Exploring Novaya Zemlya
The largest of the Eurasian Arctic archipelagoes, the rarely visited Novaya Zemlya (“New Land”) is the third-largest wilderness area in Europe. This long, narrow island actually consists of two main islands, Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern), separated by the imposing Matochkin Strait. As we explore Novaya Zemlya, expect a new adventure every day. Each expedition will be unique, depending on the weather and ice, but a few landing sites we strive to visit include Inostrantseva Bay, the Oransky Islands, Cape Zhelaniya, Cape Spory Navalok and Russkaya Gavan. Boasting one of the most picturesque glaciers in the entire archipelago, Inostrantseva Bay provides breathtaking panoramic views of pristine Arctic wilderness. If conditions allow, we may explore ashore, or Zodiac cruise along the face of the glacier, at a safe distance, possibly witnessing the wonders of calving ice. Encounters with Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) are likely, owing to a small colony in the coastal cliffs. To the northwest side of Severny Island are the Oransky Islands. Wildlife abounds here, with a variety of animal and plant life to be discovered; walrus have been sighted here on previous expeditions. Coming across a walrus haul-out is unforgettable. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create a raucous as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline. Encounters with whales and seabirds are possible, as well as polar bears, a genetically distinct subpopulation here. A significant site in polar exploration, Novaya Zemlya also offers a number of opportunities for you to trace the routes of famous explorers and reflect on the region’s history.