Ever hear of Wrangel Island? It is an island in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. Wrangel Island lies astride the 180° meridian.
No email, no texts, no social media, no internet…that was refreshing. These last two weeks were about awaking the senses again. I had two weeks of uninterrupted observation; feeling the cold wind on my face, tasting the salt water, examining my footsteps on the tundra, rolling with the Arctic ocean, clearing my mind, and falling into deep dream-filled sleep without worrying about what was happening below the Arctic Circle. And the best part was that all of that time usually spent staring at a screen and responding to email was replaced by staring a polar bear in the eyes, focusing in on the millions of birds living on the every inch of the cliff face, watching the beauty of a muskox’s soft layers of fur blowing in the crisp wind, and staring at a treeless landscape that few people have ever laid eyes upon.
With no internet or cell connections it’s like you are in a vacuum; you can focus on what you are seeing and experiencing.
More than any other trip I’ve taken I’ve completely lost track of time. The woman next to me in the ship library asks, “Do you know what day it is?” Hmmm – not really. I look at my laptop clock which I think is still on Nome, Alaska time and it says Wednesday. I try to count the days we’ve been here but I am unsure any longer since the sun sets at 10:30 PM and rises at 3AM and I’m waking up at 4AM every day wide awake. I finally say, “I think it’s Thursday, but I’m really not sure any longer.” Another woman joins in – I think it may be Thursday too. We decide between the 3 of us we must be right. And honestly – no one really cared if we were wrong. Losing track of days, time, night, day..that all adds up to a fabulous trip if you ask me.
My last two weeks were spent on the Spirit of Enderby Polar ship cruising around Wrangel Island, passing through the Bering Straight, and soaking in the Chukotka culture of Russia’s Far East. Thanks to the lack of connectivity I don’t have any Instagram pics to show you, however I do have photographs that will be making their way to Instagram eventually, so this week’s Instagram review is just simply a week(s) in review. I’ve tried to pick out some of my favorite variety of photos from the Wrangel Island expedition that can show you the variety of experiences that I had these last two weeks. However, this winter I will be covering this trip in depth and sharing all photography on the blog. There’s so much to share, it’s hard to even organize my thoughts about the experience.
But here’s a beginning look at why Wrangel Island, and the journey there, is one of the most special places on the globe.
Polar Bear encounters on Wrangel Island
A Fishing hut along the Chukotka coast
A Horned Puffin Takes Flight
An old trappers hut where a lone scientists lives for 2 months in the summer to do bird research on the Kolychun Inlet
The cliffs of Herald Island in the Arctic
Look very carefully – those dots you see are thousands upon thousands of birds found all around birding cliffs in the Russian Far East
Snow Geese on Wrangel Island with the Spirit of Enderby in the background
The first polar bear we spotted on Herald island. Mother and cub will be spending the winter on the island until the ice returns.
How to Recreate this Trip:
Only one company has the permits to cruise to Wrangel Island – Heritage Expeditions. See their offerings of Russian Far East Voyages including Wrangel Island.