Overview

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.

A Rockjumper leader will not accompany the expedition unless a minimum of 10 participants are signed up through Rockjumper. In the case that a Rockjumper leader is not on board, the professional expedition staff will take care of all participants signed up through Rockjumper.

These prices are subject to foreign exchange fluctuations.

Tour Facts Top Birds
King & Steller's Eider; Harlequin & Long-tailed Ducks; Pacific & Yellow-billed Loons; Short-tailed Shearwater; Fork-tailed Storm Petrel; Pelagic Cormorant; Sandhill Crane; Grey & Red-necked Phalaropes; Glaucous, Slaty-backed, Sabine's & Vega Gulls; Common & Thick-billed Murre's; Black & Pigeon Guillemots; Tufted & Horned Puffins; Kittlitz’s Murrelet; Crested, Least & Parakeet Auklets; Bluethroat; Lapland Longspur; Snow Bunting.
Top Mammals
Polar Bear; Walrus; Grey, Common Minke, Bowhead, Beluga & Humpback Whales; Musk Ox; Brown Bear; Spotted, Ringed & Bearded Seals; Arctic Fox; Arctic Ground Squirrel; Northern Pika; Reindeer.
Habitats Covered
tundra, pack ice, pelagic, cliff faces
Expected Climate
mostly cool to cold
Max Group Size
depending on ship capacity with well experienced expedition leaders
Tour Pace & Walking
easy with some undemanding walks
Accommodation
comfortable ship cabins
Ease of Birding
generally undemanding
Other Attractions
spectacular scenery, traditional Chukchi and Inuit villages and art, whale bone carvings, beautiful wildflowers, abandoned research stations
Photographic Opportunities
excellent
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

Adam Walleyn did a fantastic job organising the rest of the tour when Erik had to leave due to illness. I really appreciated his hard work and determination; for example: even though he had never been to Samoa before, his logistical work enabled us to get great views of some very difficult and unexpected species (Samoan Triller, Blue-grey Noddy).

A

A massive thanks has to go to André, the ranger, he was exceptional. His knowledge of wildlife was incredible. We were able to learn so much about the animals, plants and he is the 'bird' guru!! We cant thank him enough for his time, going out of his way to show us everything possible, we saw everything.

P

André, who escorted us on four drives, is a superb tracker with great knowledge of the reserve and its denizens. He is also an expert on the birdlife of southern Africa and was able to bring the bush to life for us with knowledge of all that we saw.

K

Andre, our guide, has such an infectious nature, which had a huge positive effect on our stay. His incredible knowledge of birds was indeed humbling. A birder's paradise and a guide passionate about birds and nature - what more could one ask for?

Dennis's knowledge & ability to imitate bird calls is phenomenal. He is also an interesting person to travel with. I enjoyed Eric's humour and felt he handled the group well.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2022 DEPARTURES
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