Summary : Marvel at spectacular natural landscapes, pristine tundra and massive volcanoes. Travel along the historic routes of explorers and traders. Be on the lookout for wildlife including the western grey whale and steller’s sea lion. Identify countless birds: puffins, guillemots, cormorants, steller’s sea eagle, brown-headed thrush, Siberian rubythroats, black-legged kittiwakes, and crested or whiskered auklets. Photograph a variety of wildlife including walrus, fur seal, otter, fox and brown bear. Cruise and explore remote villages by zodiac.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
$999,999,999 to $0
This afternoon you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and participate in a safety drill. Tonight we invite you to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travelers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
A leisurely morning at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures preparing you for Chukotka and the Russian Far East. Join the lectures and hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature.
During the late morning, approach Provideniya, and, after lunch and being cleared into Russia, start on a walking tour of this former military outpost. Many of the houses have been abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but those inhabitants that stayed behind seem to be optimistic that Provideniya will once again be an important port –most probably for the Northeast Passage. Visit the local museum, and be entertained by local Russian songs and dances. For those inclined to do more hiking, you can leave the town towards the south in direction of the cemetery accompanied by our knowledgeable Expedition Staff.
A Zodiac-cruise and visit to Plover Bay might follow in the late afternoon.
Enmelen Village is a remote Yupik and Chukchi settlement, where you will be warmly received by traditionally-dressed adults and children, as well as dogs. Strolling through the village, learn about the strongly subsistence-based existence of the residents. At the school, watch a fine performance of song and dance in beautiful handmade costumes. Try some of the local foods, smoked salmon being the most popular. A tiny museum displays a collection of artifacts that demonstrate the long history of marine mammal-use among people whose cultural integrity survived Soviet-era livelihood challenges.
Anadyr, the administrative center of Chukotka Autonomous Region, is home to approximately 13,000 people. Like many northern towns that have to deal with short summers and very long winters, Anadyr is painted in all colors of the rainbow.
One of the most impressive highlights of Anadyr is the Chukotka Museum, which has been recently renovated and holds an impressive collection of artifacts that include the most exquisite carvings of walrus ivory, baleen, mammoth tusk, stone and others. Theme displays portray objects from ancient excavations, as well as arts of modern Chukotka talents.
Another highlight is the beautiful Orthodox Church, which can definitely be nominated as one of the most impressive examples of Russian wooden architecture. Well preserved and neatly decorated inside with multiple icons and other symbols of orthodox faith, made entirely of wooden logs, this church certainly stands out.
On your way back to Alaska, cross the Dateline again. Take advantage and sleep in, or be on the outer decks to look for marine mammals and seabirds. Attend one of the lectures preparing you for the Pribilof Islands.
Today you will see two of the islands belonging to the Bering Sea Wilderness. At Hall Island we will spend the morning, using our fleet of Zodiacs to explore the rugged coast of this uninhabited island. Here we hope to witness the vast numbers of kittiwakes and guillemots that make their nest on the steep cliffs. Jacob’s Ladder and Lousewort will thrive between the auklet colonies. Be on the lookout for Arctic Fox, Horned Puffins and walrus that are regularly seen from the Zodiac.
During lunch, re-position to St. Matthew Island. Today you will step upon an Island few have ever even seen. Known as Alaska’s most remote location, and designated in 1909 by Teddy Roosevelt as one of America’s first nature reserves. The focus today is on botany and birding. Add McKay’s Bunting, Lapland Longspur, and various seabirds to your “life list”. At this time of the year plants are alive in purple, pink and blue hues. Another treat you may see is the adorable singing vole, endemic to St. Matthew, and the largest mammal on the Island, the Red Fox.
During the morning, cruise the Bering Sea enjoying a lecture about natural history of Alaska.
After lunch, take a guided walk to the Salt Lagoon, Town Cove and the Rift Point fur seal haul out. The bird cliffs and seal rookery are located at the eastern edge of the island. On the way, you will note the fish and crab processing plant near the water, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church standing above the town.
Low sloping green fields roll down to the water and cobble shores below. To check out the seals on the low side of the island you will have to use the seal blind – a narrow deck enclosed with wide slats of wood that allow viewers to peer out into the busy seal rookery. There are large sub-adult male Northern fur seals lying on the grass in front of the blind, passing time until they are large enough to stake out their own territory down on the water’s edge and collect a harem of females of their own.
On the far side of the blind, the view opens up to the ocean and St. Paul’s working waterfront. Observe sea lions barking, wailing, posturing and rushing one another, and pups waiting in groups for their mothers to return from the sea and fill their bellies with fat-rich milk.
Heading up to the bird cliffs you will be rewarded with stunningly close views of Tufted Puffins and Common Murres perched on the rocky ledges. It is not difficult to get great photos of the seabirds and even Arctic Foxes might be curled up on the rocks far below.
Together with the city of Unalaska, Dutch Harbor is a bustling community with about 4,000 residents. It is connected by bridge to the rest of Unalaska on Amaknak Island, and its name is frequently applied to the entire town. Famous for its fishing fleet and documentaries done about the catch of King Crabs out of Dutch Harbour, have a look at life on land and the different historical aspects of Unalaska and Amaknak Islands. During your city tour, visit the World War II bunkers and the spectacular Russian Orthodox Church. Keep an eye out for Bald Eagles!
Explore this Aleutian settlement which had been subject to a small gold rush. The village was eventually abandoned in the 1960’s and now has a somewhat somber appearance. Many of the houses have collapsed. From a distance, the church with the tower seems intact. Standing close you can see that only the roof is standing on the ground, the walls having collapsed. Great Horned Owls nest near the church. During a Zodiac-cruise in the bay kittiwakes, Double Crested and Pelagic Cormorants, as well as good numbers of Common Murres and Tufted Puffins can be seen.
Castle Bay is just around the corner from Chignik, a fishing village of just a few hundred inhabitants –much depending on the season. The name Castle Bay was quite aptly given, as the skyline of the mountains resembles turrets and towers of a castle. Zodiac-cruises will bring you close to wildlife, and, if conditions permit, hikes will be offered.
On Kodiak Island bears, birds and whales will be our guides. Bald Eagle, Kodiak Bears, marine mammals, Mountain Goats and Sitka Deer can all be found in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge! Use the Zodiacs and cruise the shore to observe the wildlife. There are rookeries with thousands of puffins and kittiwakes as well as the emblematic Bald Eagles. Enjoy whale watching for Humpback, Orca and Fin whales either from the Zodiac or from the ship.
Kodiak is the island where Vitus Bering’s expedition had a brief stop -with Georg Steller going ashore and recognizing they had reached the American Continent.
Katmai National Park is on the top of many “Best of Alaska” lists because of its otherworldly landscape, including 15 active volcanoes. Get up close to abundant wildlife and raw beauty; the scenery is magnificent at Geographic Harbour at the head of Amalik Bay, and the bears are ubiquitous. This is one of the prime areas in this region for bear viewing. The Expedition Team will lead a variety of natural history walks and Zodiac-tours in search of bears, sea mammals and birds.
Our on-board videographer will present his Voyage-DVD recounting all the different impressions seen and adventures had during your voyage.
Following breakfast, disembark the vessel.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Suite accommodations; onboard meals and entertainment; butler service; gratuities aboard ship (except spa); complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soda, water and coffee); 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Explorer and View Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Vista, Veranda, and Medallion Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; optional shore excursions; government fees and taxes; passport and visa expenses; some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars; laundry or valet services; items of a personal nature such as boutique purchases, medical care, and spa services; fuel surcharge may apply.