Summary : Ecologically diverse, starkly beautiful and superlative in every sense, this voyage shows a facet of Alaska that is rarely seen by the land traveler. Turn your lens skyward and photograph the plethora of sea birds that duck and dive for prey before your very eyes. With evening ice cruises and local welcomes, this is an expedition for those who seek travel off the beaten track.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
$9,300 to $31,800
Embark the vessel in the early evening.
Provideniya is a former Soviet military port at the southern limit of the Arctic ice pack. With slightly less than 2,000 inhabitants, many of whom are Yupik, it is the largest town and administrative center of the Providensky District. Started as a depot for the Northeast Passage traffic, it now is a port of entry to the Russian Far East and since the decline of the Soviet Union eco-tourism has boosted the local economy. The town has a Technical School and a fascinating museum with interesting and well-presented exhibits about the natural history and wildlife of the region. Additionally, displays highlight the housing styles and clothing of local Chukotka people from various villages in the area.
Go ashore by Zodiac to experience the Proliv Senyavina Hot Springs. Hike across tundra and some rolling hills to reach a stream with some hot springs. You can choose to either enter a small pool prepared by the local fishermen, or to go into the stream.
Yttygran offers a unique natural history experience on this voyage. An array of bowhead whale bones and rock arrangements is stunning – it is a place of great archaeological importance combined with natural beauty. An early morning landing will add to the magic and mystery of the place due to the soft hues and the muffled light conditions. For the more energetic passengers a hike up the steep nearby hill provides an excellent leg stretch.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, or catching up on your reading, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Like bookends, towering cliffs composed of light-colored granite and streaked by darker rock stand on each side of a large sheltered bay in the spectacular scenery of Cape Kuyvyveen. The sandy beach lies at the head of the bay with rolling tundra behind. The sheer granite rocks, distinct basalt caves and arches of the cape are home to thousands of Tufted Puffins that nest in rocky crevasses. Despite the cliffs on either side of the bay being quite close together, the adjacent terrains are slightly different and each attracts different species of birds. Thick-billed Murres, Glaucous and Slaty-winged Gulls, Parakeet Auklets and Red Phalaropes frequent the dramatic rocky formations while Common Murres, Pelagic Cormorants and Black-legged Kittiwakes line the cliffs and archways.
Hall Island is one of the most remote islands in Alaska. Every summer this small rock island, in the middle of the Bering Sea, comes alive as about a million seabirds gather to breed and nest. They cling shoulder to shoulder on every available rock ledge. The most common seabirds include blacklegged kittiwakes, common and thick-billed murres, auklets, cormorants and northern fulmars.
St. Matthew Island is an extremely remote island in the middle of the Bering Sea, more than 200 miles from the nearest Alaskan village. Even by Alaskan standards it is a lonely place. At the most southerly point of the 32 mile long island, at Cape Upright, the black sand and gravel beaches give way to massive sea cliffs that exceed heights of over 1,000 ft. These are home to countless nesting murres, kittiwakes, cormorants and other sea birds. In fact, reports of the island’s wildlife by the Harriman Expedition in 1899 convinced Teddy Roosevelt to include St. Matthew in a group of islands designated as America’s first wildlife refuges in 1909. Today, biologists from the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, try to visit St. Matthew every five years to monitor changes. The most famous story of this island is the case of the disappearing reindeer. In 1944, twenty-nine reindeer were brought to the island as alternative food supply for WWII troops. By 1963 there were over 6,000 animals. But only 3 years later, after a couple extremely harsh winters, numbers had shrunk to 42, and by the early 1980’s the total population was gone.
The city of Saint Paul is located on a narrow peninsula on the southern tip of St. Paul Island, the largest of five islands in the Pribilofs. These islands are located in the middle of the Bering Sea between the United States and Russia. St Paul’s lies 240 miles north of the Aleutian Islands, 300 miles west of the Alaska mainland, and 750 air miles west of Anchorage. The city of St. Paul is the only residential area on the island. The first non-natives to ‘discover’ St. Paul were Russian fur-traders in the late 1780’s, led by the navigator, Gavriil Pribylov. Today, this small city has one school (K-12), one post office, one bar, one small general store, and one church, a Russian Orthodox Church that is a registered National Historic building. In summer, this island is teaming with wildlife, including about 500,000 northern fur seals and millions of seabirds, including tufted puffins.
The crumpled peaks, and tranquil scenery, of Dutch Harbor belies its history as one of the few places on American soil to have been directly attacked by the Japanese - who bombed the significant US military base here during the Second World War. Located on a string of islands, which loops down into the Pacific from Alaska, a visit to this Aleutian Island destination offers comprehensive military history, and extraordinary ocean scenery. Hike the volcanic, gloriously green landscapes, and look out for wonderful wildlife, like bald eagles, as they survey the surroundings. You can also watch on in awe, as incredible marine mammals crash through the waves just offshore. Dutch Harbor, gives you the chance to sample some of the rich local fishing heritage.
The Aleutian island of Unga holds an ancient petrified wood forest and a more recent ghost town that was the site of a small gold rush in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The village was eventually abandoned in the 1960s and now has a somewhat somber appearance. Many of the houses have collapsed and are overgrown with brilliant fuchsia fireweed wildflowers. From a distance the church looks intact, but up closer it is apparent that the roof is standing on the ground, and the walls have completely collapsed. Great Horned Owls nest near the church and in the bay kittiwakes, Double Crested and Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murres and Tufted Puffins can be seen.
Castle Bay lies immediately west of Tuliumnit or Castle Point. The rugged sandstone tower and pinnacle formations give the point and the bay their names. The bay is several miles long with a entrance about two mile wide.
Larsen Bay is one of the hotspots of commercial and sports fishing on Kodiak Island’s western side. The village of Larsen Bay is home to one of the oldest standing canneries on Kodiak Island. Situated in a scenic valley at the mouth of a narrow fjord, the small village of Larsen Bay lies within Kodiak Island’s National Wildlife Refuge, which covers the southwestern part of Kodiak Island and is the starting point for scenic flights over the mountainous island. Wildlife near Larsen Bay includes Kodiak brown bears, seals and sea lions, as well as eagles and puffins.
The Chiswell Islands are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, and deservedly so. Small bays, inlets and sea cliffs are populated by innumerable seabirds including Black-legged Kittiwakes, Pelagic Cormorants, Horned and Tufted Puffins, as wells as guillemots, auklets and murrelets. The Chiswell Islands are blessed with towering cliffs and sea caves offering up spectacular scenery and a Steller sea lion rookery that bustles as the marine mammals commute to feeding grounds, socialize, and care for their pups.
Kenai Fjords National Park’s famous Holgate Glacier is a spectacularly active river of ice. The surrounding glaciated landscape paints a dramatic portrait of the rugged mountains in contrast to the cold blue ice of the glacier. On approach, the waters leading up to Holgate Glacier may be peppered with bits of ice and the crackling noise of ancient air bubbles being released from small bergs. Periodically loud cannon-like blasts emanate from the glacier, and some are accompanied by calving events off the ice front. Gulls frequently sit on the small icebergs while harbor seals ply the icy waters in search of their next meal.
Disembark the ship after breakfast.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Kayaking will be offered complimentary and will run on a lottery system. Guests cannot pre-book the kayak tours. Participation requires good physical condition and right of participation is reserved. The kayak guides will make the final determination if a guest is fit to participate. Kayaking will be weather dependent. Minimum age 16. Guests should know how to use a rudder on a kayak.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Utilize the ship's new Photo Studio as a hub for the multifaceted enrichment program. With both private and group lessons, guests can learn to master the art of digital photography through the Academy, which provides an array of specialty workshops for both beginners and pros.
Shipboard accommodations; Wi-Fi onboard ship (1x device per guest for Vista-Deluxe Veranda; 2x devices per guest for Medallion-Owner's suites); kayaking (lottery system); parka; backpack; one voyage highlights USB per cabin; most meals onboard ship; butler service; most beverages onboard ship; gratuities onboard ship (except spa). Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites: receive laundry service throughout the voyage, 1x dinner for two in La Dame, and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals onboard at La Dame Restaurant unless mentioned above as included; some alcoholic premium beverages; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry (unless mentioned as included) and spa options; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises