Wild Frontier of Siberia – Kamchatka & the Commander Islands


This is a true wilderness voyage along the eastern edge of one of World's greatest and most remote regions - the 1300km Kamchatka Peninsula. En route, daily landings and small boat excursions will go in search of the region's stunning wildlife: colonies of Pacific Walrus, noisy colonies of Sea Lions and Fur Seals, Sea Otters and the Brown bear (Grizzly). More than 10,000 Grizzlies call the Kamchatka Peninsula home, making the most of its abundant salmon runs and berries to fatten up for the harsh Siberian winter.



Throughout the voyage, guided by knowledgeable, a friendly and enthusiastic Russian crew, you will experience a landscape not only spectacular and beautiful, but also one of the World's most sparsely populated. Few have had the fortune to experience this breathtaking environment. You will explore a coast dominated by vast bays, glacier carved fjords and tundra in the north; and a landscape punctuated by the huge snow capped cones of Volcanoes and rich of forests in the south. You may even witness the eruption of one the peninsula's 29 active volcanoes - and the opportunity exists to visit the Valley of the Geysers within the 13000 km² Kronotsky Biosphere Reserve.

East of the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Commander Islands bear the name of Commander Vitus Bering, who first discovered them, and died here in 1741, shipwrecked, along with most of his crew.  The islands are fascinating not only for its history, but also for it's vast colonies of seabirds such as horned & tufted puffins, red-legged kittiwakes, terns, guillemots and fur seals that thrive here. Steller's sea eagles and gyrfalcons are the main hunting birds of the islands, and the eagles in particular can also be spotted along the coast of the peninsula.

In the south of Kamchatka one of World's rarest marine mammals, the Western Pacific Grey Whale, is often observed. Almost hunted to extinction in the 20th Century, now only 130 individuals are thought to remain. Although certainly not guaranteed (like all wildlife sightings) this is best area to find this, the rarest member of the grey whale clan. Humpback, Minke and Bowhead whales also migrate along this coast each year and the mighty Blue Whale, the Worlds largest creature is also sometimes spotted. Orcas have spotted on a fairly regular basis and sometimes approach close to the boats.

Kamchatka - a remote and remarkable wilderness to explore.

Itinerary

Sample 13 Day Itinerary

Please note that the following itinerary is draft only, designed to provide you with a flavour of this Arctic and sub-Arctic voyage. All polar voyages are expeditionary in nature and you should expect the actual route and places visited to deviate significantly from this itinerary. The actual path followed will depend upon sea and weather conditions, seasonal opportunities to sea wildlife, birdlife and scenery, decisions made by the expedition crew, Captain and local authorities - and in particular ice conditions which can vary considerably year by year.

For those departing Nome, Alaska your adventure begins with a flight across the Bering Sea and International Date Line, to the remote port of Anadyr.

Day 1: Embark your ship in Anadyr

Today you will fly into in Anadyr, the administrative centre of the Chukotka region, and transfer to your vessel.

Day 2: Egvekinot

You will spend the day in and around the town of Egvekinot on the shores of Kresta Bay. The town was built by Gulag prisoners who were then forced to construct a road to the mine. You will explore the town which has an excellent museum, the road and tundra as well as visit the Arctic Circle.

Day 3: Bukhta Gavrilla

This coastline is rich in marine mammals and one creature we will be looking for, in particular, is the walrus. The bukhta (or bay) was named after Commander Vitus Bering’s ship, the St Gabriel, of the First Kamchatka Expedition. Behind the expansive beach there is a lagoon we can explore for waterfowl and waders.

Day 4: Pika River and Meinypil’gyno

You will start the day with a visit to the delta of Pika River – a well known walrus haul out. Later in the day, you visit Meinypil’gyno, a small settlement located on a 40km long shingle spit. It is a traditional village although renovated under the recent Chukotka government; you enjoy local hospitality from the village ensemble who perform some of their traditional dances for you.

Day 5: Bukhta Natalii

We start the day with a visit to the delta of Pika River – a well known walrus haul out. Later in the day, we visit Meinypil’gyno, a small settlement located on a 40km long shingle spit. It is a traditional village although renovated under the recent Chukotka government; we enjoy local hospitality from the village ensemble who perform some of their traditional dances for us.

Day 6: Tintikun Lagoon

Much of the southern Govena Peninsula was recently made into a state reserve. There are a number of fiords included in the reserve; one of the most spectacular is Tintikun Lagoon which is one of the most picturesque locations found anywhere in the world. A large population of brown bears inhabits this area, if we are fortunate we should see a number of them.

Day 7: Koryakskiy Reserve and Verhoturova Island

You will start the morning in Kamchatka Brown Bear country, an undisturbed habitat within the Koryakskiy Reserve, where you will go bear watching. Brown bears frequently visit this area which is completely protected and rarely visited. In the afternoon you visit Verkhoturova Island where Tufted and Horned Puffins, Pigeon, Common and Brunnich’s Guillemots and also Parakeet and Least Auklets can be seen. On nearby rocky islets there is a regular non-breeding haul out of Steller Sea Lions.

Day 8: Karaginskiy Island

A few miles to the south of Verhoturova Island is the much larger Karaginskiy Island. Here you encounter some of the first ‘forests’ of the voyage. This is a change from the tundra that you have seen, a sure sign that you are getting further south. Autumn is the best time for the wild berries and you can marvel at the richness of the local flora, as many of them should be at their best.

 

Day 9 - 10: Commander Islands

The wildlife-rich Commander Islands were first discovered by Commander Vitus Bering when his ship was wrecked here in 1741. He perished on the island along with many of his men. The reports from those that survived led to a ‘fur rush’ and the settlement of the islands. There are two large islands (Bering and Medny) with two smaller islands Ariy Karmen and Toporkov. The plan is to explore the islands through a combination of landings and Zodiac cruises. The intention is to then to stop at the village of Nikolskoye. You can hope to visit the fur seal rookery at North-West Cape and Zodiac cruise around the impressive bird colony at Ariy Kamen. You may also possibly visit the gravesite of Commander Vitus Bering or the remarkable Medny Island.

Day 11: Olga Bay

Olga Bay is a part of the very large Kronotskiy Reserve, which also includes the world-famous Valley of the Geysers. The habitat has lush Kamchatka forests coming right down to the beach. The area around Olga Bay is frequented by large numbers of Gray Whales that are usually quite friendly to visiting boats. The rising volcanoes in the background will provide a beautiful setting to explore real Kamchatka wilderness.

Day 12: Zhupanova River and Bukhta Bechevinskaya

This morning you make your way along the Zhupanova River by Zodiac. This journey allows you to explore a river habitat which is common in Kamchatka. Steller’s Sea Eagles are known to nest in the lower reaches of the river.

Day 13: Disembark at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy

During the night your ship will enter Avacha Bay, which is one of the greatest natural harbours in the world. There will be a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central downtown hotel.

 

Dates

19 - 31 Aug 2019 - from US$ 6,990

Anadyr - Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy (13 days)
Landing Fees: US$500

Price Includes:

Land transfers to and from port hotel
All Meals on-board, coffee and tea
Guided Excursions as per itinerary
Comprehensive pre-departure material

Price Excludes:

International & Domestic Flights
Items of a personal nature
Alcoholic Drinks
Tips
Personal travel Insurance
Passports & Visas
Travel Insurance
Laundry

Array
View all