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Kamchatka & Chukotka - Russia's Ring of Fire

Tour Code: RUS02

A 15-day holiday, including a 12-night voyage through the remote volcanic landscapes of Kamchatka and Chukotka in search of Brown Bears, Walrus, huge seabird colonies, cetaceans, Sea Otters and the enigmatic Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

dates & prices to be confirmed Land Only Price: £ SRS: £


No tour summary is currently available. Please read the detailed description or download the tour itinerary.

Food

All included in the price except for lunches and dinners in Moscow, Petropavlovsk and Anadyr.

Accommodation

For this voyage Naturetrek has exclusively chartered the 'Spirit of Enderby', a comfortable 50-berth expedition vessel. Twin-bedded cabins with shared shower and toilet are included in the tour cost, cabins with private facilities are available from an extra £495 per person. Please refer to the detailed trip itinerary for a full price list. In Moscow we use a comfortable airport hotel with private facilities.

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Moscow

Day 2 Fly Petropavlovsk

Day 3 Arrive Petropavlovsk and board 'Spirit of Enderby'

Day 4 Zhupanova River

Day 5/6 Commander Islands

Day 7/9 Kamchatka, Peninsula & Chukotka coastline including Meinypil'gyno

Day 10/14 Chukotka coastline including Meinypil'gyno

Day 15 Disembark at Anadyr and fly London

Few destinations can offer such an awe-inspiring combination of wildlife and breathtaking scenery as the Russian Far East. The spectacular volcanic landscapes of Kamchatka and Chukotka have largely escaped the ravages of mankind and to this day remain one of the few true wildernesses left on Earth. Here a wide range of exciting birds and animals, towering snow-capped volcanoes, virgin forest, pristine tundra and a rich indigenous culture await the wildlife enthusiast, and what better way to explore this land of fire and ice than by spending 12 nights aboard the ‘Spirit of Enderby’.  This vessel is an expedition ship that carries a maximum of just 50 passengers and is fully equipped with inflatable Zodiacs and a highly skilled crew. From this comfortable base we can expect to see a wonderful range of birds and mammals, such as millions of breeding seabirds (including a dozen species of Pacific auks), the mighty Steller’s Sea Eagle, Sea Otter, Brown Bear, Walrus, cetaceans such as Orca and Western Pacific Grey Whale and, hopefully, one of the world’s most critically endangered waders, the enigmatic Spoon-billed Sandpiper!

We begin our holiday with a flight, via Moscow, to the remote Russian community of Petropavlovsk, lying on the Kamchatka coastline and backed by some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Here we board the ‘Spirit of Enderby’ and begin our 12-night exploration of this seldom-visited and inaccessible region.

We will make our first stop at the Zhuponavo River, a wide slow-flowing waterway, edged by birch forest and backed by the numerous snow-capped volcanic cones that give the ‘Ring of Fire’ its name. The scenery here is truly breathtaking. Heading up the river in our Zodiacs we will not only be marvelling at the majestic landscape, but searching for the mighty Steller’s Sea Eagle and a variety of other birdlife including Siberian Rubythroat, Long-billed Curlew and Aleutian Tern. Spectacled Guillemots also occur along the coastline here, as do Long-billed Murrelets and the endangered Western Pacific Grey Whale.

The Commander Islands are our next destination, a remote group of small islands named after the early explorer, Commander Vitus Bering, who was shipwrecked and died here in 1741. The ‘Commanders’ are home to a small Aleut population, who are very welcoming to visitors, and a huge population of nesting seabirds. Here we will have our first opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of a North Pacific auk colony and enjoy such sought-after species as Tufted and Horned Puffins, Crested and Parakeet Auklets and Brünnich’s Guillemot, plus Pigeon Guillemot, Short-tailed Shearwater, Harlequin Duck and the rare Red-legged Kittiwake. Sea Otters are also common and can often be seen bobbing on their backs in the kelp, at the same time keeping their eyes open for the pods of Orcas which regularly patrol the rocky coastline.

Crossing back to the mainland, we will head north along the spectacular Kamchatka and Chukotka coastlines, stopping frequently to enjoy the wealth of wildlife that abounds within this remote and little-visited region. The tundra here is home to breeding Long-toed and Rednecked Stints, Sandhill Cranes, and Whitebilled Diver, whilst in the patches of birch woodland we will look for Red-flanked Bluetail, Arctic Warbler and Yellowbreasted Bunting. Since we are now deep within the ‘Realm of the Russian Bear’ we must also keep our eyes peeled for Brown Bears which are frequently seen along the shore. One of the many highlights of this cruise will be the opportunity to make a landing at Verkhoturova Island. This is a special place, and is one of the very few truly accessible seabird colonies along the whole Kamchatka and Chukotka coast.  Here we can sit and enjoy the spectacle of numerous Tufted Puffins just a few metres away, plus thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemots on the cliffs below and great flocks of Crested and Parakeet Auklets wheeling overhead.

The tundra surrounding the village of Meinypil’gyno is the most important breeding site in the world for the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Since the crew of the ‘Spirit of Enderby’ have a close relationship with the sandpiper researchers, our group will have special permission to visit a nesting site in the hope of seeing this rare and enigmatic wader.

Before concluding our voyage in the remote port of Anadyr, the most easterly town in Russia, we will look for Pacific Walrus at Cape Navarin. These formidable sea mammals haul out in large numbers along this stretch of coastline, although their favoured beaches do change from year to year. Then, as we near Anadyr itself, we must keep an eye open for a pod of ghostly-white Belugas, before finally disembarking from the ‘Spirit of Enderby’ and beginning our long journey home.

Crested Auklet (Paul Marshall)Pigeon Guillemots (Paul Marshall)Largha Seals (Paul Marshall)Guillemots on Arij Karmen Island (Paul Marshall)Rhinoceros Auklet (Paul Marshall)Birding on Kunashir Island (Paul Marshall)Iturup Island from the Spirit of Enderby (Paul Marshall)Sperm Whale (Paul Marshall)Arctic Fox (Paul Marshall)Killer Whale (Paul Marshall)Tufted Puffin (Paul Marshall)Whiskered Auklet (Paul Marshall)Tufted Puffin (Paul Marshall)Zodiac cruise of Ekarma Island (Paul Marshall)Northern Fulmars over Ekarma Island (Paul Marshall)Dactylorhiza aristata (Paul Marshall)Northern Fulmar (Paul marshall)Atlasova Island (Paul Marshall)Spectacled Guillemot (Paul Marshall)Kamchatka Peninsula (Paul Marshall)Kamchatka Peninsula (Paul Marshall)Kittiwakes on Arik Karmen Island (Paul Marshall)Laysan Albatross (Paul Marshall)Vestnik Bay (Paul Marshall)The Spirit of Enderby (Paul Marshall)Sea Otter (Paul Marshall)Zhuponavo River (Paul Marshall)Siberian Rubythroat (Paul Marshall)
K.R.
Greater Manchester
Vegetarian food on board was AMAZINGLY good. Leaders were friendly and approachable as well as knowledgeable.
N.R.
North Yorkshire
Special mention for Nick who was attentive, genuinely concerned that everyone was enjoying themselves and always cheerful.
S.R.
Somerset
Tim and Nick were knowledgeable, communicative, attentive and great fun.
D.B
Co. Cork
Of many fascinating aspects of wildlife, I enjoyed most close encounters with bears, Grey Whales and walrus. Best leaders so far, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and excellent social skills.
C.H.
Norfolk
An excellent holiday - well run and seeing all the species of birds and whales that we hoped to see.
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We will be running this tour in the near future but as yet have not finalised dates and prices. To register your interest and be added a waiting list to be informed when details are confirmed, please contact us or phone 01962 733051.

Visiting: Russia

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Paul Stanbury
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01962 733051

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Tour Reviews

Vegetarian food on board was AMAZINGLY good. Leaders were friendly and approachable as well as knowledgeable.
K.R., Greater Manchester