• Bukhta Natalia, Kamchatka | © J E Ross, Heritage Expeditions

Itinerary Summary

13 Days
May - Jun 2021
Small Group Safari
Duration Price When Destination Type
13 Days £6190 May - Jun 2021 Russia Small Group Safari
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Ring of Fire: Kamchatka and Kuril Islands

The Kuril Islands and Kamchatka Peninsula are situated prominently on the Ring of Fire, a series of volcanic belts and colliding tectonic plates that almost encircle the Pacific Ocean. Geothermal activity has created a beautiful and unique landscape here in Russia’s Far East, where brown bears, seabird and cetaceans thrive. Discover the Ring of Fire on board the Spirit of Enderby or the Akademik Shokalskiy.

Set sail on a truly unforgettable journey to the Ring of Fire in Russia’s Far East. Board your vessel in the capital of the Kamchatka region, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, before heading out from what some people consider as the best natural harbour in the world. With a combination of numerous shore landings and zodiac excursions, you will gaze upon incredible rugged landscapes and distinctive wildlife, including sea otters, orcas, Steller’s sea eagles, brown bears and more. From uncovering the spectacular marine life of the Pacific Ocean to searching for brown bears in dense cedar forests, the Kamchatka region of Russia is a new frontier for hikers, birders, photographers and adventurers alike.


What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Travel to one of the 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 ship-based expedition to the islands and coastlines of Russia's Far East

from $7,242 per person sharing, excluding international flights

Day by day

Day by day

Day 1


Today you will arrive in to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, a city which is the administrative, industrial, scientific and cultural centre of the Kamchatka Krai federal district. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be transferred to the vessel and will depart for the Commander Islands. You are welcome on the bridge as we sail from what some people consider to be the best natural harbour in the world. There is also some good birding as we leave the shoreline behind.

Overnight: Spirit of Enderby (D)

Day 2

At Sea

Spend a day at sea as you cruise towards the Commander Islands. Throughout the day we recommend you attend lectures and briefings, which will help prepare you for the days ahead. It is also a good time to spend some time on deck as the birding is incredible, with fork-tailed storm-petrel and red-legged kittiwake amongst the likely sightings.

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

Days 3-4

Commander Islands

There are two main islands in the Commander group, Bering and Medny. During your two days, you will have the chance to explore several sites allowing you to combine the best of the natural and cultural history. There is an excellent chance that you will see rock sandpiper, Mongolian plover, Pechora pipit and grey-crowned rosy-finch. If you are lucky you may even get a glimpse of the endemic subspecies: the Arctic fox. Time spent cruising in the Zodiacs can also be incredibly rewarding as the area is rich in marine mammals including sperm, humpback and northern minke whales. You may even be lucky enough to sight orcas, Steller's sea lions and Pacific sea otters!

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

Day 5

Zhuponava River, Kamchatka

Today we will spend several hours cruising in the Zodiacs taking in the scenic views along the Zhupanova River. Keep an eye out for sightings of Steller's sea eagles as the birds can often be found nesting in the trees adjacent to the river. Other highlights could include sightings of the Far Eastern curlew, long-toed stint, Kamchatka gull and Aleutian tern. In addition, it may be possible to visit a major salmon fishery on the river!

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

Day 6

Bukta Russkaya, Kamchatka

In this deep fjord on the Kamchatka Peninsula, you will look for the endangered Kittlitz’s murrelet as well as long-billed murrelet. Often at the entrance to the fjord, whilst cruising in the Zodiacs, you will encounter orcas and Steller's sea lions. At the head of the fjord we plan to take a short excursion where there is a chance you will spot brown bears!

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

Day 7

Second Kuril Strait, Atlasova and Onekotan Islands

Very early this morning you will pass through Second Kuril Strait, which is home to one of the highest densities of sea otters in Kuril Islands. You will be landing on Atlasova Island, great for birders and non-birders alike! You will have time to explore the remains of a Gulag and immerse yourself in the Russian history associated with them. Don’t forget to also keep your eyes peeled for the numerous species of wildlife in the area. You will spend the evening on Onekotan Island, giving you a chance to stretch your legs as you walk to Black Lake though an amazing field of wild flowers.

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

Day 8

Ekarma and Toporkovy Islands

Experience an early morning Zodiac cruise at Ekarma Island where you should be able to spot various alcides, tufted puffin and whiskered auklet. This afternoon will see you arrive at Toporkovy Island, situated in the shadow of the impressive active Matua Island volcano. Regular sightings include Harlequin ducks, red-faced cormorants, tufted puffins and Brunnich’s guillemots. When you go ashore you could encounter grey-tailed tattler, Middendorff’s grasshopper warbler and black-faced bunting.

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

Day 9

Simushir and Yankicha Islands

Today will see you enter a flooded caldera at the northern end of Simushir Island, where a once top-secret Soviet submarine base now lies abandoned. In the surrounding areas look out for Siberian rubythroat, Eurasian nutcracker, pine grosbeak and Japanese grey bunting. Your visit to Yankicha Island is likely to be a real highlight of the voyage due to the vast number of auks which breed here. Furthermore, there are spectacular concentrations of crested and whiskered auklets.

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

Day 10

Chirpoy and Urup Islands

Weather depending, you will either Zodiac cruise off land on Chirpoy Island this morning where there are some dramatic volcanic landscapes and headlands covered in breeding seabirds. The afternoon’s landing on Urup Island will give you a chance to stretch your legs as you embark on an extended walk and beachcomb on the search for sea otters and birds in the forest behind the beach.

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

Day 11

Iturup Island

The morning you will land at the small settlement of Kurlisk where local buses/trucks will take you into the volcanic highlands to the thermal hot pools, where you can enjoy a soak or go birding. Possible species encounters could include Kamchatka leaf-warbler, Japanese robin, Siberian accentor, pine grosbeak and Japanese bush-warbler.

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

Day 12

Kunashir Island

Kunashir is the largest island in the Kuril chain. The plan is to land in the Kurilsky Reserve and explore an extensive area of woodland, where there are some good walking routes and birding opportunities. Your afternoon will be spent at sea where there is a chance for birding as well as the opportunity to recap and pack.

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

Day 13

Sakhalin Island

Today signals the end of your voyage about the Spirit of Enderby. You will arrive at the Port of Korskov on Sakhalin Island where there will be transport to a central hotel and the airport located in the town of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk




This is a small group safari departing on two set dates in May-June 2021 and June 2022.

2021 - 24th May departure is on Akademik Shokalskiy and 26th May departure is on Spirit of Enderby.

2022 - 1st June departure is on Spirit of Enderby.

Please note there is an additional charge of a local payment of USD $500 per person.

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