Summary : The eastern seaboard of Russia dominates the North Pacific and yet very few people know anything about it, let alone have experienced it. Its isolation has protected one of its most valuable assets – its wilderness and to some degree, its wildlife. With an option of joining from Nome, Alaska, the expedition begins in Anadyr, the administrative center of the Chukotka Autonomous Region. Travel south along the Koryak and Kamchatka coastlines to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. Along the way, make numerous landings, including two full days at the Commander Islands. View thousands of birds that migrate here to take advantage of the phenomenal abundance of food.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
$7,200 to $10,300
You can join this expedition either in Anadyr or in Nome, Alaska. 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.
Those departing from Nome, Alaska, should arrive in Nome before midday and preferably the previous night.
All expedition members will arrive in Anadyr, the administrative center of the Chukotka region, and transfer to the Spirit of Enderby.
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. Explore the town which has an excellent museum, the road and tundra, as well as visit the Arctic circle.
This coastline is rich in marine mammals and one creature you 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 you can explore for waterfowl and waders.
Start the day with a visit to the delta of Pika River – a well known walrus haul-out and one of the few places in the southern part of the range that still get thousands of animals coming to rest on the beach.
Later in the day, visit Meinypil’gyno, a small settlement located on a 40 kilometer long shingle spit. It is a traditional village although renovated under the recent Chukotka government.Enjoy local hospitality from the village ensemble who perform some of their traditional dances for us.
Along the Koryak Coast, there are many beautiful fjords (bukhtas or bays) and none are more beautiful than Bukhta Natalii. This fjord has two smaller fjords that drain into it from the south; called Bukhta Pavla and Bukhta Petra (named after St Peter and St Paul by Commander Vitus Bering). Hike from one bay to another whilst surrounded by the magnificent mountain landscapes and tundra vegetation.
Much of the southern Govena Peninsula was recently made into a state reserve. There are a number of fjords 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 fortunate, you should see a number of them.
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, 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.
A few miles to the south from Verhoturova Island is the much larger Karaginskiy Island. Encounter some of the first "forests" of the voyage. This is a change from the tundra that you have seen so far depicting 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 would be at their best.
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 Medney) with two smaller islands Ariy Karmen and Toporkov. These islands are located at the western extremity of the Aleutian chain. Explore the islands through a combination of landings and Zodiac cruises. Plan to stop at the village of Nikolskoye. Visit the fur seal rookery at North-West Cape and Zodiac cruise around the impressive bird colony at Ariy Kamen. You may possibly visit the gravesite of Commander Vitus Bering or the remarkable Medny Island.
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.
This morning 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.
During the night the Spirit of Enderby will enter Avacha Bay which is one of the greatest natural harbors in the world. On the shores of the Bay is Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, the capital and administrative center 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 significant part of Russian Pacific Fleet which included a large submarine base. The city and region was "closed" to foreign visitors until 1992.
Disembark the vessel today. A complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central downtown hotel will be provided.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. These expeditions are subject to approval from various Russian Federal and Regional Authorities and may have to change depending on these approvals. Permits have been lodged for all the sites mentioned in the itinerary, depending on approvals these may have to be amended or substituted. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
You can join this expedition either in Anadyr or in Nome, Alaska. Those starting in Nome will fly by a charter flight and join the ship in Anadyr.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this tour operators programs, all passengers must purchase full medical and emergency evacuation insurance for the specific areas they will be visiting. The minimum coverage requirement is $100,000 for the tour operators programs. The policy provider, policy number and contact phone number must be provided prior to departure date. We also strongly recommend that all passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance which would include coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Cabin accommodations; all meals on board the ship; onboard lectures and access to public areas; shore excursions as described; services of expedition team; pre- and post-cruise transfers.
Airfare to and from your home to the port of departure and port of arrival; private charter flight from Nome to Anadyr; items of a personal nature such as beverages, laundry, and medical supplies; travel insurance; passport and visa fees; gratuities; landing fees; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © AR Russ, © JE Ross, © A Terrauds