Russian Far East - Luxury Extended Expedition
JOIN 'THE URBAN BIRDER' David Lindo IN ANTARCTICA!
JOIN 'THE URBAN BIRDER' David Lindo IN ANTARCTICA!
Russian Far East incl. Kuril Islands in Luxury 24 days aboard Silver Explorer
A superb extended itinerary on board the luxury expedition ship, Silver Explorer, travelling up the scenic Kuril Islands archipelago and on to Kamchatka. Expect to see myriad wildlife including brown bears, rare marine mammals and divers species of birds. A nature lover's paradise.
- 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
- 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
ITINERARY24 Nights 25 Days
- Day 1 | Otaru, Japan
- Day 2 | Korsakov
- 3 | Tyuleniy Island
- Day 4 | At Sea
- Day 5 | Yankicha Island
- 6 | Lovyshki & Makanrushi Islands
- 7 | Atlasova & Utashud Islands
- 8 | Ruskaya Bay
- 9 | Zupanova River
- 10 | Komandor Bay
- 11 | Severozapadniy Cape & Nikolskoe
- Day 12 | Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy
- Days 13 - 14 | Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy
- Day 15 | Zupanova River
- Day 16 | Komander Bay
- Day 17 | Severozapadniy Cape and Nikolskoe
- Day 18 | At Sea
- Day 19 | Yuznaya Bay and Tintikyn Lagoon
- Day 20 | Peter Bay & Bogoslaf Island
- Day 21 | Anastasiya Bay
- Day 22 | At Sea
- Day 23 | Yttygran Island & Proliv Senyavina Hot Springs
- Day 24 | Providenya
- Day 25 | Nome
Once all guests have embarked, a mandatory safety drill will be conducted before Silver Explorer leaves Otaru. You will then be introduced to important members of the crew and your Expedition Team. Afterwards we have a sail away cocktail while we depart on our spectacular extended expedition.
Tonight we invite you to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers, and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
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. History also suggests that there may have been a significant Japanese population here at one time with reports of a Japanese religious temple on record. .
Tyuleniy means “seal” in Russian and during the summer months, tens of thousands of seals and 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.
Our lecturers will take this day at sea to present lectures, seminars, and discussions about the Russian Far East and the impact human exploration has had in the different areas we have seen and intend to visit.
If you would like to relax, you can make use of the Spa, the Connoisseurs Corner, use the Fitness Centre or simply take in the fresh air on the Sun Deck as you try to spot the unique wildlife and birdlife that abounds in this remarkable region. Enjoy lunch al fresco and meet with new friends for a cocktail.
Yankicha is a fascinating place. It is actually a flooded volcanic caldera, accessible only by Zodiac and only during high tide. Once inside the magnificent lagoon, we can still see – in the fumarole fields and hot springs – traces of the tremendous forces that created the island long ago. The island is also home to thousands of Crested Auklets and we may catch a glimpse of an Arctic fox or even the rare and elusive Whiskered Auklets during our nature walks.
Lovyshki & Makanrushi Islands
The Lovyshki Islands are comprised of clusters of rocks grouped together, making them a natural home to huge populations of sea mammals and birds such as northern fur seals and Steller sea lions,pigeon guillemots, smaller dark grey water birds with white wings and bright red feet, may also be spotted as they swim around the rocky outcrops of the islands.
Makanrushi is another uninhabited volcanic island. North of the Evreinov Strait, It is a roughly rectangular island with almost 50 sq. kilometres. As there are no sandy beaches, but mostly steep cliffs, we will intend a ship or Zodiac cruise along the shore and hope to have good views of the island’s highest peak.
Atlasova & Utashud Islands
The near-perfect cone of Alaid volcano dominates Atlasova Island with its 2000mpeak. 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.
Three small islands form Utashud and seem to be the remnants of a former volcano raising 80m out of Vestinik Bay. Utashud is one of the richest islands on the southeastern side of Kamchatka in terms of wildlife, 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.
South of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy is the 15km 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 hike to the small stands of trees found there.
Northeast of Petropavlovsk, on the eastern side of the Kamchatka Peninsula, is the mighty Zhupanova River. Strewn with ever changing shallows and sand bars, the 160km long river is used year-round by rainbow trout. At the mouth of the river is a fish processing factory that is busy with local salmon during the summer season. Kamchatka brown bears also like salmon and there is a high chance of spotting a Steller’s Sea-Eagle fishing the river.
On the east side of Bering Island is Commander Bay and Vitus Bering’s final resting place on this windswept isolated island after his ship, the St Peter, was wrecked. Despite trying to survive on seaweed and the now-extinct Steller’s Sea Cow, Bering and several of his men perished here. These days Commander Island is protected as a Nature Reserve. A small monument accompanies the graves of Bering and the men who died there. Close to the graves is a creek that runs into Commander Bay and teems with salmon. The surrounding area is lush with diverse vegetation ranging from elegant grasses to plump crowberries.
Severozapadniy Cape & Nikolskoe
Today we intend to visit a Steller sea lion rookery on the north side of Cape Severozapadniy. Apart from the sea lions Arctic foxes can often be seen.
Nikolskoye is a settlement of around 750 inhabitants established in 1826 by fur traders. This fishing village on Bering Island has colourful buildings and an Orthodox Church – one of Russia’s newest and one of the eastern-most. It has a small museum about the Aleut people and their culture, which also contains much information on Bering, as well as the bones of a Steller’s sea cow. .
We will spend the last day aboard Silver Explorer, sailing for Petropavlovsk, the only major city on the peninsula and one of the oldest towns in the Russian Far East. It is also the scientific and cultural centre of the region, with a museum of ethnography and natural history, an art school, a gold-domed Orthodox cathedral.
We will arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy in the late afternoon and spend the evening onboard.
Today we will be welcoming new guests to the Silver Explorer who will be joining us for the second part of our epic expedition.
On day 14 we will have an opportunity to explore Petropavlovsk. The town of Peter and Paul derives its name from the two sailing ships used by Vitus Bering when the great explorer reached Avacha Bay in 1740. It is the only major city on the peninsula and one of the oldest. Petropavlovsk is also the scientific and cultural centre of the region, and today local guides will take us on a comprehensive tour including the museum of ethnography and natural history, the art school, the gold-domed Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the marketplace.
In the evening we will depart for the second part of our journey.
By cruising the Zhupanova River with our highly manoeuvrable Zodiacs, we will have the ability to stop and go ashore wherever we expect to find the best birding and nature walks. Heading upstream, we are likely to spot up to 40 different bird species and may even see brown bears fishing for salmon in the river. Our main goal today is to spot Steller Sea Eagles. This majestic bird is known to frequent this area, and we hope to have good views of at least one of the eagles.
Another chance to explore the intriguing Commander Islands.
Severozapadniy Cape and Nikolskoe
As our new guests on the expedition visit this remarkable area for the first time you have the opportunity to explore anything you missed on your first visit, or simply relax on board in your unique surroundings.
While Silver Explorer cruises the Bering Sea, help our birders looking for albatrosses or learn a few tips for better editing your photographs by our onboard Photographer. Attend a lecture by one of our specialists and test your knowledge at Team Trivia.
Yuznaya Bay and Tintikyn Lagoon
During the early morning we will arrive at Yuzhnaya Glubokaya, where we might do a short Zodiac cruise and we will visit an abandoned fishing village that today is covered in wildflowers. This is an area well-liked by brown bears and activities will much depend on their presence.
Depending on tidal conditions we will either do a Zodiac cruise in Lavrova Bay or at Tintikyn Lagoon. Lavrova Bay features a Russian shipwreck dating back to the 1970’s and another abandoned fish camp where we offer a Zodiac cruise and short nature walk. The entrance to Tintikyn Lagoon is extremely tidal dependant, and we will only be able to enter at rising tide. The mountains surrounding the lagoon are well liked by brown bears and, in case we could enter the lagoon, we should be able to spot them grazing on the slopes.
Peter Bay & Bogoslaf Island
During the morning Silver Explorer will still be at sea, giving our lecturers time for a talk or seminar. Shortly before noon we will arrive at our destination. Named after one of the ships used for the Bering expedition, Pyotr Bay is a sheltered bay and offers two hikes: one near the lighthouse close to the entrance of the bay with little climbing and only a short distance to cover; the other at the end of the bay, heading towards two lakes situated well above sealevel. While Largha seals can be expected at the first landing, the other promises a longer hike, spectacular landscape and more birding.
In the afternoon we plan to cruise and explore Bogoslav’s shore by Zodiac. Arches and caves will be found along the coast around most of the island and we hope to see a walrus haul-out and Slaty-backed Gulls, Pigeon Guillemots, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Tufted Puffins, Horned Puffins, Common Guillemots, and Harlequin Ducks.
We plan to cruise and explore this region by Zodiac, hoping to see a walrus haul-out and seals. Birders will be on the lookout for Slaty-backed Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, Horned Puffins, Tufted Puffins, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and White Wagtails, White-fronted Geese, Bean Geese and Whooper Swans. Depending on the conditions we might go ashore by Zodiac for nature walks amid a landscape surrounded by conical peaks and jagged cliffs, separated by valleys with lakes, waterfalls and tumbling streams and glimpses of arctic voles and ground squirrels.
While Silver Explorer heads north you have another opportunity to learn more about this remote part of the world, its nature and its inhabitants. Attend a lecture, partake in a seminar, or perhaps watch our chef prepare a delicacy before lunch. There are many ways to spend a relaxing day at sea.
Yttygran Island & Proliv Senyavina Hot Springs
Yttygran offers a unique natural history experience on this voyage. An array of bowhead whale bones and rock arrangements is stunning – it is a place of great archaeological importance combined with natural beauty.
At the Proliv Senyavina Hot Springs, we will go ashore by Zodiac, enter a small lagoon and walk across tundra and some rolling hills to reach a stream with some hot springs. You can choose to either enter a small pool prepared by the local fishermen, or to go into the stream.
In Provideniya we will only stop for our outward clearance. While the Russian authorities make sure all formalities are completed, we will start our last day on board with final lectures, summing up our experiences during the last 23 days. Though today is technically considered Day 24 of our voyage, it is one very “short” day that includes approximately 19 hours of cruising the Bering Sea and crossing the International Date Line. We will actually arrive in Alaska before we left Provideniya –thanks to 24 hours gained crossing the International Dateline from west to east.
Arrive and disembark after breakfast.
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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