excellentphotographic opportunities fromthe Zodiacs.We also plan to visit Belaka Spitnear the mouth of the KolyuchinInlet. So huge that it is visiblefrom satellite photos, it containsvast numbers of waterfowl andmigratory waders. This wild anddesolate landscape is also a strangely beautiful birdinghotspot. Joined by BeringiaNational Park rangers, we planto search the dunes and tidalareas for Emperor Geese. If weare lucky, the Gray Whales whichfrequent the area will be feedingjust metres offshore.
Day 7 - Day 7: At Sea
Take the opportunity to spendtime up in the bridge or out ondeck looking for the first PolarBears of our voyage with ourexpert expedition team aswe cruise along the sea ice,or download photos as wenavigate towards Wrangel Island.
Day 8 - Days 8 to 10: Wrangel Island
Ice and weather conditionspermitting, we plan to spend thistime exploring Wrangel Island.Known as the world’s Polar Beardenning capital due to the largenumbers of cubs born here, PolarBears will be high on our list and,with a little patience, we shouldbe rewarded with a number ofencounters and opportunities tophotograph them. The island is also the last landfall for migratoryspecies flying north and eachsummer thousands of birdsmigrate here to breed includingSnow Geese, Snowy Owls, skuasand Arctic Terns. Other animalswe will be looking for includeMusk Oxen, Ringed and BeardedSeals, Arctic Fox and lemming.
Day 9 - Day 11: At Sea
We will be steaming south fromWrangel Island and, again,sea and ice conditions willdictate our course and speed.We suggest expeditioners willbe richly rewarded by beingon deck, because if we are inice there could be Polar Bears,walrus, and Ringed and BeardedSeals to be seen. As we makeour way closer to the Chukotkacoast we will keep an eye outfor Humpback and Gray Whales,which are frequently seen.Increasingly we are also seeinga number of Bowhead Whalesin this area. We will also use thistime for lectures and recaps.
Day 10 - Day 12: Bukhta Pultin and Unnamed Bay
This morning we plan to enjoya Zodiac safari of Bukhta Pultin.Beyond its narrow entrance thissheltered and rarely-visited bayopens revealing a new world.Explore the coastline, fields of wildflowers, look for wildlife orhike up the ridgeline and take inthe impressive helicopter view.Nearby, picturesque UnnamedBay is our planned destinationfor this afternoon where wewill Zodiac cruise to shore.Welcomed by an expansivestretch of beach, backed bya lagoon and surrounded byrugged hills, there’s much todiscover. Enjoy a walk alongthe beach and tundra lookingfor wildlife, or scale one of thenearby peaks and take in thestunning vistas.
Day 11 - Day 13: Bukhta Penkingney and Arakamchechen Island
This morning we will be launchingour Zodiacs with a landingplanned at Bukhta Penkingney a long fiord cut into the coastlineby glaciers and a popular spotfor whale watching. Here asmall braided river, its gravelbed studded with Willow bushes,winds its way down to thesea where we land. Exploringthis scenic location we willbe looking for Arctic GroundSquirrels and Pikas, WillowPtarmigan, Sandhill Cranes andbrown bears attracted by theberries and salmon-filled river.This afternoon we plan to cruiseover to Arakamchechen Islandjust north of Cape Chaplino andseparated from the Chukotkamainland by the 8-kilometrewide Senyavina Strait. Havingwatched Gray Whales feedinghere previously, we recommendbeing out on deck as we slowlycruise through the strait. OnArakamchechen Island we willexplore the lush tundra.
Day 12 - Day 14: Provideniya
After clearing Russian Customsand Immigration in Provideniyawe will set sail for Nome acrossthe Bering Strait. One of theworld’s most nutrient-richstretches of water, each springthe Bering Strait is the scene ofone of the planet’s largest wildlifemigrations. Beluga, BowheadBeringia National Park© A Teraudsand Gray Whales, walrus, Ringed Seals and numerous seabirds areall known to frequent the strait sothere is plenty of opportunity forwildlife encounters.Join the expedition team fora recap and disembarkationbriefing before enjoying afarewell dinner to celebrate ourjourney as we sail back acrossthe International Date Line.
Day 13 - Day 15: Nome, Alaska, USA
After breakfast and clearingUS Immigration and Customsformalities it will be time tosay our farewells. There will be a complimentary transfer totake you to the airport or adesignated central location.
Day 14 - Please Note:
During our voyage,circumstances may make itnecessary or desirable to deviatefrom the proposed itinerary.This can include poor weatherand/or opportunities for makingunplanned excursions. YourExpedition Leader will keep youfully informed.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
10-07-202224-07-2022USD $10,250MAIN DECK TRIPLE CABINS
10-07-202224-07-2022USD $10,775SUPERIOR TRIPLE CABINS
10-07-202224-07-2022USD $12,450SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 4
10-07-202224-07-2022USD $13,075SUPERIOR CABIN DECK 5
10-07-202224-07-2022USD $15,040MAIN DECK SINGLE CABINS
10-07-202224-07-2022USD $15,950SUPERIOR SINGLE CABINS
10-07-202224-07-2022USD $16,450WORSLEY SUITES
10-07-202224-07-2022USD $23,395HERITAGE SUITES


    • Visit Provideniya & Presbrazhenya Ba
    • Explore Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
    • Enjoy Lavrentiya and Cape Dezhnev
    • Travel to Kolyuchin Island and Kolyuchin Inle
    • Discover Wrangel Island