Secrets of the Russian Arctic
Franz Josef Land
July 18 - August 3, 2019
Deep in the Russian Arctic lies Franz Josef Land, a seldom-visited archipelago barely explored over 100 years ago. and only rarely open to foreign visitors. Its western shores receive the last of the warming North Atlantic waters extending from the Gulf Stream current, a dynamic environment of shifting sea ice and glaciated islands that create perfect habitat for seals, polar bears and the possible rare and elusive bowhead whale. The high arctic is a polar desert, beautiful and stark, sometimes profoundly inhospitable, sometimes bountiful by turns. This exploratory voyage will take us from Longyearbyen on the west coast of Svalbard east to Franz Josef Land and back, a journey into waters where polar adventure and opportunity await.
We are working on details for this safari. Please contact us if you would like more information.
Itinerary Updated: October 2017
Our Trip Leaders
Ted grew up traveling extensively and began studying and photographing wildlife as a child. After completing a Master's degree in Tropical Conservation Biology at Duke University, Ted returned to California to lead and organize expeditions full time with Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris. Ted currently leads expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Caribbean and recently founded the citizen science project Happywhale.
Franz Josef Land
Sail through this archipelago found deep in the Russian Arctic to find seals, polar bears, and other wildlife among icy…
The Sea Spirit is an "all suite" luxury vessel built for sailing in ice with an ice-strengthened hull and retractable fin stabilizers. All cabins have a private, en-suite bathroom, a lounge area, ample storage, and a television with DVD player, plus unobstructed exterior views via portholes, picture windows, or a private balcony. The ship carries a fleet of ten Zodiacs for our shore landings, driven by our own experienced leaders. Located at the rear of the ship, the Zodiac loading area provides easy and safe access.
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Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, single occupancy*||$TBD|
We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set tour prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you at the hotel in Longyearbyen. If you would like a single room, there is an additional cost.
Please note that we cannot guarantee a specific cabin number. If changes occur, we will do everything in our power to assign a cabin of equal or greater value as the cabin type specified in your reservation. Deck plan, cabin arrangements, and cabin amenities are subject to change by ship operator.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$500|
Payments will be due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule and cancellation policy as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.
Refunds are given depending on the time left before departure according to the following table. The cancellation fee of $300 per person can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. Consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance that could reimburse your trip costs in the event of your cancellation.
You will be visiting the Arctic during its summer with 24 hours of daylight. Weather patterns may be highly variable, so bring appropriate attire to handle a mix of weather conditions including wind, snow, rain, and sun. Expect temperatures in the 30s and 40s °F (0–9° C), but weather fronts can cause temperatures to either drop further or rise to the 50s and low 60s °F (10–17° C). Keep in mind that we can only relay weather trends. Climate change has created less reliable weather and more extreme weather conditions everywhere, so be prepared for changing conditions.
You must be fit enough to get from the ship into the Zodiacs via a six-foot ladder with staff assisting you above and below. Once ashore, you must be able to get in and out of the Zodiacs including occasionally on a rocky coastline.
Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you.
Don’t let a fear of seasickness scare you away! For all but the most sensitive, seasickness is rarely a problem in this region. It’s a good idea to bring medication if you get seasick or are unsure, but you may find that you do not need it after a couple days once you have your “sea legs.” Even those who have experienced seasickness reported that the incredible wildlife and overall experience were well worth the temporary discomfort. Read our suggestions for coping with seasickness and contact us if you have any concerns.
- Non-smoking policy: We have a strict non-smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted at any time or any place during our tours. The crew aboard the ship smoke in designated smoking sections only.
- Maximum time in nature: We try to spend as much time in nature as possible, sometimes resulting in long days but giving you a more in-depth experience.
- Itinerary route: The itinerary route, stops and plans are subject to change by unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, such as weather or road conditions.
- Additional forms: For some of our tours, you may be asked to fill out additional forms (e.g., medical questionnaire).
- Travel to remote places is exciting, but it is important to understand and accept the risks, both medical and logistical. Minor medical problems can usually be treated, but because we are often far from medical facilities, there can be no expectation for immediate medical treatment or evacuation, even in cases of trauma. Anyone with health problems needing close medical supervision should not consider going on this tour. Bring enough medication for the duration of the trip for any chronic medical needs, since pharmacies are usually not available. When you send your deposit and signed Reservation/Release Form, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for other trip participants.