Franz Josef Land
Aboard Kapitan Dranitsyn or MV Ortelius
- St. Petersburg-St. Petersburg - 13 Days17-29 JUL 2012 - Dranitsyn
- Kirkenes-Murmansk - 13 Days9-21 Aug 2012 - Ortelius
- Murmansk-Murmansk - 12 Days *21 aug-1Sep 2012 -Ortelius
Itinerary for St. Petersburg - St. Petersburg
13 days aboard Kapitan Dranitsyn
Click here for Kirkenes-Murmansk 13 day itinerary
*Click here for Murmansk-Murmansk 12 day itinerary
St. Petersburg, Russia
Your journey begins in one of the most elegant cities in the world, St Petersburg. Here you will be met by a our representative to take you to your hotel. In the evening, a our expedition representative will host an included dinner. This will be a good opportunity to meet your fellow travelers and prepare for your upcoming journey.
Embarkation Day in Murmansk
Today you catch a morning flight from St. Petersburg to Murmansk and are transferred to the port, where the Kapitan Dranitsyn is awaiting your arrival. It’s now time to put on your sea legs and set sail for Franz Josef Land! During this day at sea your onboard team of lecturers will give you a briefing on the history of the archipelago’s discovery and its fascinating wildlife. You’ll also get acquainted with the ship, your fellow shipmates and safety procedures.
The Barents Sea
As you travel towards the archipelago, your day is filled with lectures by naturalists and experts on the region who provide you with a background on the incredible sights and ecology that you will soon explore. Today is also a great opportunity to spot the sea birds like Kittiwakes and Skuas that regularly pass over head.
Morning at Sea / Bell Island
Spend most of your day out on deck as head towards the archipelago, arriving in late evening. Your lecturers will continue to entertain you with slideshows and lectures about Franz Josef Land, while the Expedition Team will keep you advised of any whale sightings. You’ll have your first landing today at Bell Island, where we will hike to the remarkably well preserved house built by the Lee Smith expedition of 1881. If weather permits, you’ll be treated to an outdoor picnic on the ship.
Northbrook Island / Hooker Island
Exploration in this part of the Arctic is full of failed attempts to reach the North Pole and navigate these icy waters. An example is your landing site for today, Cape Flora on Northbrook Island. It was discovered by the Lee Smith expedition in 1880, but cost them their steam yacht Aira, which sunk on the coast. You’ll also visit remnants of the Jackson expedition whose extensive settlement is still largely intact.
When you reach Tikhaya Bay on Hooker Island you’ll approach Rubini Rock, home to thousands of sea birds such as nesting kittiwakes. Have your binoculars and cameras ready for this impressive sight. You’ll also visit a derelict Polar station in the bay and, weather permitting, land on its shore by helicopters. Be on the watch for Greenland Whales in this area too!
We sail all through the night so that when you wake up you’re at Cape Norway on Jackson Island. In 1895-1896 Nansen and Johansen wintered here for over seven months after a failed attempt to conquer the North Pole. You’ll see the remains of their primitive hut here and also be on the lookout for polar bears, Belugas and Narwhals. If conditions permit, you will visit the most northern island of Franz Josef Land, Rudolf Island.
Stolichky and Appolonov
Today you travel to Stolichky and Appolonov Islands. Consider this to be walrus day, as these boisterous behemoths are found in huge numbers here. You’ll take a Zodiac cruise to get close to the walrus rookeries and see them in their natural habitat. In addition to walrus and polar bear, you may also spot Bearded, Ringed or Harp Seals around these islands.
Today our goal is the picturesque Champ Island, whose ice and snow-capped mountains provide you with a different landscape for your photographic pursuits. In addition to the highest peaks in the entire archipelago, the Cape Fiume landing site offers unique photo opportunities. Here you’ll find perfectly spherical stones of up to 3 meters in diameter dotting the landscapes. Before moving on, and weather permitting, you’ll have the chance to take a helicopter excursion and land on a glacier.
Your landing on Hall Island is at the historic Cape Tegetthoff. It is here that in 1873 the Weyprecht and Payer Expedition spotted land, which is believed by many to be the first ever sighting of what is now Franz Josef Land. This almost completely glaciered island has huge mountains and there are some wooden huts that provide you with scenic settings for photography or taking a quiet moment by yourself.
Your final full day of Arctic exploration is mostly at sea. Spend your time searching for whales or recalling the unforgettable places, historical sites and unique wildlife from the past week.
Disembark in Murmansk
In the morning you’ll arrive in Murmansk and disembark. Say goodbye to the Expedition Team before catching your flight back to St. Petersburg where you have one more night in this exquisite city.
Departure - St. Petersburg, Russia
It’s time to bid farewell to Russia and catch your homeward bound flight.
All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.