Alaska and Russian Far East in Luxury
Alaska and Russian Far East in Luxury 18 days aboard Silver Explorer
This unique North Pacific itinerary sails from Alaska to Japan, taking in the rarely visited scenic and wildlife-rich Aleutian and Kuril Island archipelagos. A truly memorable and exciting expedition voyage in luxurious surroundings.
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 >
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 >
- Spectacular and varied scenery
- Prolific land, marine and avian wildlife
- Exciting Zodiac excursions and landings
- Follow the footsteps of traders and explorers
- Highly qualified expedition team
- Full board accommodation including beverages
- Excursions and activities, including explorations by Zodiac
- Complimentary expedition gear: backpack and water bottle on every voyage
- Personalised service with a butler for all suites
- Inclusive room-service, select wines, spirits and soft drinks throughout the ship
- Free WIFI throughout the ship
- Onboard Gratuities
ITINERARY17 Nights 18 Days
- 1 | Seward
- 2 | Holgate Glacier & Chiswell Islands
- 3 | Kukak Bay & Geographic Harbor
- 4 | Semidi & Chignik
- 5 | Unga Island
- 6 | Dutch Harbor
- 7 | At Sea
- 8 | Kiska Harbor
- 9 | Attu Island
- 10 | At Sea
- 11 | Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy
- 12 | Ruskaya Bay & Utashud Island
- 13 | Atlasova Island
- 14 | Matua Island & Yankicha Island
- 15 | Chirpoy Island
- 16 | Tyuleniy Island
- 17 | Korsakov
- 18 | Otaru
Embark and set sail
Holgate Glacier & Chiswell Islands
Kenai Fjords National Park’s famous Holgate Glacier is a spectacularly active river of ice. The surrounding glaciated landscape paints a dramatic portrait of the rugged mountains in contrast to the cold blue ice of the glacier. Periodically loud cannon-like blasts emanate from the glacier, and some are accompanied by calving events off the ice front.
The Chiswell Islands are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Small bays, inlets and sea cliffs are populated by innumerable seabirds including black-legged kittiwakes, pelagic cormorants, horned and tufted puffins, as wells as guillemots, auklets and murrelets.
Kukak Bay & Geographic Harbor
Katmai National Park is known for 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.
Geographic Harbor is at the head of Amalik Bay in the Katmai National Park. 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. The waters around the harbour are also known to be fishing grounds for seals, otters, countless seabirds, and whales. .
Semidi & Chignik
This stunning and nearly uninhabited archipelago is home to some of the largest populations of native and undisturbed wildlife in the United States. There are 2.5 million birds here, almost half the breeding seabirds of the Alaska Peninsula. Large numbers of seabirds including ancient murrelets, parakeet auklets, horned puffins, northern fulmars and jaegers (skuas), and over a million guillemots are on hand here. The surrounding sea is home to sea otters, sea lions, seals, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins and whales.
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 - this is a remote outpost at the doorstep of the Aleutian Island chain and offers up a true taste of Alaskan outback life.
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 many of the houses have collapsed and are overgrown with brilliant fuchsia fireweed wildflowers. 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. .
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 US military base here during the Second World War. Walk the volcanic, green landscapes, and look out for wildlife, like bald eagles and marine mammals just offshore.
Enjoy on board facilities and watch for wildlife from deck.
Russian traders led by Vitus Bering in the mid-1700s were some of the first non-native explorers to visit Kiska Harbor. 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. The cliffs of Sirius Point are home to least and crested auklets, peregrine falcons and Laysan and black-footed albatrosses.
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.
Crossing the dateline and losing a day
Our entry into Russian territory. This is a frontier town with a backdrop of volcanoes and a very Russian feel.
Ruskaya Bay & Utashud Island
South of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy is the 15 km long Ruskaya Bay. A river, used as a source of freshwater in former times, meanders through the valley and with our Zodiacs we will have to see how far we can explore, or if we walk to the small stands of trees found there.
Three small islands form Utashud and seem to be the remnants of a former volcano raising 80m out of Vestinik Bay. Although the island is deprived of forest, fragments of giant petrified trees have been found on its shores. Utashud is one of the richest islands on the southeastern side of Kamchatka in terms of wildlife. The island is notable for its population of sea otters, Steller’s sea eagles, brown bears, harbour seals, spotted seals, grey whales and at least 10 species of seabirds islands.
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.
Matua Island & Yankicha Island
Matua is home to one of the Kuril’s most active volcanoes, with more than 14 documented eruptions in the past 250 years. Singing Eurasian bullfinches, Siberian rubythroats, ravens, eye-browed thrushes and some very active Peregrine falcons are among the birds that can be spotted from the upper plateau of Matua either along dirt roads, or in dense thickets of alders. Matua was a Japanese military base during WWII. The Japanese inhabitants captured geothermal heat from the volcano to keep the runway open during winter. The newest building on uninhabited Matua is a tiny Russian Orthodox Church with room for four or five people inside.
Yankicha is distinct in having at its centre a caldera that is accessible by small boat only during high tide. Inside this extraordinary lagoon are fumaroles and hot springs. Fortunate visitors may encounter an Arctic fox or the rare whiskered auklet. Ashore it is also possible to see Arctic warblers and Middendorff’s grasshopper warblers. From the sea, the number of auklets around the island is truly incredible.
The oftentimes fog-shrouded coasts of Chirpoy Island teem with a profusion of wildlife including Steller sea lions, northern fulmars, kittiwakes, puffins and auklets. Whales, and specifically orcas, have also been seen around Chirpoy. The dramatic volcanic nature of the island is apparent in the subtly shaded layers of sediment flanking the sides of the active Snou volcano.
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.
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.
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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