Russian Far East & Alaska in Luxury 18 days aboard Silver Explorer
Join us for a journey around the Kuril and Aleutian Islands. This is an incredible opportunity to witness the people and wildlife that thrive in this desolate and wild part of the world. Experience distinctive cultural presentations in Korsakov on Sakhalin Island and in Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Take Zodiac cruises to find whales, seals, and brown bears. Observe Bald Eagles up close in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Hike the side of Yankicha Island to see the magnificent caldera. Enjoy landscapes that have barely been touched by human hands and take in sulphur springs and fumaroles that will remind you of just how active the ground is beneath your feet. Throughout the voyage, learn about the geology, wildlife and botany of this spectacular area from lecture presentations offered by your knowledgeable on board Expedition Team.
With magical scenery and rugged beauty, it is hard not to be impressed by the Russian Far East. Seldom visited, you will not find any tourist traps here, rather seals, Brown bears and Red and Arctic foxes are far more likely to be your travel companions. The tiny island of Yankicha will be yours alone to discover during a hike but it will be the cultural delights of Korsakov that will win your heart.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
Special Guest Photography GuideChris was 32 when he finally realised he really did want to be a photo-journalist and walked out on his career in IT sales to become a wildlife photographer Read more >
- Spectacular and varied scenery
- Prolific land, marine and avian wildlife
- Exciting Zodiac excursions and landings
- Follow the footsteps of traders and explorers
- Full board accommodation on board ship, including all beverages
- Butler service in all suites
- Zodiac and shore excursions
- Highly qualified expedition team with experts in their field (marine biologists, ornithologists, historians and more)
- Programme of expert lectures
- Free wifi
- Complimentary expedition gear: backpack and water bottle on every voyage, Haglöfs parka for polar expeditions
ITINERARY17 Nights 18 Days
- Day 1 | Otaru
- Day 2 | Korsakov
- Day 3 | Tyuleniy Island
- Day 4 | At Sea
- Day 5 | Yankicha Island
- Day 6 | Atlasova Island
- Day 7 | Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy
- Day 8 | Attu Island
- Day 9 | Kiska Harbor
- Day 10 | At Sea
- Day 11 | Seguam Island
- Day 12 | Dutch Harbor & Baby Islands
- Day 13 | Unga Island
- Day 14 | Chignik & Aghiyuk Island
- Day 15 | Uyak Bay
- Day 16 | Kukak Bay & Geographic Harbor
- Day 17 | Kodiak
- Day 18 | Seward
Embark Silver Explorer in the early afternoon and familiarise yourself with your luxury surroundings.
You may wish to arrive a day earlier to explore this small harbor city west of Sapporo. Famous for its many hills and a nearby ski resort, the town has been an important trade and herring fishing center. A wide canal that led from the port to the old town’s warehouses has been maintained for touristic purposes and the old stone or brick-built warehouses have been beautifully converted to restaurants and boutiques.
Korsakov is used as a technical stop for ships clearing in and out of Russia. In addition to being a port of call for these formalities, the city was once home to an Ainu fishing village frequented by regional traders and early Russian expeditions.
Tyuleniy means “seal” in Russian and during the summer months, tens of thousands of seals and Steller's sea lions haul ashore here during the breeding season and many thousands of young black pups all jostle for space on the crowded beaches that flank the small rocky island. Alongside the marine mammals, black-legged kittiwakes, slaty-backed gulls, tufted puffins, common murres and pelagic cormorants summer on the busy shores in the thousands. Cruise around this island in the Sea of Okhotsk by Zodiac.
Enjoy the numerous on-board facilities, attend lectures & presentations and watch for wildlife from deck.
Yankicha Island is the southernmost islet that makes up Ushishir Island. A caldera formed at its center is accessible by Zodiac at high tide. Here, it is possible to hike to the highest point of the island and take in impressive views of the sea and caldera below. Near the landing site there are fumaroles and hot springs that bubble up from the tectonic plates moving beneath the island. Lucky and observant visitors to the island might even spot an Arctic fox.
The near-perfect cone of Alaid volcano dominates Atlasova Island with its 2000m peak. It is the highest volcano in the Kuril Islands and over time generated the black lava beaches and the eroding Taketomi tufa limestone cone near the landing site. At one time a women’s prison, or gulag, was located on Atlasova. The women, many of them political prisoners during the Soviet rule, were sent here to raise foxes for fur. Peregrine falcons can sometimes be spotted flying above the beach, while buzzards, Eurasian wigeons, and tufted ducks have all been observed on the island.
Our entry into Russian territory. This is a frontier town with a backdrop of volcanoes and a very Russian feel.
On Day 8 we gain a day by crossing the Date Line.
On a world map Attu Island marks the westernmost point of the United States. It is also the site of the only WWII battle fought on North American soil. Today the island is an ornithologist’s paradise visited by an array of birds migrating through as they come or go to Asia with the seasons - Peregrine falcons, Lapland longspur and Aleutian Canada geese can be seen.
Russian traders led by Vitus Bering in the mid-1700s would have been some of the first non-native explorers to visit Kiska Harbor on Kiska Island in the Aleutian chain. The Japanese occupied the island during WWII and relics of war have been left behind in the harbor including a Japanese two-man submarine. The occupying force of 6,000 soldiers also left a Shinto shrine behind whose remains can still be visited today. Ashore there are ptarmigans, Lapland Longspurs and Bald Eagles. At a distance, the cliffs of Sirius Point can only be described as “magical” and are home to Least and Crested Auklets, Peregrine Falcons and Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses.
Enjoy the numerous on-board facilities, attend lectures & presentations and watch for wildlife from deck.
Seguam Island is made up of several stratovolcanoes in the Andreanof Islands group in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. The island contains two calderas, one of them having erupted as recently as 1993. The mountainous oval-shaped island covers an area of just over 200 square kilometers or 80 square miles. The stark beauty of this remote island is offset by the chilly surrounding waters known for occasional whale sightings.
Dutch Harbor & Baby Islands
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. Bald eagles are plentiful in Dutch Harbor. This area is frequented by eagles for the abundant fish present in the harbour and for the salmon running in local streams. The island was originally inhabited by Aleut people, and the town’s culture is also influenced by the Russian traders who frequented the area in search of sea otter and seal pelts. Dutch Harbor is an important fishing port made famous in the Discovery Channel television series, “The Deadliest Catch.” In addition, the effects of WW2 can still be felt in this dynamic and remote port town.
The Baby Islands are a group of small volcanic islands that are part of the Fox Islands grouping of the Aleutian Islands, located 1.2 miles northeast of Unalga Island. While surrounding waters can be challenging to navigate, the Baby Islands are worth the visit, especially for birders as the small islands (ranging from 980 to 3,280 feet long) are important nesting grounds for some species that are rarely seen elsewhere. Birders may be most excited to see the small black and white Whiskered Auklets. On the island, one can also find puffins, petrels, guillemots, murrelets, as well as many other bird species.
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 1960’s 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.
Chignik & Aghiyuk Island
Chignik is a fishing village on the Alaskan Peninsula and home for just under 100 year-round inhabitants. Most of the houses in the community are connected by a boardwalk that fringes a local stream and neighborhood kids can be seen riding their bicycles back and forth on its length. In the summer months the population doubles, as the fishing gets better and the town supports a couple of fish-processing plants. Chignik is a remote outpost at the doorstep of the Aleutian Island chain and offers up a true taste of Alaskan outback life.
The dramatic rock formations of Aghiyuk Island jut out of the water as one of the dramatic Semedi Islands. The Semedi Islands are part of Kodiak Island Borough and are located southwest of Kodiak Island, about half way between the Alaska Peninsula mainland and Chirikof Island. Along with Choiet Island, Aghiyuk is one of the largest islands of the group, all of which are uninhabited. Part of the Alaska Peninsula unit of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Aghiyuk is a great destination for spotting the beautiful black and white Horned Puffins.
Uyak Bay embodies the quintessential Alaskan experience, with tree-lined mountains coming directly to the waterline in picturesque perfection. Uyak Bay is located on Kodiak Island’s western side, where beautiful waterfront lodges host visitors interested in accessing some of the best fishing in the Kodiak archipelago. In addition to fishing, the diverse wildlife nearby attracts visitors wanting to see the Kodiak brown bear, as well as sea lions, eagles, puffins, seals and fox in their natural habitat. Visitors take in the wilderness to fully experience the beauty of this region.
Kukak Bay & Geographic Harbor
Geographic Harbor is at the head of Amalik Bay in the Katmai National Park, and the brown bears here are ubiquitous. Bears can be spotted digging for clams on the low tide, munching on berries, roots and grasses ashore or, most famously, fishing for salmon in the rapids of clear mountain streams. Not only the bears enjoy fishing in Geographic Harbor – keen anglers journey great distances to catch halibut, ling cod and rockfish in the bay. The waters around the harbor are also known to be fishing grounds for seals, otters, countless seabirds, and whales.
Katmai National Park is on the top of many “Best of Alaska” lists because of its otherworldly landscape, including 15 active volcanoes. In Kukak Bay it is possible to view the abundant wildlife and raw beauty of this magnificent scenery. Kukak Bay is well known for its concentration of bears and the salmon on which they feed, and this is one of the prime areas in this region for bear viewing.
Today, commercial fishing is king in Kodiak. Despite its small population—about 6,475 people scattered among the several islands in the Kodiak group—the city is among the busiest fishing ports in the United States. The harbor is also an important supply point for small communities on the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Peninsula.Visitors to the island tend to follow one of two agendas: either immediately fly out to a remote lodge for fishing, kayaking, or bear viewing; or stay in town and access whatever pursuits they can reach from the limited road system.
Arrive and disembark in the morning.
It is hard to believe that a place as beautiful as Seward exists. Surrounded on all sides by Kenai Fjords National Park, Chugach National Forest, and Resurrection Bay, Seward offers all the quaint realities of a small railroad town with the bonus of jaw-dropping scenery. This little town of about 2,750 citizens was founded in 1903, when survey crews arrived at the ice-free port and began planning a railroad to the Interior. Since its inception, Seward has relied heavily on tourism and commercial fishing.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. Our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. The Antarctica Trip was superb - WIldfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted - A truly memorable Experience Thank You Wildfoot
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