The Best of Chukotka:

Discover Chukotka's Rich History and Cultural Traditions

The Best of Chukotka: Discover Chukotka's Rich History and Cultural Traditions

DAYS 8 / SHIP Spirit of Enderby

DEPARTURES 12 Jul 2021

PLACES VISITED Chukotka

PRICES FROM $4,400 USD (More Rates)

The vast majority of people in the world won't even know where it is, let alone know much about it. It is one of 83 regions which make up the Russian Federation, and is officially known as the Chukotka Autonomous Region. It 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.

The non-native inhabitants are predominately Russian. The Chukotka region was the last part of Siberia to be ‘conquered' or ‘subdued' by the Cossack invaders from the west. The Chukchi people resisted fiercely, only succumbing in the late 19th Century.

The Soviet regime initially treated these indigenous people well, but the collectivisation and denomadisation policies of the 1930s and ‘40s cut to the very heart of the nomadic lifestyle, which they had practiced for centuries, and found it difficult to adjust. Because of its strategic position, being so close to the USA, the region was very heavily militarised during the Cold War. At one stage military personnel even outnumbered native people. The collapse of the Communist regime in the early 1990s spelt disaster for the people, as they had become dependent upon the state. When the state had nothing to give, the people received nothing.

The election of Roman Abramovich as Governor of Chukotka in December 2000 changed the course of its history. His vision, generosity and leadership gave the people hope, and today Chukotka is taking its rightful place in the Russian Federation. It is rich in natural resources and wildlife is abundant, but like all Arctic fauna, it is under pressure because of the changing climate.

On this special Chukotka expedition we will meet the locals; we will have an opportunity to see and hear their stories and experience of their love for and strong connection with the land and the sea.

We will explore the vast 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. We will explore the area's rich Arctic history and at sea we will be look for whales.

The vast majority of people in the world won't even know where it is, let alone know much about it. It is one of 83 regions which make up the Russian Federation, and is officially known as the Chukotka Autonomous Region. It 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.

The non-native inhabitants are predominately Russian. The Chukotka region was the last part of Siberia to be ‘conquered' or ‘subdued' by the Cossack invaders from the west. The Chukchi people resisted fiercely, only succumbing in the late 19th Century.

The Soviet regime initially treated these indigenous people well, but the collectivisation and denomadisation policies of the 1930s and ‘40s cut to the very heart of the nomadic lifestyle, which they had practiced for centuries, and found it difficult to adjust. Because of its strategic position, being so close to the USA, the region was very heavily militarised during the Cold War. At one stage military personnel even outnumbered native people. The collapse of the Communist regime in the early 1990s spelt disaster for the people, as they had become dependent upon the state. When the state had nothing to give, the people received nothing.

The election of Roman Abramovich as Governor of Chukotka in December 2000 changed the course of its history. His vision, generosity and leadership gave the people hope, and today Chukotka is taking its rightful place in the Russian Federation. It is rich in natural resources and wildlife is abundant, but like all Arctic fauna, it is under pressure because of the changing climate.

On this special Chukotka expedition we will meet the locals; we will have an opportunity to see and hear their stories and experience of their love for and strong connection with the land and the sea.

We will explore the vast 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. We will explore the area's rich Arctic history and at sea we will be look for whales.

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The Best of Chukotka: Discover Chukotka's Rich History and Cultural Traditions
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Day 1: Anadyr
Arrive in Anadyr, the administrative capital of Chukotka. It is situated at the mouth of the Anadyr River near where the river enters the Anadyr estuary. The town was established in 1889 as a frontier post when it was called Novo-Mariinsk. The name was changed to Anadyr in 1920 when the Bolsheviks took control of the town. It has grown in importance over the years and today is a modern town with a population of about 11,000 people. You will be transferred to the ship during the afternoon. Once on board you will be shown to your cabins. There will be a chance to meet fellow expeditioners and for those who have not been aboard before, some time to explore the vessel. We will sail in the late afternoon for Presbrazhenya Bay. There will be mandatory safety briefings and introductions to ship and staff after we sail.

Day 2: Presbrazhenya Bay
We aim to be cruising along the south coast of Chukotka today and plan to stop at Presbrazhenya Bay. This is an excellent opportunity to Zodiac cruise some spectacular bird cliffs, as long as sea conditions permit we will get in close for some great photographic opportunities. There will also be a chance to land at a hunting camp (and boat haul-out area) at the nearby village of Nunligren.

Day 3: Yttygran, Gil’mimyl Hot Springs and Bukhta Penkingney
Our first landing of the day we expect to be at one of the most significant and intriguing archaeological sites in the Arctic on Yttygran Island. This place is known affectionately as ‘Whale Bone Alley’ due to the large number of whale bones spread along the beach in the form of a pathway. The site dates to the 14th Century and its origins and purpose have been the cause of much debate. It was almost certainly a ceremonial site as well as being used for meat storage. What is puzzling is the lack of any substantial settlement in the vicinity, which suggests that it was possibly a communal site situated here because of the abundance of whales nearby. We also intend to make a landing at the Gil’mimyl Hot Springs. They are a short walk from the coastline, but well worth the effort. There will be a chance to explore the tundra for birds, plants and animals as we walk to and fro. At Bukhta Penkingney, a long fjord cut into the coastline by glaciers and a popular spot for whale watching, we will explore a small braided river, its gravel bed studded with Willow bushes, winding its way down to the sea where we land. Here we will be looking for Arctic Ground Squirrels and Pikas, Willow Ptarmigan, Sandhill Cranes and brown bears attracted by the berries and salmon-filled river.

Day 4: Cape Dezhnev and Uelen
Early this morning we will be at Cape Dezhnev, the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. This cape commemorates the accomplishment of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev who was the first European to sail through the strait in 1648 (80 years before Bering did). On the cape is a lighthouse, a monument and the remains of a Border Guard base. If the weather and sea conditions are suitable we plan to land here and give you the opportunity to explore the area. A short distance south of the cape is the former Inuit settlement of Naukan. The Soviet government relocated these people to other Chukotka settlements in the 1950s as it was thought they posed a security risk, supposedly because of the close proximity of Alaska. It is still possible to sense the melancholy in the air because the people never wanted to leave. As the relocation was fairly recent, there is a wealth of historic data and photographs that make a visit to this site even more poignant. We also plan to land on the rocky shores of Uelen village, the most northeastern town on the continent. In this isolated village a visit to the renowned bone-carving workshop and its impressive collection of intricately carved tusks, ornaments, jewellery is a must. Also of interest is the small museum housed in the regional boarding school, which illustrates the history, lifestyle and marine hunting traditions of the area. Later in the glow of the evening sun, thousands of seabirds can often be seen circling and feeding in the surf.

Day 5: Lavrentiya and Unnamed Bays
Dropping anchor in beautiful Lavrentiya Bay, we expect to spend the morning exploring the historically and culturally rich village of Lavrentiya. A former indigenous settlement, this Soviet-planned community was established in the 1920s as an administrative centre where local Chukchi and Siberian Yupik were encouraged to move to. Visit the museum, meet local elders and enjoy an authentic taste and slice of village life in the main square. Nearby picturesque Unnamed Bay is our planned destination for the afternoon where we will Zodiac cruise to shore. Welcomed by an expansive stretch of beach, backed by a lagoon and surrounded by rugged hills, there’s much to discover. Enjoy a walk along the beach and tundra looking for Arctic Squirrel, or scale one of the nearby peaks and take in the stunning vistas.

Day 6: Provideniya and Novoye Chaplino
Relatively unknown, Provideniya is a former Soviet military port and picturesque fiord sheltered from the Bering Sea. Provideniya combines a rich Russian history with a dramatic landscape nestled among rugged mountain peaks and a wild and pristine wilderness. Once a booming port city, Provideniya sits across the Bering Strait from Alaska and is considered the gateway to the Chukotka Peninsula and an excellent place to explore on land and in Zodiacs. Rugged mountains rise out the tundra at Novoye Chaplino village, the result of the merging of several nearby coastal villages. We plan to anchor in the bay here, explore and meet the friendly villagers at this remote outpost and experience their little-known culture. Populated mainly by Yupik, whaling remains the main source of employment in an area rich in tradition.

Day 7: At Sea
As we navigate towards Anadyr, take the opportunity to spend time up in the bridge or out on deck looking for the whales, catch up on notes, download photos, and hang out in the library as we navigate towards Anadyr. We will also use this time for lectures and recaps.

Day 8: Anadyr
We will wake this morning as we enter the Port of Anadyr. After breakfast passengers will be taken ashore either to the airport to catch a flight out today or to the town if staying on a few extra days. Note: During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and/or opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.

Our ship: Spirit of Enderby

The Spirit of Enderby (Professor Khromov) is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel. She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in May 2019 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows o...

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Pricing

The Best of Chukotka - 12 Jul 2021 to 19 Jul 2021 - Spirit of Enderby

Cabin Category Price USD Description Availablity
Main Deck Triple $4,400 Has one bunk (one upper and one lower) and one lower berth, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and wash basin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main Deck cabins. Available
Main Deck $5,000 Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private washbasin. Shared shower and toilet facilities nearby with other Main Deck cabins. These cabins have a porthole. Available
Superior $5,400 One bunk (one upper and one lower berth), writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Available
Superior Plus $6,000 Two lower berths, writing desk, wardrobe, and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows. Available
Mini Suite $6,400 Separate bedroom with a double bed and a single bed or sofa in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe and drawers. Private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Mini Suites have windows. Available
Heritage Suite $6,800 Large lounge area, separate bedroom with double bed, single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers, and fridge. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. Large forward and side facing windows with great views. Waitlisted
Additional fees

Local Payment: $300.00pp

Includes:

Pre/Post cruise transfers, all on board ship accommodation, meals and all expedition shore excursions.

Excludes:

All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.

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