Russia's Ring of Fire
Russia's Ring of Fire 13 days aboard Spirit of Enderby
Join us on this thrilling journey to explore Russia’s Pacific Ring of Fire - the Kamchatka Coastline, Kuril Islands & Commander Islands. Aboard the Spirit of Enderby, and on exciting Zodiac cruises, you will explore this fascinating geologically active region on the lookout for a diverse range of seabirds and whales. The Russian Far East is the where the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' is at its most dramatic and surrounded by spectacular landscapes and often live volcanoes, you will visit areas that are rich in history and beauty, along one of the world's most active plate boundaries.
A birding enthusiast’s paradise, the lands you will visit are home to a plethora of birdlife including Parakeet, Whiskered and Rhinoceros Auklets, Tufted and Horned Puffins, Spectacled and Pigeon Guillemots and Aleutian Terns, amongst many others. Aside from birds there are also fantastic opportunities to spot an abundance of other wildlife such as various whale species, including orca, as well as brown bears.
Note. Local landing charges of US$500 cash apply to this itinerary
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 >
- Dramatic volcanic scenery
- Whales, sea otters, sealions and other marine mammals
- Myriad land and marine birdlife
- Abundant flora
- Possible sightings of brown bears
- Kayaking option available
- Transfers on arrival and departure to and from ship
- All meals on board ship
- All excursions shown in itinerary
- Programme of lectures and talks
ITINERARY12 Nights 13 Days
- Day 1 | Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy
- Day 2 | At Sea
- Days 3 - 4 | Commander Islands
- Day 5 | Zhupanova River, Kamchatka
- Day 6 | Bukta Russkaya, Kamchatka
- Day 7 | Second Kuril Strait, Atlasova and Onekotan Islands
- Day 8 | Ekarma and Toporkovy Islands
- Day 9 | Simushir and Yankicha Islands
- Day 10 | Chirpoy and Urup Islands
- Day 11 | Iturup Island
- Day 12 | Kunashir Island
- Day 13 | Sakhalin Island
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 12 nights and join your expedition team on the bridge on the lookout for seabirds as your ship sets sail for the Commander Islands.
Today will be spent on board sailing towards the Commander Islands. You can take the time to prepare for the adventures ahead or spend some time on deck looking for likely sightings of birds including the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel and Red-legged Kittiwake which often follow the ship. You can also join one of the many interesting lectures and presentations delivered by your onboard experts and attend briefings on safety measures for your forthcoming land visits.
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.
Zhupanova River, Kamchatka
A great day for birding. Today you can enjoy an extensive 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. You can also visit a major salmon fishery near the mouth of the river.
Bukta Russkaya, Kamchatka
Another day of exploring by Zodiac as we cruise through this deep fjord on the Kamchatka Peninsula. As we sail through the scenic entrance to the fjord there are very high chances of seeing the Orcas and Stellar sea lions that frequent these waters, and a short excursion to the head of the fjord may very well reward with some sightings of brown bears. You can also be on the lookout for birds like the Kittlitz’s Murrelet and Long-billed Murrelet that are often spotted here.
Second Kuril Strait, Atlasova and Onekotan Islands
This morning we will make a landing at the northern end of Onekotan Island from where it is a relatively easy walk to Black Lake through an amazing field of wild flowers. On the lake a selection of wildfowl can usually be found including Greater Scaup and Goosander. In the scrub look out for Buff-bellied Pipit, Brown-headed Thrush, Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler, Siberian Rubythroat and Pine Grosbeak.
This afternoon we visit Atlasova Island where the tallest volcano in the archipelago can be found. On the shore near our landing site are the remains of a Gulag that you can explore. Beyond that you can wander as far as you can in the time allocated, as there are no brown bears on this island. Near our landing site there are some small marshy ponds where it might be possible to see Long-toed Stint and other waders. On some nearby low cliffs there is a colony of Redfaced Cormorants and out in the bay there is a chance of finding Harlequin Duck, Black and Whitewinged Scoters as well as Pacific Sea Otters.
As we continue north we will cruise through Second Strait in the Kuril Islands, this region has one of the highest densities of Sea Otters in the Kuril Islands.
Ekarma and Toporkovy Islands
Another excellent day for birding, today you can enjoy an early morning Zodiac cruise at Ekarma Island, where you are likely to see various alcids and get up close to Tufted Puffins and Whiskered Auklets. In the afternoon we will go ashore at Toporkovy Island, which lies in the in the shadow of the active Matua Island volcano, to look for Harlequin Ducks, Red-faced Cormorants, Tufted Puffins and Brunnich’s Guillemots. There are also good chances of seeing Grey-tailed Tattlers, Black-faced Buntings and Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warblers.
Simushir and Yankicha Islands
An exciting day of adventure and wildlife spotting awaits as we enter the flooded caldera at the northern end of Simushir Island where a once top secret Soviet submarine base lies abandoned. We will go ashore to look for the Siberian Rubythroat, Eurasian Nutcracker, Pine Grosbeak and Japanese Grey Bunting that frequent the area.
In the afternoon you will experience what many consider to be one of the highlights of the whole voyage, Yankicha Island. An area of unique and fascinating geology, Yankicha Island is home to an incredible array of alcids including spectacular concentrations of Crested and Whiskered Auklets.
Chirpoy and Urup Islands
In the morning we will have arrived at Chirpoy Island, where the dramatic volcanic landscapes and headlands are covered in breeding seabirds. Weather dependent we will either Zodiac cruise or land on the island to explore this unique area before sailing towards Urup Island in the afternoon.
On Urup Island there will be the chance to take an extended walk along the beach looking for Sea Otters or birds in the forest.
Enjoy a day of relaxation today as we land at the small settlement of Kurilsk. From here a local bus or truck will bring take you up into the volcanic highlands of the island where you will find beautiful thermal hot pools in which you can enjoy a relaxing soak, with phenomenal views as your backdrop.
If taking a dip doesn’t appeal there will be ample opportunities for birdwatching with possible sightings of Japanese Robin, Pine Grosbeak, Siberian Accentor, Japanese Bush-warbler and Kamchatka Leaf-warbler.
As your Russian Far East cruise comes to an end we have time for one more stop as we visit Kunashir, the largest island in the Kuril chain. Today you can enjoy a walk through the Kurilsky Reserve, an extensive area of woodland where there are more birding and scenic opportunities.
In the afternoon you will re-board the ship and set sail towards Sakhalin Island where your expedition will finish. Enjoy your final evening on board sharing tales with your shipmates and recapping on the adventures you will have had.
Arrival into the Port of Korskov on Sakhalin Island signals the end of our expedition and after disembarkation a transfer will be provided either to a central hotel or to the airport in the town of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk for onward or homeward flights.
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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