Waterproof Cruises

Russia's Ring of Fire

Marvel at the beauty of snow-capped volcanoes, zodiac cruise through waters with thousands of Steller sea lions and enjoy incredible birdwatching as you sail from one remote island to the next.

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Expedition Cruise Kamchatka and Kuril Islands

The Kamchatka peninsula and Kuril islands each have their own story and endemic plants and birds. On this expedition cruise we go in search of the people, plants, animals and birds that make the Pacific Ring of Fire so unique. We'll visit flooded calderas, soaring bird cliffs and rivers where brown bears feast on salmon. Every day takes us to a new place for you to explore.
The Kuril Islands are in fact a vulcanic mountain ridge stretching from Hokkaido (Japan) to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, along an oceanic trench which reaches depths of over 8,000 metres. Nutrient-rich waters attract large numbers of marine life, from sperm whales and orcas to sea otters and steller sea lions. The islands geographical position forms a natural 'bridge' for migratory birds, offering incredible birdwatching opportunites. For birders, the undoubted highlights in the region are the many species of auks including tufted and horned puffins, parakeet, whiskered and rhinoceros auklets, as well as spectacled and pigeon guillemots.
The Kamchatka peninsula is dominated by a large number of volcanoes, dense forest and a vast expanse of tundra. We will choose several landing sites where we expect to find Kamchatka's unique wildlife. These locations might include some of the hundreds of salmon-rich rivers where the Kamchatka Brown bear congregates and steller's sea eagle patrol the skies. We also plan to visit several idyllic bays renowned for cetaceans such as the western grey whales, humpbacks and sperm whales.

This is a sample itinerary. We do our utmost to guarantee the best experience, unfortunately we have no control over the weather or wildlife behaviour. Ports of embarkation and disembarkation and sites may change depending on vessel and departure dates, weather- and ice conditions.

  • Kamchatka

    Voyages to this part of the Russian Far East typically start form the city Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, the administrative capital of Kamchatka. The city is set against a dramatic backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes, an epic scene to start off this voyage. On board you are welcome on the bridge as we sail from what some people consider the best natural harbour in the world. There is also some good birding as we leave the shoreline behind. We will visit several locations along the Kamchatka Peninsula before we make our way south towards the Kuril Island. The endless coastline of the peninsula is simply breathtakingin. High cliffs, deep fjords and wide bays are home to an array of wild animals that live here seemingly undisturbed.
    We might visit the fjord Bukhta Russkaya, where we will look for rare bird species like the Kittlitz’s Murrelet and Long-billed Murrelet. At the entrance of the fiord we hope to spot Orcas and Steller Sea Lions and we know that Brown Bears live in the mountains along the bay!

  • Kuril Islands

    One of our first landings on the Kurils will be on Atlasova island, a pyramid shaped vulcano rising up from the deep sea. This is a great location for both birders and non birders as there are the remains of a Gulag to explore and various bird species to spot.
    Later we will continue to Onekotan island, home to two large vulcano's. The peak of the Krenitsyn volcano is situated in the middle of Lake Koltsevoye, an ancient caldera. The last time it erupted was in the early 50’s. We hope to make a landing on the island and take a walk through the amazing fields of wild flowers that cover the mountainous landscape.
    During a zodiac cruise along the northern coastline of Ekarma island we should see various alcids and possibly also Tufted puffins and Whiskered auklets. A bit further south we will halt at Toporkovy island in the shadow of the active Matua island volcano. In the darkness you might see red hot lava flowing out of Matua’s cone, and during the day there's often a dark ash cloud covering its peak. On Toporkovy Island we can expect to find Harlequin ducks, Red-faced cormorants, Tufted puffins and Brunnich’s guillemots. Ashore we could encounter Grey-tailed tattler, Middendorff’s Grasshopper warbler and Black-faced bunting.
    We will possibly enter the flooded caldera at the northern end of Simushir island where a once top secret Soviet submarine base was located. At that time over 3000 people inhabited the island. Today, al that remains are abandoned buildings and rusted vehicles scattered across the bay. In the surrounding area we will look for the Siberian Rubythroat, Eurasian Nutcracker, Pine Grosbeak and Japanese Grey bunting.

  • Southern Kuril Islands

    Depending on the weather we might take a zodiac cruise or land on Chirpoy island, there you will see some dramatic volcanic landscapes and headlands covered in breeding seabirds. Later we might also attempt a landing on Urup island where you can have a chance to stretch your legs on an extended walk.

    We will head further south towards the larger island Iturup. The landscape and coastline of Iturup Island are completely different from what we have seen untill now. Steep white pumice cliffs with black beaches and volcanic hexagonal pillars surround the island. Moving inland we will find lots of waterfalls, including the highest in Russia (141 m), lakes and also hot springs. Again this is a great place for birdwatcing, with possible species including Brown dipper, Arctic warbler, Japanese robin, Pine Grosbeak and Japanese Grey bunting.

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