Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is holding a program for voyages in 2019 that will venture into one of the most rugged and wildlife-rich regions on the planet – the Russian Arctic. The three new itineraries will give a glimpse into the remote Russian Far East & Bering Sea, where spectacular wildlife, an intriguing native culture, arresting mysteries and world-class exploration history abound.
The human element is one of the richest aspects of visiting the Arctic and this region is no exception. Communities of Siberian Yup’ik people continue to follow traditional methods of hunting seals and whales, while the coastal Koryak and Chukchi people have developed into incredible reindeer herders living off the land – and are a part of why many travellers leave the place as a changed person.
Several of Lindblad’s exemplary expedition team have spent time in the region, and were integral to the development of the expeditions. “I have visited the region since 2004 and immediately fell in love with its landscape, abundant wildlife and charming people of many cultures. Over several years of travel there, the wildlife never became commonplace for me – it was spectacular every time,” stated Jen Martin, director of field staff and expedition development.
Across the Bering Sea: From Katmai to Kamchatka
Covering more than 3800 nautical miles, and nearly circumnavigating the Bering Sea, this is a wide-ranging voyage. Spot coastal brown bears from Katmai National Park to the Kamchatka Peninsula, search for Steller’s sea eagles along the scenic Zhupanova River. Be awed by the abundance and variety of marine mammals: Pacific walrus, northern fur seals, gray, humpback, and sperm whales, sea otters and Steller sea lions; and seabirds from the Aleutians to the Commander Islands including horned and tufted puffins, murres and rare whiskered auklets. Visit a Koryak village in northern Kamchatka, and Vitus Bering’s gravesite in the Commander Islands.
22 days/21 nights, departs 18 June and 21 July 2019. Rates begin at $32,320 per person based on double occupancy in a category one cabin.
Life & Legend on the Bering Sea
Traverse the depth and breadth of the Bering Strait and venture deep into the two distinct worlds it joins. Encounter the remote culture of Provideniya, “the Gateway to the Arctic,” before exploring the Pribilof Islands, a naturalist’s paradise sometimes referred to as “the Galápagos of the North” – with the largest breeding rookery of northern fur seals, comprising about half the world’s population. From the breeding grounds continue on to explore the history, culture and natural wonders of the remote islands along Alaska’s coast, including Kodiak Island with the native culture and Alutiiq people. Explore Katmai National Park, one of the premier brown bear viewing areas in the world – with opportunities to witness them digging for clams at low tide and fishing for salmon, and a petrified forest to round out this immersive expedition.
13 days/12 nights, departs 9 July and 4 September 2019. Rates begin at $20,290 per person based on double occupancy in a category one cabin.
Exploring Russia’s Far East & Wrangel Island
This exploration of the Siberian coastline promises rich culture and an astounding wealth of wildlife. See gray whales in their northern feeding grounds in the Chukchi and Bering Seas. Meet indigenous artists known for their walrus ivory carvings, take in bird cliffs teeming with puffins and guillemots, then forge farther north, well above the Arctic Circle to Wrangel Island Reserve. Spend several days in this pristine landscape that’s home to the highest density of ancestral polar bear dens, the world’s largest population of Pacific walrus, and an astonishing variety of plant life. And before the expedition comes to an end witness the rare ancient and mysterious display of whale bones and skulls erected on Yttygran Island.
3 days/12 nights, departs 11 and 23 August 2019. Rates begin at $20,290 per person based on double occupancy.
The voyages are set aboard the 102-guest National Geographic Orion, a state-of-the-art expedition ship, designed to safely explore the remote regions of the planet. A modern, elegant ship, her stylish setting features a dramatic, window-lined main lounge and library where the expedition community gathers for cocktails and Recap, and expansive outdoor spaces. Everywhere guests turn, there are panoramic windows that connect to the wild world be explored. She is equipped with a full complement of cool tools to explore the environment, including kayaks, Zodiacs, and Remotely Operated Vehicle to explore the undersea.