A wilderness area so vast it can be difficult to grasp, Northern Russia's Siberian forests and tundra cover more than 13 million sq km, or almost 10% of the Earth's land surface. These voyages take you to the some of the most scenically dramatic and biodiverse parts of this remarkable and inaccessible region: the Kamchatka Peninsula, Commander & Kuril Islands and Southern Chukotka; areas that until only recently where considered remote and 'closed' to outsiders.
This is a landscape still being born, a place of mountains and abundant and remarkable land and marine life. The entire region is one of most explosive and tectonically unstable on the planet. Sitting on Pacific 'Ring of Fire' this area boasts the highest active volcanoes in Eurasia. The Kamchatka Peninsula alone has more than 160 volcanic peaks, 29 of which are still active in this land of boiling volcanic lakes, geysers, and smoking valleys.
Further South in the Kuril Archipelago a huge chain of islands, stretching south to northern Japan is still boiling up from the ocean floor in the form of 56 major volcanic islands.
Wildlife & Marine Life
This is a land of surprising diversity and abundance, both on land and at sea. On land, Kamchatka has some of the largest populations of Brown (Grizzly) Bears on the planet. Wolverines, Lynx and Wolves all are found here, along with Musk Oxen and Reindeer in the North.
Between the land and water, Pacific Walruses, Steller's Sea Lions and Fur seals gather in large colonies. Polar Bears and Sea Otters are also often spotted at the Northern and Southern parts of the Russian Far East respectively.
This is also a fantastic area for whale watching with Blue Whales, Minke, Beluga, Bowhead, Humpback and even the extremely rare Pacific Grey Whales migrating through this region. There are thought no more 130 individuals remaining of this highly endangered Western Pacific population.
The region is of great importance for more than 220 species of migratory birds. Stellers Sea Eagles, the world's largest fish eagles, are a highlight making the rivers and estuaries their home. One of the world's rarest birds, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (perhaps less than 200 pairs remain worldwide) claims this area as one of it's last strongholds and the convergence North Pacific Ocean, the sea of Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea provide rich pickings for huge colonies of seabirds.
The Kuril Islands are home to Northern Fulmars, Tufted Puffins, Murres, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Auklets, Petrels, gulls, and cormorants. On many of the smaller islands in summer, where terrestrial predators are absent, virtually every possibly hummock, cliff niche or underneath of boulder is occupied by a nesting bird.