With Michael Snedic
6th to 20th of July 2020
Join us on this 15 day Russian Arctic Photographic Expedition, in the Russian Far East. This unique expedition crosses the Arctic Circle and includes the isolated and pristine Wrangel Island It is a journey only made possible in recent years by the thawing in the politics of the region and the retreat of summer pack ice in the Chukchi Sea. The very small distance between Russia and the USA along this border area was known as the Ice Curtain, behind which then and now lies one of the last great undiscovered wilderness areas in the world.
The voyage journeys through the narrow Bering Strait, which separates Russia from the United States of America, and then travels west along the Chukotka coastline before crossing the De Long Strait to Wrangel Island. There we will spend three days under the guidance of local rangers on the nature reserve. Untouched by glaciers during the last ice age,
this island is a treasure trove of Arctic biodiversity and is perhaps best known for the multitude of Polar Bears that breed here. We hope to catch many glimpses of this beautiful animal. The island
also boasts the world’s largest population of Pacific Walrus and lies near major feeding grounds
for the Gray Whales that migrate thousands of kilometres north from their breeding grounds in Baja, Mexico. Reindeer, Musk Ox and Snow Geese can normally be seen further inland..
On this special Chukotka expedition we will meet the locals; see and listen to their stories and experience their love for and strong connection with the land and the sea. We will celebrate with them at their annual Regatta and Festival. We will explore the vast expansive tundra with its wild flowers and dwarf tree species and we will watch for brown bears, reindeer, Arctic Foxes, ground squirrels and, if we are lucky, we may also see a Wolverine. We will explore Wrangel Island with its Polar Bears, walrus and rich Arctic history and at sea we will look out for whales.
We will have a maximum of 9 photographers on this expedition, being led by professional nature photographer and tutor, Michael Snedic. As we travel around the sea, we will be photographing from our ship, from Zodiacs, and from land.
Photographers of all experience levels are welcome. Michael will be guiding you and supporting your photography during the expedition. Not just in taking photographs, but also in reviewing images and image critique sessions.
A short video with highlights from the 2019 Russian Arctic Photo Expedition
Your Photography Leader
On this expedition you will have access every day to Michael Snedic, a professional nature photographer and experienced instructor. Michael is there to help you photograph the stunning scenery and wildlife we will encounter.He will be conducting a series of classes throughout the voyage, as well as being on-hand throughout the outings.
Michael is an experienced (23 years) and widely-published photographer, writer and Photo Expedition Leader (17 years). His photography articles and images have featured in numerous publications in Australia and across the world.
Michael is owner of WildNature Photo Expeditions and presents exciting photography workshops and tours to many wonderful photographic and travel destinations. Michael is also a Nikon School Tutor for Australia. Michael loves sharing his photographic knowledge and passion with workshop participants, helping them improve their photographic skills. No matter what brand or model of camera you own (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax, Fuji or Panasonic) Michael can help!
Day 0 – Nome
For those departing from Nome, Alaska, your adventure begins with a flight across the Bering Sea and International Date Line, to the remote port of Anadyr.
Day 1 -Anadyr
All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr, the administrative capital of Chukotka. Depending on your time of arrival you may have the opportunity to explore Anadyr before boarding the vessel. We will sail in the late afternoon for Egvekinot.
Day 2 – Egvekinot
This small town was built by Gulag prisoners as a port to supply the rich Lul’tin mining complex some 200 kilometres inland, they were then forced to construct a road to the mine. We explore the town which has an excellent museum and plan to travel by Ural to explore along the road towards Lul’tin and into the tundra to gain an appreciation of this unique Arctic landscape close to the Arctic Circle.
Day 3 – Konergino
Across Kresta Bay from Egvekinot is the small reindeer herding village of Konergino. Reindeer herding is still an important part of the indigenous people’s culture and economy, the practice has remained largely unchanged over the centuries and revolves around ‘brigades’ looking after large herds of reindeer out on the tundra. Today is an introduction to, and an opportunity to understand, this practice.
Days 4 – Presbrazhenya Bay
We will be cruising along the south coast of Chukotka today and we will take the opportunity to stop at Presbrazhenya Bay. We Zodiac cruise spectacular bird cliffs which could provide great photographic opportunities. We also plan time exploring the rich tundra landscape for birds and plants.
Day 5 – Whale Bone Alley and Gil’mimyl Hot Springs
The significant and intriguing archaeological site of ‘Whale Bone Alley’ on Yttygran Island dates to the 14th Century, its origins and purpose have been the cause of much debate. Whale bones stretch along the beach in the form of a pathway for nearly half a kilometre. Gray Whales are frequently seen in the vicinity and there may be a chance to go whale-watching by Zodiac. This afternoon we plan a landing at nearby Gil’mimyl Hot Springs.
Day 6 – Cape Dezhnev
Sea conditions permitting, we plan to land at Cape Dezhnev early this morning; this is the north-eastern most point of the Eurasian continent. The name commemorates the accomplishment of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev who was the first European to sail through this strait in 1648 (80 years before Bering did). Nearby is the former Inuit village of Naukan, the inhabitants were relocated to nearby villages by the Soviet administration in 1958 but photographs and stories make the site come alive.
Days 7 – At Sea
Relax as we navigate northwards towards Wrangel Island. Ice conditions will determine our speed and course and will ultimately dictate whether we will actually be able to reach the island.
Days 8 to 10 – Wrangel Island
As we approach the island we will spend time searching the ice for Polar Bears, Ringed Seals and walrus. Should there be opportunities to land we will explore the tundra to look for species which breed here. We have allowed three days on and around the island to take advantage of whatever conditions we encounter and will be utilising the local knowledge of the Park Rangers to make multiple landings and Zodiac cruising the ice.
Days 11 – At Sea
We sail south towards Kolyuchin Island. The day is filled with illustrated lectures, opportunities to spend time on deck, relaxing in the ship’s bar and catching up with some reading or download and editing photos.
Day 12 – Kolyuchin Island / Kolyuchin Inlet
This morning we plan a landing and/or Zodiac cruise at Kolyuchin Island. When the ice recedes large numbers of walrus sometimes haul out on the island. At the western end of the island is the remains of a Polar Research Station and nearby are some amazing bird cliffs, where it is possible to get magnificent views (and photographs) of puffins and guillemots. This afternoon we will cruise to nearby Kolyuchin Inlet, a massive tidal estuary and ideal habitat for many bird species, it is early enough in the season for the majority of them to either be on nests or have young. It is an easy landing with lots of opportunity for ‘birding’.
Days 13 – Lavrentiya and the Annual Beringia Regatta and Festival
We plan to be here for opening day of the annual Beringia Regatta and Festival which includes Baidara (traditional walrus skin covered boats) races as well as cultural group performances and games. It is one of the most colourful festivals in the Chukotka calendar and attracts people from many villages. There will be a range of activities at the Regatta and Festival and local foods for you to sample and souvenirs to purchase. This is a festival that gets to the very heart and soul of the people, their culture and their land.
Days 14 – At Sea
As we make our way back to Anadyr we will recap the many experiences we have enjoyed on this special Wrangel Island and Chukotka expedition.
Day 15 – Anadyr
After breakfast passengers will be taken ashore, a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central downtown hotel will conclude the expedition.
Health and Fitness
Anyone in normal good health can join us on this adventure. There are no special fitness requirements, although we will be often climbing into and out of the in atable Zodiac boats, and walking on shore.
The ship has a doctor and basic medical facilities on board. If you have specic health concerns or dietary requirements the staff at Heritage will be able to help.
The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel.
She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in March 2013 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.
On board there is a recently updated combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room (March 2018). The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.
The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.
The name Spirit of Enderby honours the work and the vision of the Enderby Brothers of London. The Enderby Captains were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration for almost 40 years in the early 1800s. It also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.
- Photography tuition throughout the expedition
- Shipboard accommodation.
- Pre/post cruise transfers
- All breakfasts, lunches and dinners onboard. Coffee, tea, cocoa available around the clock.
- All expedition zodiac and shore excursions.
- Pre and post-departure materials.
- International/domestic flights
- Passport/visa expenses. We provide assistance with Russian visa paperwork, but you’re responsible for the actual visa.
- Personal/travel insurance coverage. Heritage will discuss with you the required insurance coverage (due to the remoteness of our destination).
- Onboard bar, laundry, gratuities and telecommunications charges. Internet access is not available onboard.
- All items of a personal nature
The trip is being put together with our partners at Heritage Expeditions in Christchurch, and they take care of the bookings and travel arrangements for us, while I run the photography program.
There are a variety of cabin classes, mostly twin- share cabins. Your choice of berth/cabin type directly impacts the price of your ticket.
The twin-berth cabins can be reserved as single cabins for 1.8x the standard price. There’s also a mandatory charge of US$500 per person to cover local fee payments.
|Cabin Type||Price (pp twin)|
These prices are in US dollars per berth. A 25% deposit is required to secure your place.
NB: PRICE INCLUDES PHOTOGRAPHY TUITION FEE BY MICHAEL SNEDIC, WHICH WILL BE INVOICED SEPARATELY
How to book
To reserve your place or just to ask more questions about the workshop, contact Michael via the Contact Form to the right:
Header Image of 3 polar bears courtesy of and copyright to Samuel Blanc.