Remote Severnaya Zemlya next mission for Quark Expeditions

Polar cruise specialist to explore remote Russian archipelago

Polar adventure cruise operator Quark Expeditions is completing preparations to take passengers to the remote Russian archipelago of Severnaya Zemlya – the last major territorial discovery on the planet.

Dominated by glaciers and polar desert and inhabited by a staggering array of wildlife, the hard-to-reach archipelago, located off Siberia’s Taymyr Peninsula in the Kara Sea, was only discovered in 1913 and remained virtually unexplored until it was charted in the early 1930s.

Severnaya Zemlya, which means “Northern Land,” comprises four major islands (October Revolution, Bolshevik, Komsomolets, and Pioneer) and approximately 70 smaller islands that together cover 37,000 square kilometres. Yet despite its vast size, it remains largely unknown to the outside world.

Now, Quark Expeditions’ guests will have a unique opportunity to explore this rarely visited land on a newly created expedition, the High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos.

“Exploring the Russian High Arctic can be a challenge – but it’s a challenge that Quark Expeditions is uniquely equipped to meet,” said Ed Bonner, Vice-President of Product, Quark Expeditions. “We take pride in having the most experienced team in the polar regions and in doing the preparation required to create life-changing experiences in these remote wildernesses.”

In September 2019, Quark Expeditions undertook a reconnaissance voyage to explore Severnaya Zemlya and the surrounding region and lay the groundwork for the upcoming expeditions. “We sent four experienced expedition team members on a 30-day voyage with Captain Nicolay Litau, one of Russia’s foremost polar explorers, on the expedition yacht Apostol Andrey, to scout out the best landing sites, the most unforgettable views and the unique landmarks that we hope will maximise our guests’ experience in this magical land.”

High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos

Guests interested in being among the few to visit Severnaya Zemlya can join Quark Expeditions’ 22-day High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos with departures in July 2020 and July 2021. In addition to exploring Severnaya Zemlya, guests on this expedition will also visit glaciated Novaya Zemlya, where the earliest Arctic explorers overwintered, explore historic sites at Franz Josef Land and discover rarely visited islands of the icy Kara Sea.

Quark Expeditions is also offering a shorter trip to Russia for travellers eager to explore the remote archipelagos of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya: the 16-day Jewels of the Russian Arctic: Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya (with departures in July 2020 and July 2021).

Jewels of the Russian Arctic: Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya

To further enrich these voyages, Quark Expeditions has arranged for two Russian specialists to join both voyages and share their firsthand expertise, Victor Boyarsky and Victor Serov.

Victor Boyarsky will be onboard Ocean Adventurer as Russian Regional Specialist for the High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos expeditions. The renowned Russian polar traveler is head of the Polar Commission of the Russian Geographical Society, and member of the National Geographic Society of the United States and the National Academy of Tourism. Boyarsky has written numerous books inspired by his Arctic experiences; he first visited Severnaya Zemlya in 1975.

Victor Serov will be onboard Ocean Adventurer as Russian Regional Specialist for the Jewels of the Russian Arctic: Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya expeditions. Trained as a scientist, Serov overwintered at the Soviet Antarctic Station Novolazarevskaya in 1981. He then led geophysical expeditions to the Russian Arctic islands and archipelagos from 1982 to 1989. Serov visited Franz Josef Land for the first time in 1984 and returned in 1992 as the Russian leader of an Austrian film project that recreated the Tegetthoff expedition (which discovered the archipelago in 1872-74). Serov first visited Novaya Zemlya in 1985.

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