Where Russia's Day Begins: Chukotka & Wrangel Island

“Carved into the bones of my memory”

“Congratulations and well done, Heritage Expeditions, not only for an incredible trip, but also for creating an outstanding company with integrity and genuine passion for sharing the marvels of the natural world with your travelers. Chukotka aboard the Spirit of Enderby was undoubtedly one of the most inspiring and eye-opening trips I've taken. I had never visited Russia previously, and to start with the region furthest from Moscow with a dynamic team of passionate and highly experienced hosts was a tremendous privilege. I was extremely impressed with how the voyage was executed overall, especially for a new itinerary. Some of the landings were first-time visits, so staff and passengers alike explored through a similar lens—adding further to the expeditionary excitement. Yet, it was evident that each shore visit had been carefully researched and planned. Both on and off the ship, the tone was casual, fun and still every bit professional to ensure we felt safe and comfortable within the isolated and unpredictable environment that is northeastern Siberia. Not only did this trip establish several “firsts” for me, but it also brought to light new perspectives. For the first time, I walked on Russian soil, crossed the Arctic Circle, admired migratory birds numbering in the thousands, tasted whale meat, watched whaleboat races, saw pods of walrus and even a spouting bow whale! But, I also developed a greater appreciation for both bird-watching and birding (bird-watchers look at birds; birders look for them). I gained a better understanding of the challenges and enormous efforts behind wildlife conservation projects; and I realized the complex circumstances indigenous populations here face, framed in the context of geography, history, culture, and present-day Russian economies. And, while I expected beautiful tundra scenery, I had not imagined feeling simultaneously such a prevailing sense of awe and peace… To tread over pristine lichen and moss like grazing reindeer and suddenly feel engulfed by a deafening, magical silence amid vast, sweeping tundra is an experience carved into the bones of my memory. Chukotka is multi-dimensional. It’s wildlife, wilderness, and people weave a colorful tapestry, and this two-week expedition beautifully introduced its many layers. We all came away from this trip feeling inspired by the natural world and awakened to a foreign way of life in a remarkably remote corner of the world. Thank you for this poignant experience! ”


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