Waterproof Cruises

Jewels of the Russian Far East

The onset of autumn paints vibrant colours on the tundra against a backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes. The perfect setting for magnificent wildlife and supercharged birdwatching!

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Expedition Cruise to Siberia's Eastern Coast:
Kamchatka, Chukotka & Commander Islands

The eastern coastline of Russia dominates the North Pacific. Yet very few people know anything about it, let alone have visited this remote region of fire and ice. This isolation has protected one of its most valuable assets, its wilderness. Our voyage is dedicated to looking for birds and wildlife and we can expect to have some truly spectacular experiences.

The area was an important 'frontier zone' during the Cold War and was off-limits to foreigners for years. Even Russians had to get special permission to travel here. These limitations changed with Perestroika in the early 90's but that didn't make it more accessible. Even today, traveling through this part of Russia is still heavily regulated and almost impossible for independent travellers. There is little or no infrastructure like roads and hotels outside the larger towns of Petropavlovsk and Anadyr.
Our expedition cruises let you take a look inside the isolated Kamchatka and Chukotka regions. We will make numerous landings along the coastlines so that you can discover the untamed and beautiful landscape. We will select sites that few people visit such as river mouths, fiords, bays and islands that in our experience offer the best nature and wildlife opportunities. Late summer and early autumn are a great time to discover this Russian wilderness. The onset of autumn paints vibrant colours on the tundra, making this vulcanic landscape a picture perfect postcard.
Come with us and discover Siberia's Eastern Coast!

Note:
This itinerary highlights a few locations you might visit on an expedition to the Russia's Eastern Coast. The exact route is depending on the vessel and departure dates of your choice.

  • Kamchatka

    The Danish explorer Vitus Bering was the first to sail along Kamchatka's eastern coast in 1728. On this voyage we follow in his footsteps some 300 years later.
    We expect to find a wide range of unique birds and wildlife on the peninsula's coast. There is one bird in particular we hope to encounter on this voyage, the 'critically endangered' Spoon-billed Sandpiper. It is believed there are less than 200 pairs which make the annual migration to Northern Kamchatka and Chukotka to breed. Besides birds we will also be looking for sea lions, whales, brown bears and foxes who are known residents of this area.
    In the north of Kamchatka we find the Govena Peninsula, of which large parts are declared a state reserve called 'Koryaksky Reserve'. This protects bays like Bukhta Lavrova where we find an abandoned fishing setllement. This wildlife-rich and rarely visited location is surrounded by high mountain peaks and cliffs with waterfalls tumbling down. This area is home to Kamchatka Brown Bears, Steller’s Sea Eagles and Largha Seals. We expect to enjoy numerous wildlife encounters as we explore the ship wreck which run aground here in 1978 and explore the remains of the fish farm and factory on land.
    Verkhoturova island is a great location to spot Tufted and Horned puffins, Common and Brunnich's guillemots and also Parakeet and Least auklets can be seen. Steller sea lions are often seen on the nearby rocky islets. A few miles to the south we find the much larger Karaginskiy island. When coming from the north, this is where we encounter some of the first 'forests' of the voyage. A change from the tundra that we have been seeing and a clear sign that we are moving further south.

  • Chukotka

    The Chukotka coastline is rich in marine mammals and one creature we definitely hope to see is the walrus. They regularly move between different locations, which makes finding them a matter of luck, although we have seen them on several occasions on past expeditions. We hope to visit a well-known walrus haul out situated between Meinypil’gyno and Cape Navarin. Cape Navarin marks the locations where there was once a land bridge to North America, when sea levels were much lower. The strong tides around the cape attract an abundance of wildlife and it is not uncommon to see large numbers of seabirds and whales in search for food here.
    We might attempt a landing at Bukhta Gavriila. Behind the expansive beach there's a lagoon where we can spot waterfowl and waders. We may also visit the Chukotka’s oldest, and the Arctic’s southernmost, weather station which now sits abandoned.
    When possible, we will visit one of the small settlements of Chukotka. There we can enjoy local hospitality and might also get a chance to see a traditional dance performance.

  • Commander Islands

    On route to the Commander Islands there are several new species of birds to look for, including Laysan Albatross, Mottled Petrel and the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. The deep waters of the Kamchatka Trench are also an excellent place for spotting cetaceans.
    The wildlife-rich Commander islands were first discovered by commander Vitus Bering when his ship was wrecked here in 1741. He perished on the island along with many of his men. There are two large islands called Bering and Medny and two smaller islands. We intend to explore the islands through a combination of landings and zodiac cruises. We plan to stop at the village of Nikolskoye, visit the Fur seal rookery at North-West Cape, cruise around the impressive bird colony at Ariy Kamen and possibly visit the gravesite of commander Vitus Bering on Medny Island. Birding around the islands is excellent and we should find Rock Sandpiper, Mongolian Plover, Glaucous-winged Gull and Pechora Pipit.

  • Kronotsky Reserve & Zhupanova River

    On our way back towards the peninsula we head for Olga Bay. This beautifull bay with the Kronotsky volcano (one of the most scenic volcanos in Kamchatka) in the background, is part of the large Kronotsky reserve. The area around Olga Bay is frequently visited by large numbers of Grey whales and sometimes orcas are also spotted here! Depending on the wildlife we might take the zodiac for a whale-watching cruise or head along the coast to look for Brown Bears. No matter which animals we find, the rising volcanoes in the background will provide a beautiful setting for wildlife photographers.

    During our voyage we also plan to make our way up several rivers by zodiac. This allows us to explore a river habitat which is common in Kamchatka, including an impressive amount of wildlife. One of the most iconic species being the Steller's Sea eagle. They are known to nest in the lower reaches of the Zhupanova river, where good numbers of Largha Seals are also often spotted out on the sandbars. Futhermore we expect to find a variety of waterfowl and waders.

  • Koryak

    Koryaks are indigenous people of the Russian Far East, who live on the coastlands of the Bering Sea. The Koryak area is situated on the northern half of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Along the rugged coast there are many beautiful bays which we hope to visit. We plan to cruise to Bukhta Pavla and make a landing. On foot we will explore the magnificent mountainous landscape and tundra inland. Our hike will finish in another bay where the ship will pick us up again. In this aerea there's always the possibility of sighting Snow Sheep and Walrus.

Dates & Rates

Extensions

Call us today on +31 (0) 858 771 583