Getting up close and personal for an amazing encounter with a group of walrus

The Russian Far East promises adventurers an experience of a lifetime

Wednesday 28 August 2019

If this summer’s season for viewing wildlife in the Russian Far East is anything to go by, 2020 is set to offer an even more impressive array of opportunities for travellers interested in joining an Arctic adventure expedition cruise.  

New Zealand-based polar cruise specialist, Heritage Expeditions, has reported an exceptional 2019 season, with multiple polar bear (101 on the latest visit to Wrangel Island!) and brown bear encounters, sightings of pods of humpback, beluga, grey and bowhead whales, and walrus hauling out  in their hundreds, to name but a few.   

Dedicated to increasing awareness about and conservation of the natural world through responsible expedition travel, Heritage offers seven different itineraries to the Russian Far East and Arctic.  

Earlier this month, passengers travelling on the Across the Top of the World itinerary (15 days from US$10,000 per person based on twin share; departures 13th July, 3rd and 17th August 2020 from Anadyr, Russia) witnessed clearly why Wrangel Island is described as one of the most ecologically diverse locations to be found anywhere in the Arctic, as snow buntings, Arctic fox, thousands of snow geese, musk oxen, walrus, bowhead and grey whales all graced them with their presence.  And that was just on day one of the voyage!  

The lasting memory on that trip, however, will have been the sight of a female polar bear and her two cubs moving playfully across the ice and then, miraculously, stopping and coming right up to the ship to take a closer look at its passengers!  Such a privilege for everyone on board.

Another destination proving to attract a wealth of wildlife, probably due to the richness of food to be found in the surrounding waters, is Kolyuchin Island. 

Recent visitors cruising by zodiac beneath its spectacular cliffs were treated to the unforgettable experience of the sight, sound and smell of thousands of seabirds – guillemots, puffins, kittiwakes, cormorants and gulls among them; possibly one of the best wildlife spectacles in Siberia.    

What’s more, the island also turned out to be a resting place for several polar bear families and masses of wriggling walrus, as well as a feeding ground attracting bowhead and grey whales.  

Heritage Expeditions’ Russian cruise prices range from US$7,750 per person (twin share) for the 12-day Sea of Okhotsk voyage, departing on 9th June 2020, to US$27,900 pp for a suite on the 27-day Northern Sea Route sailing along the North East Passage, departing on 23rd August 2020 from Murmansk, Russia.  

Prices include pre- and post-cruise transfers, all onboard ship accommodation, meals and expedition shore cruises.  

For more detailed information on these and alternative routes to Russia, visit: https://www.heritage-expeditions.com/destinations/russian-far-east-travel/