Sea of Okhotsk in Luxury
Sea of Okhotsk in Luxury 19 days aboard Silver Discoverer
A spectacular wildlife and scenery luxury expedition around the Sea of Okhotsk and the Kuril Islands in the rarely visited Russian Far East.
- Spectacular volcanic and tundra scenery
- Myriad birdlife
- Whales, sea otters and other marine mammals
- Bears and Arctic foxes
- Follow footsteps of explorers and traders
- Butler service in all cabins
- 24 hour in-cabin dining
- Ship-wide inclusive beverage service
- All shore and Zodiac excursions
- Full lecture programme
- Shipboard gratuities
ITINERARY18 Nights 19 Days
- Day 1 | Otaru
- Day 2 | Korsakov
- Day 3 | At sea
- Day 4 | Piltun Lagoon
- Day 5 | Iony Island
- Day 6 | Shantar Islands
- Day 7 | Malminskiy Islands
- Day 8 | Okhotsk City
- Day 9 | Talan Island & Zaviyalova
- Day 10 | Utkholok Peninsula & Kvachina River
- Day 11 | At sea
- Day 12 | Utashud Island
- Day 13 | Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy
- Day 14 | Atlasova Island
- Day 15 | Matua & Yankicha Islands
- Day 16 | Chirpoy Island
- Day 17 | Tyuleniy Island
- Day 18 | Korsakov
- Day 19 | Otaru
Embark and set sail.
We clear Russian immigration in this port on Sakhalin Island and spend some time exploring the town before driving to the capital city, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Here, enjoy a visit to the Orthodox church, newly built in traditional style without nails, the fascinating natural history museum and a bustling local market. Later, we are entertained by a local Cossack music and dance troupe.
Captain's welcome cocktail party and dinner tonight.
Cruising the Sea of Okhotsk looking for marine wildlife and birds from deck.
After lunch we have our first expedition Zodiac excursion close to Piltun Lagoon on Sakhalin Island. The entrance to the river is home to grey whales and we hope to see some feeding close to shore. We plan to land near a lighthouse and climb to the top for panoramic views. Birds to spot here include the spectacular Steller's sea eagle as well as Aleutian terns, pine grosbeaks, Siberian rubythroats and dusky warblers.
This small and isolated island is teeming with wildlife - Steller's sealions take up every available space on the rocks, whilst thousands of birds land on and circle around the cliffs. Birders' highlights are the whiskered, least and parakeet auklets along with northern fulmars and Brunnich's guillemots.
These islands are at the westernmost part of the Sea of Okhotsk and we look out for minke and orca whales, the latter hunting for the many species of seals that are in the area, including Largha, bearded, ringed and ribbon. Hopefully, we can land here and walk through the larch and spruce forests looking for Steller's sea eagles and maybe, bears.
Malminskiy Islands and Fedora Bay
These tiny islands teem with birds - here, we hope to see both horned and tufted puffins, ancient murrelets, rhinocerous, parakeet and crested auklets, common, Brunnich's and spectacled guillemots, as well as Steller's sea eagles.
In the afternoon, depending on sea and ice conditions, we hope to land at Fedora and take a walk through the larch and birch forest to a viewpoint.
This small city, with its unpaved streets was once the most important in the region and was where Bering set sail from on his two expeditions in the 18th century. There is an interesting local museum and, towering over the main square, a massive statue of Lenin. We may enjoy a local dance show here.
Talan Island & Zaviyalova Island
Talan Island is home to massive colonies of crested and parakeet auklets, horned and tufted puffins, ancient murrelets and spectacled guillemots. During the summer is is also where red foxes from the mainland compete with the Steller's sea eagles and prey on the birdlife, having crossed the ice from the mainland.
In the afternoon and looking out for bears, we plan a landing on Zaviyalova Island. Harlequin ducks and goosander can be seen here.
Utkholok Peninsula and Kvachina River
We now land on the western side of the Kamchatka Peninsula where the Utkholol and Kvachina watersheds are not only an important lowland tundra ecosystem but also host a massive diversity of salmon species, including massive steelheads.
The peninsula is also an important Ramsar site with many wetland birds to be seen.
Spend time on deck or just relax.
Utashud is actually three small islands and the rocks here are home to rookeries of Stejnerer's harbour seals and spotted seals as well as a large population of sea otters. Grey whales also feed off the coast and there are thousands of seabirds, including slaty-backed gulls and tufted puffins.
The largest city in the region and one of the oldest. Here, we will take a city tour, including the museum and the newly-built but very traditional Orthodox cathedral. Later, drive through a mixed deciduous forest to a sled dog kennel, where racing sled dogs are housed. Enjoy performances by a local folk group.
Atlasova is dominated by its almost perfect conical volcano, the highest in the Kurils. It was also the site of a notorious gulag in the last century, where women prisoners raised foxes for their fur in atrocious conditions. We will land on the black lava beach here and hope to spot buzzards, Eurasian wigeons, tufted ducks and maybe peregrines.
Matua and Yankicha Islands
We land on this volcanic island and take an extended walk along a track through alder thickets looking out for Eurasian bullfinches, Siberian rubythroats, ravens, eye-browed thrushes and peregrines. The island was the site of a large Japanese base during WWII and the runway was kept open using geothermal heat. Now, even though the island is uninhabited, there is a tiny wooden Orthodox church standing on the edge of the main plateau with amazing views.
Later, the ship sails to Yankicha where there is a well-known flooded caldera, only accessible by Zodiac at high tide. This visit is considered one of the highlights of the whole voyage - here, we will see fumaroles, hot springs and an amazing number of breeding auklets. Hopefully too, we will spot whiskered auklet, Arctic warbler and Middendorff's grasshopper warbler. there are also introduced Polar foxes, which live off the vast numbers of birdlife.
Early wildlife Zodiac cruise along the island's coast looking for Steller's sealions, northern fulmars, kittiwakes, puffins and auklets. Also hope to see orcas and other whales.
Nearby Snou volcano may also be active, giving a rare opportunity to view lava flowing into the sea.
Afternoon at sea.
Tyuleniy means 'seal' in Russian and has one of the highest concentrations of northern fur seals in the Russian Far East with tens of thousands competing for space with Steller's sealions.
Lots of birds to be seen too, including black-legged kittiwakes, slaty-backed gulls, tufted puffins, common guillemots and pelagic cormorants.
Korsakov, Sakhalin Island
A technical stop only in this direction to clear Russian formalities before we continue towards Japan.
Arrive and disembark
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.
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