trip
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1
Discovery and Cruising
Activities
  • 20 days expedition crusing
Accommodation
  • 20 nights aboard Heritage Adventurer
Meals
  • 19 Dinners
  • 19 Lunches
  • 20 Breakfasts

21 Days$13950USD

Hit the trails with confidence

Flexible Cancellations
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COVID-19 safety measures
Read our Covid-19 travel policy and what we're doing to keep you safe

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: JRR

Trip highlights


  • Cruising the coastline of the Russian Far East
  • Koryakskiy Reserve is known as Brown Bear country where we will explore the coastline by Zodiac and go bear watching
  • Spotting sea birds cruising with the ship
  • Visiting the Commander Islands where we intend to explore the islands through a combination of landings and Zodiac cruises.
  • Olga Bay is frequented by large numbers of Grey Whales that are usually quite friendly to the visiting boats.

This journey presents the unique opportunity of travelling down the entire coastline of the Russian Far East. This is a chance to discover a region that, until recently, was ‘off limits’ to western visitors. The reindeer and Mountain Sheep will be feeding in preparation for the harsh winter while the Brown Bears, which will have fed extensively on berries in the early summer, will be concentrated on the rivers and creeks and feeding on salmon. Late summer/early autumn is one of the best times to discover this wilderness. The late summer sun and the onset of the autumn colours will make the landscape look like a picture postcard. We will travel south along the Koryak and Kamchatka coastlines to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. Along the way we will make numerous landings, including two full days at the Commander Islands. Our landings will focus on flora, fauna, and interactions with local people in genuine situations, enabling you to better understand their history and lifestyle.


Our expedition begins in Nome, Alaska’s most famous gold rush town. Make your way to the designated meeting point for your transfer to Heritage Adventurer (times and meeting point will be confirmed with your voyage documents) where the captain and expedition team will be waiting to welcome you aboard. You will have the opportunity to settle into your accommodation and familiarise yourself on board before joining your fellow expeditioners on deck as we set sail across the Bering Sea and International Date Line for Provideniya, Russia.

Meals:  D

After clearing Russian Customs and Immigration there will be an opportunity to explore this fascinating former Soviet military port and administrative centre followed by an expedition afternoon.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we plan to be at Cape Dezhnev, the northeastern most point of the Eurasian continent. This cape commemorates the accomplishment of the Cossack Semyon Dezhnev who was the first European to sail through this strait in 1648 (80 years before Bering did). On the cape is a lighthouse, a monument and the remains of a Border Guard base. If the weather and sea conditions are suitable we plan to land here and give you the opportunity to explore the area. A few nautical miles south of Cape Dezhnev we visit Lavrentiya village, home to Chukchi, Yupik and Russians. While Russian development here began in the late 1920s, Lavrentiya had been an indigenous settlement long before. Explore the town square, sample local delicacies and experience traditional cultural performances with the friendly locals.

Meals:  B,L,D

Yttygran Island is home to the monumental ancient aboriginal site known as Whale Bone Alley, where whale bones stretch along the beach for nearly half a kilometre. There are many meat pits used for storage and other remains of a busy whaling camp that united several aboriginal villages at a time. In one location, immense Bowhead Whale jawbones and ribs are placed together in a stunning arch formation. Gray and Humpback Whales are frequently seen around the island. This afternoon we plan to visit Bukhta Penkingney. This long fiord, cut into the coastline by glaciers, is a popular spot for whale watching. Exploring this scenic location we will be looking for wildlife including brown bear.

Meals:  B,L,D

As we sail across Anadyr Bay there will be lectures, opportunities to look for whales and walrus from the deck, relaxing in the ship’s bar and catching up with reading or downloading and editing photos.

Meals:  B,L

This coastline is rich in marine mammals and one creature we will be looking for, in particular, is the walrus. As the animals regularly move between locations, finding them can be a matter of luck, although we have had success here in the past. We plan to explore Bukhta Gavriila. The bukhta (or bay) was named after Commander Vitus Bering’s ship, the St Gabriel, from the First Kamchatka Expedition. Behind the expansive beach there is a lagoon and we may also visit Chukotka’s oldest, and the Arctic’s southernmost, weather station which now sits abandoned. Due to strong tides around Cape Navarin there is an abundance of food here and it is not uncommon to see large numbers of seabirds and Gray Whales congregating in the area. This afternoon we plan to visit the delta of Pika River – a well-known walrus haul out and one of the few places in the southern part of their range that sees thousands of animals coming to rest on the beach.

Meals:  B,L,D

Along the Koryak coast there are many beautiful bukhtas (bays or fiords) but none possess the dramatic allure and beauty of Bukhta Natalia. This fiord has two smaller fiords that drain into it from the south – called Bukhta Pavla and Bukhta Petra (Paul and Peter). They are named after Bering’s two ships of the first Kamchatka or Great Northern Expedition. We will cruise to the head of Bukhta Pavla and make an expedition landing. This will be a great opportunity to explore the “hinterland”, and you will be surrounded by magnificent mountain landscapes and tundra vegetation. There is a walrus haul-out on Bogoslova Island which guards the entrance to these fiords - we will check to see if the animals are ashore.

Meals:  B,L,D

Much of the southern Lorran Peninsula was recently made into State Reserve. There are a number of fiords included in the Reserve – one of the most spectacular is Tintikun Lagoon. This fiord was blocked by a large terminal moraine during the last period of glaciations. A shallow river has breached the moraine, allowing access to one of the most picturesque locations you will find anywhere in the world. We plan to explore the lagoon with Zodiacs, which we’ll drag into the lagoon while you walk up the river bank. There is a large population of Brown bears, and these should be feeding in and around the river mouths that drain into the head of the fiord (lagoon). There is also a good variety of waterfowl, and the lagoon provides easy access to various vegetation types.

Meals:  B,L,D

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. We may also see some Steller Sea Lions, as they are often hauled out on offshore rocks nearby.

Meals:  B,L,D

The Commander Islands sit at the western extremity of the well-known Aleutian Islands. There are two large islands (Bering and Medney) with two smaller islands (Arij Karmen and Toporkov). These islands are Russian territory, discovered by the explorer Vitus Bering. Bering and his men were shipwrecked here, and he perished along with many of his men. The reports from those that survived led to a ‘fur rush’ and settlement on the Islands. The Commander Islands were an important strategic military and Border Control post during the Cold War, but since the collapse of communism in 1991-1992 many of the people have moved away. We visit Nikoi’skoye, the one small village that remains, to meet some of the locals and visit the small museum, before investigating some of the known wildlife colonies, including a large number of seabird and seal colonies.

Meals:  B,L,D

Olga Bay is a part of the very large Kronotskiy Reserve, which also includes the world-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, as well as multiple bird species that live in this habitat. The seas around Olga Bay are frequented by large numbers of Gray Whales that are usually quite friendly to the visiting boats, if the conditions are right we will take a Zodiac whale-watching cruise. The rising volcanoes in the background here provide a beautiful setting to explore real Kamchatka wilderness. 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. The Kamchatka rivers (of which there are over 1,800) are important ecosystems that support a wide variety of wildlife. 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.

Meals:  B,L,D

If the weather is fine, fantastic views of the many snow-covered volcanoes that dominate the southern part of the peninsula will greet us as we sail up Bukhta Russkaya. Near the entrance of this 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 brown bears are not uncommon. During the night our vessel will enter Avacha Bay, one of the greatest natural harbours in the world.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we plan to spend the day exploring 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. There is the option to join our inclusive tour, or upgrade to join a tour to the Valley of Geysers – the second largest geyser field in the world – via helicopter.

Meals:  B,L,D

Early this morning we will arrive at the wildlife rich Ptich’i or Bird Rocks. The plan is to Zodiac cruise these fascinating formations where an abundance of birds, seals and Sea Otters reside. Sea Otters were hunted to almost extinction in Russia, but now number back to almost two-thirds of their historical range. Harbour and Largha Seals are often seen here as well as a healthy population of Tufted Puffns. We then plan to sail through the Second Kuril Strait between Shumshu and Paramushir Islands on route to Altasova Island where Alaid, the tallest volcano in the archipelago with an elevation of 2,340 metres, can be found.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we plan to make a landing at Onekotan Island, an uninhabited island comprising two stratovolcanos connected by a flat stretch of land and part of the Kuril Islands chain. Exploring the island you will find extensive evidence of fortifications built by the Japanese during World War II.

Meals:  B,L,D

After an early breakfast we plan to board the Zodiacs and cruise into a vast flooded caldera at the northern end of Simushir Island. Only a quarter of a century ago this was the location of a top secret Soviet submarine station where hundreds of mariners were based. This haunting reminder of the Cold War has now been completely abandoned and we can wander around what remains of the base, which is steadily being reclaimed by nature. Within the stunning setting of this huge caldera, we can expect to find a good range of species with one of the most common birds likely to be the spectacular Siberian Rubythroat which can often be seen singing from the tops of scrubby bushes. Over lunch we plan to cruise to Yankicha Island, the summit of a submerged volcano. Invariably this is one of the high points of the entire voyage as the number of alcids breeding here is truly incredible. Subject to weather and sea conditions, we will use the Zodiacs to circumnavigate part of the coastline and then enter the flooded caldera. The concentrations of Crested and Whiskered Auklets here are simply spectacular and we can also expect to get great views of Brunnich’s and Common Guillemots and both Tufted and Horned Puffns. We also stand an excellent chance of seeing Arctic Foxes that can be pretty inquisitive as they patrol the auk colonies looking for their next meal. As we return to the ship in the late evening many of the alcids will be returning to their colonies. Being surrounded by clouds of birds darkening the sky is an experience you will never forget.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we plan to anchor off Chirpoy Island where there are some dramatic headlands covered in breeding seabirds. Blacklegged Kittiwakes and Brunnich’s Guillemots are among the more numerous species that we are likely to find here. As we continue south towards Urup there is an excellent chance of observing Sperm Whale and Orca from the ship. Laysan Albatross, Ancient and Long-billed Murrelets, Brunnich’s Guillemot, Crested and Rhinoceros Auklets and Tufted Puffns are often seen in good numbers on this crossing. On an extended walk on Urup Island we will explore the scrubby woodland. Beachcombing and walking can be very rewarding here as there is the possibility of seeing both Largha and Harbour Seals, as well as Pacific Sea Otters.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we make our way to the community of Kurilsk. where local buses will take us into the volcanic highlands of Iturup. Passing through some spectacular scenery as we steadily climb up towards the Baranskiy volcano, there may be an opportunity to soak in the thermal pools. The higher altitude and different vegetation provides a great contrast to recent days. On our return to Kurilsk there should be an opportunity to explore the village on a nature walk with our expedition guides or do some further birding.

Meals:  B,L,D

We arrive at the Port of Korsakov on Sakhalin Island where we will clear Russian Customs and Immigration before setting sail for Otaru, Japan. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner and recap of our adventure.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we arrive in Otaru, a port city in Hokkaido known for glassworks, music boxes, sake distilleries and picturesque Otaru Canal flanked with shops and cafes built within repurposed 1920s warehouses. After breakfast and clearing Japan Customs and Immigration, there will be a complimentary coach to a central hotel or to the airport. To allow time for disembarkation procedures and travel from Otaru, we do not recommend booking flights departing before 13:00hrs. Note: During our voyage, circumstances may make it necessary or desirable to deviate from the proposed itinerary. This can include poor weather and/or opportunities for making unplanned excursions. Your Expedition Leader will keep you fully informed.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • All meals onboard the ship
  • Comfortable cabin accommodation on the voyage
  • All shore excursions as outlined in itinerary
  • Services of specialist expedition leaders and staff
  • All activities while on cruise including lectures, slide and film shows
  • Medical services (there is a resident medical officer and infirmary on board)

  • International flights
  • Bottled water, aerated and alcoholic drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc
  • Tips
  • Airport and departure taxes
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Mandatory landing fees USD$500

Cabins


Departure dates


Notes

1
This voyage will cross the international date line and therefore dates reflect a 22 day trip, however it is infact only 21 days in duration
2
Mandatory landing fees of USD500 not included in cabin cost

Dates or itinerary don't fit?

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Total Priceper person from

$13950USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Superior TripleUSD$14485
  • Superior Deck 4USD$18475
  • Superior Deck 5USD$18975
  • Worsley SuiteUSD$23475
  • Heritage SuiteUSD$32450
  • Mandatory Landing FeesUSD$500
*Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed Jewel of the Russian Far East trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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Responsible travel is at the heart of every program we offer as a fundamental and long held philosophy. When you book one of our 100% carbon offset adventures you’re supporting true sustainability in the protection of local communities, natural environments and wildlife.

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 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

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By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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