Franz Joseph Land
July 10 - August 5, 2019

Expedition to Franz Joseph Land:
Polar bears, walruses and whales


Franz Joseph Land is the northernmost archipelago of Russia and one of the hardest places to reach on the globe. Here, in High Arctic, the life thrives just like it was thousands years ago. Walruses enjoying 24-hour sunlight on pebble beaches, polar bears hunting for seals on the floe edge, arctic foxes trying to steal marine bird eggs. Isle of Champ keeps the secrets of round rocks, and Cape Fligely is farther north than any other landmark in Eastern hemisphere. Mysterious narwhals and ancient bowhead whales cruisе in the surrounding waters. The archipelago is uninhabited, however there are abandoned polar pioneers' statons on it.

We would like to welcome you on board of our yacht Aurora, which will bring us to FJL and back, providing high level of comfort and safety throughout the 3 weeks we spend at sea.

As always, we will focus on wildlife. Yacht carries tanks, compressors and weights for diving. We will attempt to dive with polar bears and walruses, snorkel with whales, and take rare and unique pictures of animals both underwater and on surface. We will dive into the ice-cold waters of the northernmost archipelago of Russia and meet the most exciting animals. However, diving is not the main purpose of our expedition.

Small group and flexible schedule
Usually one can get to FJL onboard a large vessel carrying over 100 passengers that follows a specific schedule. We will go as a small group of 7 guests on our sailing yacht. This allows us to control the route and to be able to change it whenever necessary. All the participants will have plenty of time to spend with wildlife and enough photo opportunities. If one wants to spend more time with walruses, taking pictures of bears or exploring the islands, no one will hurry you up.

Which animals can we meet?

- The main focus of our expedition is on polar bears and walruses. We will try to dive with them under permission from the National park officials.
- Seals: bearded seal, ringed seal and harp seal
- Bowhead whales and narwhals if we are lucky. Belugas and fin whales are also in the mix
- Arctic foxes
- Over 15 species of marine birds
Itinerary
Dates: July 10 - August 5, 2019

27 days, 24 at the sea
Day 1
Arrival to Murmansk or Naryan-Mar. Hotel transfer. Necessary paperwork for authorities.
Day 2
Extra day in case of flight delays or lost luggage. Sightseeing and land excursions.
Days 3-7
At sea.
Days 8-9
Arrival to FJL. Alexandra land and Cambridge strait - best places to find narwhals in FJL. Searching for polar bears.
Day 10
Prince George island, Bell island - bird colonies and arctic foxes, trekking. Smiths station, Gunther bay. Searching for bowhead whales near Cape Flora. First encounter with walruses.
Days 11-12
Hooker island. Central part of the archipelago. Looking for bowhead whales and belugas. Bird colonies and arctic foxes. Alger island polar station. Walrus colonies.
Day 13
Famous round rocks of Camp island. Heiss and Komsomol islands - walrus colonies. Seals of Austrian strait.
Day 14
Cape Tegethoff, enormous cliffs. Wilczek island polar station. Graham-Bell island.
Day 15
Apollonov and Stolichki islands. Largest walrus colonies of FJL.
Day 16-17
Northern part of archipelago. Floe edge. If the ice allows, we will sail over Cape Fligely, northernmost point of the archipelago. Looking for seals and polar bears.
Days 18-19
Turning South. Jackson island.
Days 20-21
Back to Alexandra land and Cambridge strait. Cape Flora.
Days 22-25
Going back home. Days at sea.
Day 26
Arrival to the harbour, hotel transfer. Paperwork for authorities.
Day 27
Flights back home (we advise not to book flights in advance).
The schedule may have to be adjusted in accordance with the weather conditions.
Prices:

Triple cabin 11 150 euro per person (3 spaces)
Double cabin 13 500 euro per person (4 spaces)
Single occupancy 26 000 euro per person

Included:
  1. Accommodation and food onboard
  2. Hotels (3 nights)
  3. Scuba diving
  4. Tanks and weights
  5. Airport transfers
  6. Permissions from authorities
Not included:
  1. Air fares
  2. Any extra expenses
  3. Personal equipment, including diving equipment
  4. Diving insurance
Additional information
Wheather
Our expedition will be held in the middle of Arctic summer. Air temperature on the surface is expected to vary from +5C to -5C. However, due to winds and humidity the air feels colder.
Harbours and flights:
The expedition begins from either Murmansk or Naryan-Mar, to be announced. Both cities are easily accessible by planes. We ask our guests to arrive in advance in case of flight delays or luggage loss. We also recommend not to book return tickets in advance, because weather-related delays are possible on our way back.
Personal equipment list
  • Warm clothes, hat, socks and gloves.
  • Rubber boots
  • Shoes to wear on board the yacht
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Sun cream
  • Waterproof cases
  • Personal medicine
  • Seasickness pills
Diving
First of all, diving is not the main purpose of our expedition. We will dive when we want to dive, not every day.

Polar diving is not the most extreme kind, but it does require some special skills.

Water temperature may reach down to -2 Celsius, which means that every diver should be confident and comfortable with their equipment. Cold water experience is required. Expect a maximum 2 dives per day (but not every day!) at depths of up to 20 meters. For diving with some animals we will use tanks, sometimes snorkel gear would be enough.
Diving equipment

We provide tanks, compressors and weight belts. Each diver must bring personal equipment, including:
  • Masks, snorkel, fins (+spare mask)
  • Drysuit with hood
  • Drysuit underwear (do not hesitate to bring 2 sets)
  • Two independent cold-water regulators with DIN thread
  • BCD
  • Gloves (7mm wet gloves are recommended), SMB, knife, computer, torch, compass
  • Gear repair kit
Can non-divers join?
Of course you are welcome to join. It is not necessary to be a diver to enjoy the beauty of High Arctic. However, the price for non-divers is the same
Tour Leaders
It's easy to book with us!
The process of booking becomes easy with Whale Watching Russia.
1
Contact us
However you like: phone or WhatsApp +79163114469, email info@whale-expeditions.com, using Facebook or fill the application form below
2
We will call you back
Or write a message. We will answer all your questions, explain all the details and discuss your personal wishes
3
Deposit payment
When you are ready to book expedition, we would ask you to pay the deposit, usually it's 50% of the price. You can pay the rest later, the last payment day is 60 days before expedition start.
4
Done!
You got your space on the trip, it's time to buy plane tickets! By the way, we can help you with tickets and visas if needed.
Book expedition!
Contacts
+7 916 311 44 69
info@whale-expeditions.com

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