• Arctic Russia | © Aterauds Jewel
  • Arctic Russia | © Aterauds Jewel

Itinerary Summary

Duration
14 Days
Price
£5700
When
Aug - Sep 2021 & 2022
Destination
Russia
Type
Small Group Safari
Duration Price When Destination Type
14 Days £5700 Aug - Sep 2021 & 2022 Russia Small Group Safari
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Jewel of the Russian Far East

Cruise the rugged coastlines of Russia’s eastern seaboard, a remote and seldom-visited area that is known for its breathtaking landscapes and rich wildlife. Travelling in September, witness thousands of seabirds prepare for migration, along with the walrus, sea otters and Kamchatkan brown bears that call this region home.

Starting in the port town of Anadyr, located just below the Arctic Circle, journey south along the wild eastern coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. With numerous shore landings and zodiac excursions en route, you will witness incredible rugged landscapes and distinctive wildlife, including sea otters, walrus, Kamchatkan brown bears and a wide variety of bird species. From beautiful fjords and the Tintikun Lagoon to the bird colonies of the Commander Islands, this remote and untamed region is a fascinating destination for photographers, historians and adventurers alike.

 

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Travel to one of wildest and most remote areas of the world.
  • Witness Kamchatkan brown bears fishing along the river banks and dozing in the summer sunshine.
  • Experience colonies of seabirds numbering in the thousands.
  • Photograph the beautiful, rugged scenery of the Russian Far East.

Embedded Video Overview

A 13-day trip to the Kamchatka coast in Far East Russia

from $7,268 per person sharing, excluding international flights

Day by day

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Anadyr

Today you will arrive into Anadyr, the administrative centre of the Chukotka region located to the north of the Kamchatka peninsula. Upon arrival you will be introduced to your expedition team and fellow voyagers and transfer to the Spirit of Enderby, your expedition ship and home for the next two weeks.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (D)

Day 2

Egvekinot

Today you will head north to the coastal town of Egvekinot, built by Gulag prisoners during the 1940's. Egvekinot, on the shores of Kresta Bay, is only a few miles south of the Arctic Circle and you will have time to visit the museum and travel by Ural (a 6WD ‘go anywhere’ Russian truck) to the point where the Arctic Circle crosses the road to Lul’tin and then some distance beyond, so that you can see and experience the tundra habitat which dominates so much of Chukotka.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 3

Bukhta Gavrilla

This morning you will arrive into Bukhta Gavrilla, which gets its name from the St Gabriel, the ship of Commander Vitus Bering on his first expedition to the peninsula. The waters of the bukhta (bay) are rich in marine wildlife, especially walrus, and you will also explore a nearby lagoon in search of waterfowl and waders.

You may also visit the Chukotka’s oldest, and the Arctic’s southernmost, weather station which now sits abandoned. Cape Navarin marks the place where the land bridge to North America began when sea levels were much lower. Because of strong tides around the cape there is an abundance of food and it is not uncommon to see large numbers of seabirds and good numbers of Gray Whales congregating here.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 4

Pika River

This morning you will head into the delta of the Pika River, a great spot for observing walrus herds that haul out along the shoreline. During a Zodiac cruise along the river’s cliffs you can expect to see the rowdy spectacle of thousands of nesting Black-legged Kittiwakes, and may also see Harlequin Ducks, Pelagic Cormorants, Common Guillemots and Glaucous Gulls. During previous visits we have encountered Gray Whales so we will be looking for these as well.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 5

Bukhta Natalii

Continue sailing south along the Koryak Coast, looking out for Kamchatkan brown bears and passing scenic fjords and bays, including the stunning Bukhta Natalii. Head ashore to hike between the two bays of the Bukhta Natalii fjord, taking in the breathtaking mountainous surroundings and tundra vegetation and looking out for Snow Sheep, as they were often seen in the area. There is a historic walrus haul out on Bogoslova Island which guards the entrance to these fjords.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 6

Tintikun Lagoon

Today you will continue on to the Govena Peninsula, an area known for its spectacular fjords. In particular, the Tintikun Lagoon is one of the most scenic locations in the world, and is home to Kamchatka brown bears, Steller’s Sea Eagles and Largha SealsWe take the Zodiacs onto the lagoon and intend to make several landings with Eurasian Nutcracker, Dusky Warbler, Siberian Rubythroat and Siberian Accentor amongst the possibilities. The brown bears should be feeding in, and around, the river mouth that drain into the head of the lagoon.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 7

Bukhta Yuzhnaya Glubokaya and Cape Primetniy

We start the day with a landing on the remote, scenic shores of Bukhta Yuzhnaya Glubokaya near Novoolyutorka on Kamchatka Peninsula’s eastern coast. Landing near the base of a stream that cascades down the mountains in a series of falls and torrents, we will walk through alpine meadows and look for wildlife. Our path upwards will follow the edge of the stream above the trees where panoramic views of the fiord below can be enjoyed. After lunch we will sail south to Cape Primetniy, a reserve situated on Goveno Peninsula and nicknamed ‘Bear Gully’ due to the number of brown bears regularly seen. Zodiac cruising along the shores we will be looking for brown bears and, hopefully, observe some females with cubs. We will also look to visit a wrecked fishing boat now housing a breeding colony of Slaty-backed Gulls.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 8

Verkhoturova Island and at Sea

Verkhoturova Island has some huge seabird colonies which we plan to get close to by following a short, but steep trail to the clifftop. We should be able to enjoy some fantastic views of Tufted Puffins, Brunnich’s Guillemots, Pelagic Cormorants and Black-legged Kittiwakes. Both Steller’s Eider and Harlequin Duck occur here too, and we may also see some Steller Sea Lions, as they are often hauled out on offshore rocks.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 9

At Sea and Commander Bay

Making our way to the Commander Islands, we take the opportunity to learn more about this archipelago and its fascinating history with a series of lectures. This afternoon we plan to anchor off Bering Island, named after Commander Bering who had the misfortune of discovering this land when his ship was wrecked here in 1741. Exploring Commander Bay, we will walk to the graves of Bering and some of his crew who lost their lives during the long cold winter on this remote land and visit the site where they sought shelter. The reports from those that survived led to a ‘fur rush’ and the settlement of the islands.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Days 10-11

Commander Islands

Spend the next few days exploring the wildlife-rich Commander Islands, first discovered by Vitus Bering who is now buried on Bering Island, where his ship was wrecked in 1741. There are two large islands (Bering and Medny) with two smaller islands Ariy Karmen and Toporkov. These islands are located at the western extremity of the Aleutian chain. We intend to explore the islands through a combination of landings and Zodiac cruises. Our first stop will be the village of Nikolskoye, where we will visit one of the only museums in the world to display a skeleton of the famed (but now extinct) Steller’s Sea Cow. Birding around the village is also excellent and we should find Rock Sandpiper, Mongolian Plover, Glaucous-winged Gull and Pechora Pipit, with the possibilities on subsequent landings including Rock Ptarmigan, Buff-bellied Pipit and Grey-crowned Rosy Finch. After the village we plan to visit the fur seal rookery at North-West Cape and Zodiac cruise around the impressive bird colony at Ariy Kamen.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 12

Olga Bay and Zhupanova River

Sail westwards from the Commander Islands to the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, visiting the Kronotskiy Reserve, which encompasses the famous Valley of the Geysers. The habitat is quite different to what we will have been experiencing before with lush Kamchatka forests coming right down to the beach line. There is a possibility we will see brown bears and other forest fauna. Scenic Olga Bay is set against a backdrop of volcanoes, providing a beautiful setting for photography, and is often visited by large numbers of grey whales. If the conditions are right we will take a Zodiac whale-watching cruise.

This afternoon we make our way along the Zhupanova River by Zodiac. This journey allows us to explore a river habitat which is common in Kamchatka. They are especially important for salmon spawning – one of Kamchatka’s valuable natural resources. Steller’s Sea Eagles are known to nest in the lower reaches of the river and we are likely to see many young birds as well as a few adults still hanging around their nesting sites. There is also the possibility of spotting brown bears, Red Foxes and Musk Rats.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 13

Bukhta Russkaya, Kamchatka

Near the entrance of Bukhta Russkaya, an isolated fiord roughly 150 miles north of the southern tip of Kamchatka, there have been sightings of both the Long-billed Murrelet and the endangered Kittlitz’s Murrelet. There is also an excellent chance of seeing Sea Otters, Largha Seals, Steller Sea Lions and Orcas. We plan to make a landing at the head of the fiord where the birding can also be very rewarding with Lanceolated Warbler, Brambling, Common Rosefinch, Oriental Greenfinch and Rustic Bunting among the possibilities.

This afternoon, if weather permits, we have arranged a helicopter to transfer you to the huge, freshwater volcanic basin that is Kuril Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and reserve in the extreme south of Kamchatka. Home to a bounty of wildlife and one of the largest salmon spawning grounds in Kamchatka, the lake is also famous for the numbers of Brown Bears which bring their young to feed here. Exploring this wild-rich and remote outpost surrounded by the conical domes of lava islets under the guidance of the reserve’s rangers promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (B, L, D)

Day 14

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

Today marks the end of your voyage on the Spirit of Enderby as you wake up in Avacha Bay, one of the world's greatest natural harbours. On the shores of Avacha Bay is Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, the capital and administrative centre of the Kamchatka Region. The town was founded in the 1700s by Commander Vitus Bering during the Second Kamchatka Expedition. All through the Cold War it was home to a significant part of Russia’s Pacific Fleet which included a large submarine base. The city and region was ‘closed’ to all foreign visitors until 1992. After disembarking the ship, you will be transferred to the airport or town depending on your onward flight plans.

(B)

TRIP DETAILS

TRIP DATES & PRICES

This is an exclusive small group safari departing on set dates.

30th August - 12th September 2021

5th - 18th September 2022

Please note that the trip price excludes the cost of international flights.

Additional charges: $500 local payment per person.

This safari also offers an optional day '0' from Nome, Alaska to Anadyr, Far East Russia. This would take place on August 29th 2021 and 4th September 2022. 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. This private charter flight is optional and is not included in the price of the expedition.

Crater lake within Kamchatka's Maly Semyachik volcano, Sophy Roberts

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