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NORTH POLE - a journey with a nuclear icebreaker
Reach the top of the world


Best season:   August
Country / Region:   Russian Federation
     
Remark:   Reach the top of the world without the dangers faced by earlier voyagers, yet with all the spirit of adventure inherent in their quest


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Day 1 - Moscow

We arrive to the international airport in Moscow. Comfortable buses will take you to 4-5 star hotel located in the center of the city where you will be able to rest after the flight.

Day 2 - Moscow - Murmansk

After excursion, departing from Moscow's airport, our expedition arrives in Murmansk. From the "Murmashi" airport we take comfortable buses and are transferred aboard the icebreaker "Yamal." We sail late in the evening.

Day 3 - Barents Sea

The voyage to the North Pole has been organized to offer passengers a thorough insight into the polar world, and fascinating glimpses of the Arctic. Today we head towards the Franz Josef Land archipelago. En route we have time to rest and explore the "Yamal." In the company of the captain, you will be introduced to the ship and the sophisticated technical equipment in the engine room, as well as to the basic principles of ice navigation and the navigator's job. You will also learn about helicopter operations, and how to use safety equipment and lifeboats.

Days 4-5 - Archipelago Franz Josef Land

We cross 80 north latitude and penetrate the remote world of ancient pack ice, towering volcanic mountains, icebergs and glaciers. Discovered only in 1873 by an Austrian expedition aboard the "Tegetthoff", most of the archipelago remains largely unexplored. Our onboard helicopters will afford astonishing views of the area's magnificent landscape. We plan to call at Calm Bay to view Rubini Rock and its numerous nesting seabird colonies, closely approaching the sheer basalt cliff if conditions permit. Close by is a deserted research station and, offshore, enormous fragments of calving glaciers are sometimes seen. We also expect to spot polar bears and walruses, and it is quite surprising that the polar bears often ignore the ship, and even curiously approach it, thus enabling us to take wonderful photos. We also plan to visit Cape Norway where Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered in 1896-1897. During the second half of the 19th Century a number of daring expeditions tried to make their way through the ice to the top of the Earth, and many attempts exacted a heavy toll in human life. The two Norwegians survived by hunting walrus and seals for their sustenance. Considered lost, the remains of their hut - one of the symbols and landmarks in the history of Arctic exploration - was discovered by a joint Soviet-Norwegian expedition in 1990.

Days 6-7 - Towards the Pole

Ever farther behind we leave Franz Josef Land - the last solid land and remains of civilization in this area of the Arctic. Heading due north, the "Yamal" forces its way through thick, multiyear pack, riding up on top of several meters of ice that breaks under the ship's tremendous mass.

Our expedition divides into several groups to board the helicopters and watch the operation of our vessel from above. On the bridge we can observe the work of experienced hydrologists who update maps of ice conditions from satellite data, and are constantly looking for stretches of open water and cracks in the ice. These conditions significantly improve our progress. Finding a solid piece of ice, the ship may stop for us to take a walk on the ice. During these days scientists, travelers, and explorers who have dedicated their lives to this austere world deliver a series of interesting lectures.

Day 8 - North Pole!

Today the expedition expects to reach the geographic North Pole. This time of year the weather is usually mild, with air temperatures of 0 - 1 C (32 - 34 F). As our vessel steadily approaches 90 N, we meet on the bridge of the "Yamal" to celebrate our achievement.

Upon reaching our goal, we disembark onto the ice. Here, at the top of the world, we enjoy the silver and azure landscape and pause to reflect on the early explorers' heroic efforts and sacrifices to reach this point. The crew of the ship prepares for a celebration, including a picnic on the ice, and the most daring can take a plunge into the Arctic Ocean. Special communication facilities permit contact with civilization to share our achievement with friends. The celebration is in progress...

Days 9-10 - Course due South

Our icebreaker moves on, smashing through high ice hummocks and pack ice. Our precise southern heading depends on local conditions. We make ice reconnaissance flights and flightseeing excursions. We may see solid white Ivory gulls, and realize that soon we may view a dark strip of land on the horizon ... On our way back, if the weather and ice conditions permit, we intend to visit some extra places on Franz Josef Land or Novaya Zemlya.

Days 11-13 - Barents Sea. On the way to Murmansk

On the way to Murmansk we recall the exciting experience of our wonderful voyage, full of discoveries and adventures. We belong to a select group of people who have conquered this icy realm, the Arctic. We return home with heightened ecological awareness and renewed commitment to one of the last wild places on earth, our minds stocked with valuable experience and knowledge. The same day we fly to Moscow and comfortable buses will take us to 4-5* hotel in the center of the city.

Day 14 - Moscow

Today after breakfast at our hotel the buses will take us to the international airport for the flight home.

Please note: read this itinerary as a guide only; our exact route and program varies according to weather and ice conditions and the wildlife we encounter.

Passengers aboard the icebreaker are lodged in 50 outside cabins (i.e., having windows or portholes) and first class cabins with all conveniences including large portholes, desk, television, etc. Public areas include a large passenger lounge (that can accomodate all passengers at once), restroom, cinema/lecture hall, basketball court, gymnasium, and an indoor swimming pool filled with heated sea water, in addition to a sauna. The captain's bridge (open almost around the clock) and wide, open decks at various levels, provide splendid views from the ship. The ship also has a good library and a small hospital. The icebreaker has an experienced staff of 150 persons, including 50 employees and mechanics.
 


The icebreaker


The journey


Sea Lions attacked by a polar bear


Helicopter excursions


Boat excursions


Comfortable cabins

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