THE NORTHERN SEA ROUTE
A SPECIAL 28 DAY EXPEDITION ALONG THE NORTHEAST PASSAGE
Russia controls one of the greatest seaways in the world. Within Russia it is known as the Northern Sea Route, while the rest of the world calls it the Northeast Passage. Only a handful of expedition vessels have ever transited this seaway, but recent changes in the summer sea ice conditions mean this historic and fascinating sea route is now accessible to a few suitably constructed expedition vessels.
The indigenous peoples of the north coast of Siberia were undoubtedly familiar with sections of this seaway but it wasn't until 1878-1880 that Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiold completed the first ever transit. Earlier attempts to find a route in the 16th century had been thwarted by either ice or politics or both. The Russian empire had been expanding eastwards and in an attempt to control and tax the burgeoning fur trade, all foreign shipping was banned from 1616 until 1753. Commercial interest in the route was revived in the late 19th century when several trading vessels reached as far as the Ob and Yenisey Rivers and initiated trade with the interior as it proved much easier to ship timber, fur, gold and grain down these rivers than carry them overland to markets in the west.
In 1914-15 the Imperial Russian Navy icebreakers Taymyr and Vaygach made the second transit of the Northern Sea Route in an attempt to render the seaway navigable for strategic purposes. In 1932 the Soviet Union formed the Northern Sea Route Administration. It was headed up by Otto Schmidt who established a number of Polar research and weather stations along the Siberian coast and on the many islands along the way. Personnel at these stations were responsible for reporting weather and ice conditions as well as carrying out invaluable research into the regions unique birds, plants and animals.
At the height of the Soviet administration, large convoys of ships assisted by powerful icebreakers plied this route carrying much needed supplies to Eastern Russia.
The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s spelled the end of this operation and the number of vessels using the Northern Sea Route dwindled, but there has been renewed commercial interest from international shipping companies in this route which connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans due to the huge savings in both time and fuel that it potentially offers.
Our vessel Akademik Shokalskiy is no stranger to this route having participated in a Soviet convoy in the late 1980s and more recently completed the journey unassisted. We invite you to join us on an historic journey which explores the history and development of the route and the many islands along the way.
Pre/Post cruise transfers, all on board ship accommodation with meals and all expedition shore excursions.
All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.
Private charter flight from Nome to Anadyr $1300 USD
Nome to Murmansk
SHO #1730 30th July - 27th August 2017
Anadyr to Murmansk
SHO #1730 31st July - 27th August 2017
The Shokalskiy is the sister ship to the Spirit of Enderby, they were both built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and being fully ice strengthened they are perfect for Expedition Travel.
She carries just 48 passengers and has been recently refurbished to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.
On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.
The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.
" A big Thank You to Rodney and staff and crew for a fantastic trip to Wrangel and North Eastern Siberia. Amazing wildlife and fascinating culture in an area that get very few visitors. Everything was run very professionally by Rodney and his staff and crew. Already looking forward to my next trip with Heritage... "
" Many thanks to crew and staff for a wonderful trip. "