Russia's Ring of Fire
Russia's Ring of Fire 13 days aboard Spirit of Enderby
The Russian Far East is the where the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' is at its most dramatic with amazing landscapes of often live volcanoes from the Kuril Islands to Kamchatka. It is also a region rich in land, marine and avian wildlife.
Note. Local landing charges of US$500 cash apply to this itinerary
- Dramatic volcanic scenery
- Whales, sea otters, sealions and other marine mammals
- Myriad land and marine birdlife
- Abundant flora
- Transfers on arrival and departure to and from ship
- All meals on board ship
- All excursions shown in itinerary
ITINERARY12 Nights 13 Days
- Day 1 | Sakhalin Island
- Day 2 | Kunashir Island
- Day 3 | Iturup Island
- Day 4 | Chirpoy and Urup Islands
- Day 5 | Simushir and Yankicha Islands
- Day 6 | Matua and Toporkovy Islands
- Day 7 | Second Kuril Strait, Atlasova and Onekotan Islands
- Day 8 | Bukta Russkaya, Kamchatka
- Day 9 | Zhupanova River, Kamchatka
- Day 10 | At sea
- Days 11 - 12 | Commander Islands
- Day 13 | Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy
Transfer from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to the Port of Korsakov where you will board Spirit of Enderby.
As we cruise south-east across the Sea of Okhotsk our first seabirds could well include Tufted Puffin, Ancient Murrelet, Pelagic Cormorant, Black-tailed Gull and Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. We are also likely to see huge flocks of Shorttailed Shearwaters. We are also likely to encounter our first cetacenas of the voyage and these could include Dall’s Porpoise, Northern Mike Whale and Orca (Killer Whale).
Kunashir is the largest island in the Kuril chain. We plan a landing in the Kurilsky Reserve and will explore an extensive area of woodland, where there are some good walks and birding. This afternoon while we are at sea there are great bird watching opportunities.
This morning we land at the small settlement of Kurilsk from where local buses/trucks will take us into the volcanic highlands to thermal hot pools where you can enjoy a soak or go birding. Possible species include Brown Dipper, Arctic Warbler, Japanese Robin, Pine Grosbeak and Japanese Grey Bunting.
Chirpoy and Urup Islands
This morning depending on weather we will either Zodiac cruise or land on Chirpoy Island where there are some dramatic volcanic landscapes and headlands covered in breeding seabirds. This afternoon's landing on Urup Island is a chance to stretch your legs on an extended walk, beachcomb and look for Sea Otters or birds in the forest behind the beach.
Simushir and Yankicha Islands
Enter the flooded caldera at the northern end of Simushir Island where a once top secret Soviet submarine base lies abandoned. In the surrounding area look for the Siberian Rubythroat, Eurasian Nutcracker, Pine Grosbeak and Japanese Grey Bunting. Our visit to Yankicha Island is likely to be one of the highlights of the voyage as the number of alcids which breed here is incredible, with spectacular concentrations of Crested and Whiskered Auklets.
Matua and Toporkovy Islands
Today we plan to Zodiac cruise along the shores of Toporkovy Island where, once again, there are spectacular colonies of breeding seabirds. The island is named after the Tufted Puffin and we can expect to see large numbers of these rafting on the sea, as well as vast flocks of Crested Auklets, which can contain tens of thousands of individuals. There are usually good numbers of Whiskered Auklets here too, as well as the more localised Parakeet Auklet. We will also investigate the island’s cliffs as various species breed on these including Brunnich’s Guillemot and Red-faced Cormorant.
We hope to land on the island of Matua where there is an active volcano that last erupted in 2009. During the Second World War Matua was heavily fortified by the Japanese and there is a labyrinth of trenches across the island. This makes exploring somewhat challenging but we should still find a range of good birds with a decent chance of seeing Grey-tailed Tattler along the shore and Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warbler, Siberian Rubythroat and Black-faced Bunting in the scrubby trees which are now growing back across the island. Arctic Skuas also breed on the island.
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.
Bukta Russkaya, Kamchatka
In this deep fjord on the Kamchatka Peninsula we will look for the critically endangered Kittlitz’s Murrelet as well as Long-billed Murrelet. We may spot Kamchatka brown bears and hopefully, orcas and Steller's Sea Lions.
Zhupanova River, Kamchatka
We plan an extensive zodiac cruise here looking especially for Steller’s Sea Eagles as well as Pacific Diver, Far Eastern Curlew, Glaucous-winged Gull, Aleutian Tern and Yellow-breasted Bunting. We will also visit a major salmon fishery near the mouth of the river.
A day at sea sailing towards the Commander Islands. Enjoy lectures and briefings plus some good birding with Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel and Red-legged Kittiwake amongst the likely sightings.
During our time here, we will explore various sites on both main islands, Bering and Medny. Hope to see Rock Sandpiper, Mongolian Plover, Pechora Pipit and Grey-crowned Rosy-Finch, as well as the endemic subspecies of Arctic Fox. From zodiacs, we will look for several species of auklets as well as the Red-legged Kittiwake and marine mammals. Potential species include Sperm, Humpback, Northern Minke and Baird’s Beaked-Whales, as well as Orcas, Steller Sea Lions, Northern Fur Seals and Sea Otters. We include a visit to the small settlement of Nikolskoye and the local museum and if weather permits Commander Bay, where Vitus Bering was shipwrecked and is buried.
Disembark and transfer to the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy airport for onward 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.
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