Jewel of the Russian Far East 13 daysAboard: Spirit of Enderby
The Russian Far East, and in particular the Kamchatka Coast, is one of the least known and least travelled parts of the world. It is remote, but scenically beautiful and teeming with wildlife. This expedition cruise will take you to this amazing region in the autumn, when the vibrant colours and wildlife opportunities add to the spectacle.
Cruising from Anadyr to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy you will enjoy numerous landings along the Chukotka, Koryak and Kamchatka coastlines, and discover for yourself this untamed and beautiful landscape.
Note. Local landing charges of US$500 cash apply to this itinerary
- Spectacular autumn scenery
- Extensive marine, avian and land wildlife including Brown bears
- Dramatic volcanic landscapes
- History and culture
- Transfers to and from ship at arrival and departure
- All meals on board
- All excursions shown in itinerary
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Mike has more than 15 years of experience in the travel industry and continues to be inspired by the people, places and wildlife he discovers. His in-depth personal knowledge of a diverse range of destinations ensures your adventure itinerary will be a holiday like no other.
As Senior Travel Expert, Simon has an absolute wealth of experience in adventure travel in some of the most fascinating places in the world. With in-depth knowledge and fantastic organizational skills, Simon’s first-hand experience and genuine passion drive him to work to create your perfect itinerary.
With countless travel experiences and an enduring hunger for adventure, Zoe knows exactly what’s needed to craft a holiday of a lifetime. Her experience and generosity of spirit are legendary and she’ll help you build an itinerary that will make all your dreams come true.
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Arrive independently to Anadyr and join the transfer to the port to board your ship. After a warm welcome on board settle in to your home for the next 12 nights and join your expedition team on the bridge on the lookout for seabirds as your ship sets sail for your journey through the Kamchatka coastline.
Your first day will be a day of local culture as we visit 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. We explore the town which has an excellent museum, the road and tundra as well as visit the Arctic Circle.
Today will be spent exploring the coastline by Zodiac, searching in particular for the pods of walrus which frequent these marine wildlife-rich waters. Bukhta Gavrilla, or Gavrilla Bay, was named after Commander Vitus Bering’s ship, the St Gabriel, which was used for his first Kamchatka expedition, and the bay has an expansive beach that is often filled with seabirds. Behind the beach there is a lagoon where we can explore in search of sightings of waterfowl and waders.
Pika River and Meinypil’gyno
This morning’s itinerary will see us visit the delta of Pika River in search of more walrus sightings, before travelling to the small settlement of Meinypil’gyno in the early afternoon. Although recently regenerated by the Chukotka government, this village located on a 40km long shingle spit retains its cultural traditions. We will be warmly welcomed by the locals, and a village ensemble may well perform some of their traditional dances for us.
Along the Koryak Coast there are many beautiful fiords (bukhtas or bays) and none are more beautiful than Bukhta Natalii. This fiord has two smaller fiords that drain into it from the south and we will make a landing here to hike from one bay to another. This is great opportunity for scenic photographs and a good stretch of the legs as we enjoy a pleasant walk surrounded by the magnificent mountain landscapes and tundra vegetation.
The next stop on our journey will be Tintikun Lagoon, a spectacular fjord within the Govena Peninsula, and one of the most picturesque locations in the world. Much of the southern Govena Peninsula was recently made into a state reserve and it is home to a large population of brown bears. We will explore the area by foot in search of sightings of these elusive mammals.
Koryakskiy Reserve and Verhoturova Island
This morning we will be even further in to the heart of Brown Bear country as we reach the Koryakskiy Reserve. We will go bear watching through this undisturbed habitat which is frequently visited by Brown bears and is completely protected and rarely visited by humans.
This afternoon’s itinerary will bring us to Verkhoturova Island where we will go ashore to look for the myriad birdlife that abounds here including Common and Brunnich’s Guillemots, Tufted and Horned Puffins, Parakeet and Least Auklets. We will also visit some of the nearby rocky islets which are home to large haul outs of Stellar Sea Lions.
A few miles to the south of Verhoturova Island lies the much larger Karaginskiy Island where we encounter some of the first ‘forests’ of the voyage. This is a change from the tundra that we have seen, a sure sign that we are getting further south. Autumn is the best time for wild berries and we can marvel at the richness of the local flora, as much of it should be at its spectacular best.
As we reach the Commander Islands your adventure will continue in earnest. The Commander group is made up of two main islands, Bering and Medny, and over the course of your time here you will have opportunity to explore various sites on both of these islands. Exploring by Zodiac you will discover the fascinating natural and cultural history of the islands, including a visit to the local museum as well as the small settlement of Nikolskoye. If weather permits you may also be able to visit Commander Bay, where Vitus Bering was shipwrecked and is buried.
Wildlife sighting potential here is excellent, with the area being extremely rich in marine mammals. During your two days here you may spot Humpback, Sperm, Northern Minke and Baird’s Beaked-Whales, as well as Orcas, Steller Sea Lions, Northern Fur Seals and Pacific Sea Otters. As well as marine animals, birding here is fantastic, with likely sightings of several species of auklets as well as the Red-legged Kittiwake, Mongolian Plover , Pechora Pipit , Rock Sandpiper, and Grey-crowned Rosy-Finch. There are also good chances of seeing the endemic subspecies of Arctic Fox.
Today’s excursion will take us to Olga Bay, in the heart of the world famous Valley of the Geysers in the Kronotskiy Reserve. Exploring by Zodiac and on foot we will go in search of the large numbers of Gray Whales that frequent the area and are usually quite friendly to visiting boats. The rising volcanoes in the background and the lush Kamchatka forests which come right down to the beach will provide a beautiful setting to explore real Kamchatka wilderness.
Zhupanova River and Bukhta Bechevinskaya
The last full day of your expedition will be a great day for birding. This morning you can enjoy a zodiac cruise on the scenic Zhupanova River looking especially for Steller’s Sea Eagles as well as Pacific Divers, Far Eastern Curlews, Glaucous-winged Gulls, Aleutian Terns and Yellow-breasted Buntings.
During the night of day 12 the Spirit of Enderby will have entered Avacha Bay, which is one of the greatest natural harbours in the world. After disembarkation a complimentary transfer to the airport or to a central hotel will be provided.
A view from Above
The Spirit of Enderby was built in Finland as a Russian oceanographic survey ship and is still registered in Vladivostok under her original name of Professor Khromov and has a mostly Russian crew. The ship is fully ice strengthened for use in Arctic and Antarctic waters. Renamed Spirit of Enderby by Heritage expeditions, who lease the ship, it was fully refurbished in 2009 and has accommodation for up to 50 passengers in a mixture of suites and cabins, many with private facilities. There is an open bridge and deck policy and public areas including a dining room, lecture theatre, bar, lounge and library, small hospital and sauna.
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