Discover the rugged lands of the Russian Far East and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wrangel Island Reserve on a 13-day voyage aboard the National Geographic Orion. Set sail from Alaska, crossing the legendary Bering Strait to discover pristine coastlines rich with wildlife, and experience the traditions of the indigenous peoples that make their home in these remote reaches of the planet. Discover a profusion of plant life, spy walruses and myriad seabirds on the tundra, and continue north into the Arctic Ocean to search for the iconic polar bears of Wrangel Island.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Fly from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Embark the National Geographic Orion this afternoon and set sail. On our first leg of the voyage, we cross the legendary Bering Strait, the narrow passage that links the Pacific to the Arctic Ocean and separates two continents.
At the western edge of the Bering Strait lies Provideniya, a former Soviet military port. Often called “the gateway to the Arctic,” Provideniya is also the administrative center where we will conduct the ship's clearance into Russia. Visit the local museum, which houses historic artifacts and paintings from the area, and witness a traditional dance performance by the indigenous Yupik people.
Head north through the Bering Strait and round Cape Dezhnev, the easternmost point of the Eurasian continent and a former center for fur and whale trading. Conditions permitting, venture ashore and hike to the lighthouse at the tip of this rocky headland. Continue to the nearby Chukchi and Yupik village of Uelen, known for its rich artistic traditions.
Today, we explore Kolyuchin Island and Inlet on the northern Chukotka coast. An enormous tidal estuary, Kolyuchin Inlet offers excellent hiking and birding opportunities. Nearby, Kolyuchin Island is a high, cliff-lined island where puffins and guillemots nest, and where Pacific walruses occasionally sunbathe on the rocks below. Explore this remote and untouched coastline in a Zodiac, and conditions permitting, head ashore to go hiking with our naturalists.
Spend four days exploring the World Heritage-listed Wrangel Island Reserve in the Arctic Ocean. With the world’s largest population of Pacific walruses and the highest density of ancestral polar bear dens, Wrangel Island offers incredible opportunities for wildlife viewing. The island escaped glaciation during the last ice age, and now has the highest level of biodiversity in the high Arctic, with an astonishing variety of plant life. It was also the last refuge of woolly mammoths, whose bones and tusks have been discovered amid the island’s riverbeds, providing intriguing clues to their past existence. As we explore by ship, by Zodiac, and on foot, keep an eye out for gray whales, which can be found in these prime feeding grounds, and more than 100 migratory bird species.
Enjoy a day at sea as we make our way south from Wrangel Island to the easternmost reaches of Russia. Attend talks by our expedition team, visit the ship’s bridge and library, and spy seabirds from the deck. Later, experience Chukchi culture during a day in Lorino, the largest indigenous village in Chukotka. Witness a dance performance and learn about this traditional fishing, hunting, and reindeer-herding culture.
This morning, visit Whale Bone Alley on Yttygran Island. Created some 600 years ago, Whale Bone Alley is thought to have been a communal or a ceremonial Yupik gathering place. Today, this haunting site consists of a number of fascinating whalebone formations, which protrude from the tundra overlooking the Bering Sea. Later, continue to Provideniya, where we conduct our outbound clearance before heading back east to Nome.
Spend our final day at sea, crossing the Bering Strait. Spend time on deck with binoculars in hand, on the lookout for marine mammals and seabirds. Attend talks by our naturalists and photo team, or perhaps treat yourself to a massage.
Arrive in Nome this morning, and transfer to the airport for flights to Anchorage and home.
- Tutka Bay Lodge Extension4 days from $6,525
- Winterlake Lodge Extension4 days from $6,399
Experience the treasures of Alaska’s pristine Kachemak Bay and the wild Kenai Peninsula during a stay at Tutka Bay Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. Choose among abundant options for exploring Tutka Bay’s breathtaking natural surroundings, from a deep-sea fishing trip to a small plane excursion in search of Alaskan brown bears. Kayak among untamed islets and hike a winding network of trails through old-growth pine forests. Relax in the evenings with delicious, locally-sourced meals and a seat by the bonfire.
Disembark in Anchorage, Alaska and check in to our hotel. During a free afternoon, explore the region’s rich indigenous culture at the Alaska Native Heritage Center or stroll along the stunning waterfront, keeping an eye out for moose and bald eagles.
Rise early this morning and transfer to the Anchorage airport for a short flight to Homer, situated on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. Board a water taxi for the journey across Kachemak Bay to Tutka Bay Lodge, situated at the mouth of a stunning miles-long fjord. Set off on a guided walk on the lodge’s trail system through the surrounding forest of old-growth Sitka spruce, or hike to Tutka Lake. Launch a kayak from the boathouse and paddle to the Herring Islands to spot otters, whales, seals, and eagles. Back at the lodge, enjoy a lunch of local wild ingredients, then take a boat to a neighboring bay to visit an oyster farm. After a three-course dinner prepared by the lodge’s celebrated chefs, join a guide for an educational walk through the intertidal zone on Kachemak’s shore.
Today, choose between two full-day excursions: a deep-sea fishing adventure or a journey to view Alaskan brown bears. If you opt to go fishing, head out into the pristine waters of Kachemak Bay alongside our local captain. Spend the day fishing for salmon and halibut while learning about the region’s natural history. At the end of the day, our captain will fillet and clean your catch for you to ship home or bring to the lodge’s chef to prepare for dinner. If you choose the bear-viewing excursion, take a water taxi to Homer followed by a scenic flight over glaciers, volcanoes, and the rugged coastlines of Katmai National Park and Lake Clark National Park to a remote beach. Don waders and hike alongside knowledgeable guides through a beautiful coastal habitat known for its bear population. Depending on the season, spot brown bears grazing on sedge grass, digging up clams, or fishing.
In the evening, return for drinks and appetizers with the lodge’s managers, then sit down to a delicious dinner.
Join an optional morning yoga session and enjoy breakfast before setting out to explore one of the many trails winding through Kachemak Bay State Park. Alternatively, travel by boat to the Grewingk Glacier, which stretches over 13 miles through the Kenai mountains. Hike past the glacier’s exposed gravel field and an iceberg-strewn lake pooled between gray peaks. Return to the lodge to warm up with an evening bonfire on the beach. After dinner, head out on a sunset cruise on the bay, watching for whales and other sea life.
Go for a final stroll along the beach before boarding a water taxi back to Homer. Take a short flight to Anchorage and connect with your flight home.