Kamchatka & Chukotka 14 daysAboard: Spirit of Enderby
Join us as we cruise from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy to Anadyr across the remote and rarely explored Siberian coast to discover Kamchatka & Chukotka. This amazing coastline is rich in dramatic volcanic scenery in the south and rolling tundra in the north along with spectacular land, marine and avian wildlife. It also bears witness to the exploits of explorers such as Bering and the harsh 20th century history of oppression.
Please note: Port charges of US$500 in cash apply to this itinerary.
- Spectacular Land, marine & avian wildlife
- Dramatic and varied scenery
- Historical and cultural associations
- Kayaking option available
- Arrival and departure transfers to and from ship
- All meals on board
- All excursions shown in itinerary
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Arrive independently to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy and join the transfer, to what is considered by many to be the best natural harbour in the world, to board your ship. After a warm welcome on board settle in to your home for the next 13 nights and join your expedition team on the bridge on the lookout for seabirds as your ship sets sail for the Commander Islands.
The first day of your expedition will be a great day for birding as we plan to enjoy a morning 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. Good numbers of Largha Seals are also often hauled out on sandbars in the river.
In the late afternoon your ship will sail closer towards the Commander Islands and some time out on deck could reward with sightings of Laysan Albatross, Mottled Petrel and the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. The Kamchatka Trench can also be excellent for cetaceans and Blue Whales have previously been spotted on this crossing.
As we reach the Commander Islands this is where your adventure will truly begin. 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 Sperm, Humpback, 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 adventures bring us to Karaginskiy Island and another day of excellent birding opportunities. Our proposed landing site is a patchwork of boggy tundra, ponds and shingle spits where an interesting range of waders can be found including Pacific Golden Plover, Red-necked Stint and Red-necked Phalarope. We also hope to see Bluethroat and Pallas’ Reed Bunting.
Verkhoturova Island & Govena Peninsula
Today is another great day for wildlife encounters as you will have chance to explore Verkhoturova Island, home to some huge seabird colonies. You can take a short walk to the cliff top where you should be able to enjoy some fantastic views of Tufted Puffins, Brunnich’s Guillemots, Pelagic Cormorants and Black-legged Kittiwakes. Both Steller’s, Eider and Harlequin Duck occur here too and we may also see some Steller Sea Lions, as they are often hauled out on some offshore rocks.
Later in the afternoon there will be either a Zodiac cruise or landing on the Govena Peninsula where good numbers of Brown bears are often spotted.
Koryak and Chukotka Coast
These fascinating expedition days will be spent travelling along this relatively unknown and unexplored part of the coast, where the deep forested fjords are home to Brown bears, Red Fox and often mountain sheep and Kamchatka Marmots. Exploring by Zodiac through the many lagoons and shallow bays you are likely to see a wide array of birdlife including Steller’s Eider, Great Knot, Long-tailed Stint, Gyrfalcon, Siberian Accentor, Tundra Bean Goose and Asian Rosy Finch amongst others.
This area is also a stronghold of the Kittlitz’s Murrelet and we should see several during our journey. On previous expeditions your team have explored much of this coastline, documenting the distribution and abundance of many species. In 2011 they recorded a previously unknown breeding population of Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Working alongside researchers from BirdLife International and Birds Russia who will be travelling with you on your expedition, the plan is to revisit many of these areas to monitor changes and search for new breeding colonies. There will be unique opportunities for photography, for hiking and ‘birding’ in lands where literally only a few ‘westerners’ have ever been.
Meinypil’gyno, located on a 40km long shingle spit is the most important site in the world for breeding Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Here about fifteen pairs are monitored by members of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Recovery Taskforce. During our time here we will be guests of the Taskforce and if possible we may be guided to one of their monitored nests. The area is extremely rich in other wildlife, so we may also find Emperor Goose, Pacific Diver, White-billed Diver and Sandhill Crane. The lagoon entrance often has Largha Seal, Gray and Beluga Whales and a spectacular number of gulls.
Cape Navarin and Keyngypilgyn Lagoon
The final coastal explorations of your exciting expedition will take place in Cape Navarin where the coastline is vividly rich in marine mammals. During our time here we will be on particular lookout for walrus as there is a well-known haul out here and although they regularly move between locations the chances of spotting them are very high. We may also be lucky enough to spot Gray whales as good numbers also often congregate here.
In the afternoon we will move on to Keyngypilgyn Lagoon, north of Cape Navarin, where waterfowl and waders including Emperor Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, Brent Geese, Whooper Swan, King Eiders, Red Knots and Aleutian Terns are often spotted.
Port of Anadyr
Arrival in Anadyr in the early morning of day 14 will signal the end of your expedition and as we enter Anadyr Bay there is an excellent chance of rounding off your wildlife adventures with the sighting of more Beluga Whales in the bay. After breakfast it will be time to disembark and a complimentary transfer will be provided to either a downtown hotel or to airport for homeward flights.
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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