Kolyuchin Island, Russia

Sep 08, 2019 - National Geographic Orion


At about 6:30 a.m. National Geographic Orion approached a small island just off the northeastern tip of Siberia. Our goal this morning was to cruise part way around the island to look for wildlife and find a calmer anchorage to launch the fleet of Zodiacs, for a day full of cruising in these amazing inflatable boats along this island’s shore!

We were not disappointed, almost immediately we saw walrus, countless sea birds, and “The Lord of the Arctic”: the polar bear! Morning and afternoon zodiac cruises gave us great looks at all these incredible Arctic creatures, from a “water-level” perspective. As our ship sailed, we looked watchfully for the spouting of great whales known in the area – and it wasn’t long at all before we managed to find a large cluster of humpback whales lunge-feeding on krill at the surface, some of which passed right under our bow! An amazing wildlife day!

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About the Author

Rich Kirchner

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Rich Kirchner has worked as a naturalist in Antarctica, Alaska, the Bering Sea, Baja and the High Arctic, including Greenland, the Canadian Arctic and Iceland. His 25 years as a professional wildlife photographer has granted him international publication credits included in magazines such as Geo Germany, Geo France, Natural History, Audubon, National Wildlife and Ranger Rick, as well as more than a hundred books.

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