Voyage 9413

Silver Discoverer: Nome to Otaru

 

 

Day 1 - August 14, 2014 - Nome, Alaska

Once aboard, we enjoyed welcome drinks, lunch and then we gathered in the Explorer Lounge for a mandatory safety and lifeboat briefing. There was a time for a stroll before we were due to depart as stores were being loaded on board.


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Day 2 - August 16, 2014 - Provideniya, Russia

A wonderful museum, richly stacked with memorabilia of Provideniya’s whale- and walrus-hunting history. Afterwards, we were treated to a show of Yupik, Chukchi and Russian dancing and some fine throat singing in the town’s cultural centre.


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Day 3 - August 17, 2014 - Kuyvyeen & Enmelen Village, Chukotka, Russia

Early this morning the Zodiacs were lowered and we went for a cruise at Kuyvyeen, or Mys Ukihyun (Mys = Cape), a truly remarkable place. Towering cliffs of beige-coloured granite in various states of erosion provided the scenic backdrop; thousands of seabirds of several species provided the up-close and living entertainment.


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Day 4 - August 18, 2014 - Gabriela Bay

Once we got to within two miles of the whales, we could see that there was a fairly large pod of 15-20 all feeding together. Expedition Leader Kara made the call to lower the Zodiacs into the water and we got ready to do a Zodiac cruise with the pod.


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Day 5 - August 19, 2014 - Anastasia Bay and Natalia Bay

We reached a first lake and took a breath of fresh air. A scramble up another waterfall brought us to a second lake, where a surprise awaited in the form of a mother Brown Bear and its three cubs of the year. Seven bears altogether this afternoon!


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Day 6 - August 20, 2014 - Anastasia Bay and Natalia Bay

A once active, but now ruined lighthouse guards the entrance to the bay on this deserted coast. Again we launched the Zodiacs for tours of the bay and hikes. We saw a sow bear with two second-year cubs on a mountainside.


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Day 7 - August 21, 2014 - Tymlat Village

Meanwhile a delicious fish soup had been prepared over campfires and we were served exquisite salmon roe, blueberry and cloudberry jam, as well as dried salmon and reindeer meat.


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Day 8 - August 22, 2014 -  Nikolskoye, Kamchatka, Russia 

 

Nikolskoye was very much alive, and another fine cultural performance was enjoyed. The songs and dance to which we were treated reflected both the Aleut and Russian ancestries of the settlement’s inhabitants.

 


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Day 9 - August 23, 2014 - Chazma River and Kamenistaya Bay

In the afternoon, we offered a landing near a very picturesque waterfall at Kamenistaya Bay. A small wooden rangers’ hut in front of the waterfall made for great picture opportunities and our guests enjoyed stretching their legs on the black sand beach while I enjoyed keeping an eye on both ends of the beach from my Zodiac, in case some furry beast appeared once again.


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Day 10 - August 24, 2014 - Morzavaya Bay

The call was made for guests to prepare for a landing/hike along the river and over the tundra. Once ashore we walked toward the river mouth and begun working our way upstream along the riverbank.


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Day 11 - August 25, 2014 - Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Kamchatka, Russia

We visited the beautiful, new Russian Orthodox Church with its white walls, blue roofs, and soaring golden onion domes, each topped by the unique Russian Orthodox cross. Penitents and supplicants entered the doors respectfully, bowing and crossing themselves as they approached the altars with their candles.


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Day 12 - August 26, 2014 - Shumshu Island & Atlasova Island

Guests were taken on a longer ramble along the shores of the island by our ornithologists who identified several noteworthy species. Some Peregrine Falcons were spotted flying above the beach while buzzards were observed through the telescope.


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Day 13 - August 27, 2014 -  Matua Island 

 

The sky had cleared and the sun was out, offering us magnificent views of the volcanic landscapes for which the Kurils are famed. We made a landing and started the long walk to the upper plateau of Matua along a dirt road that cut through dense thickets of alders.

 


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Day 14 - August 28, 2014 - Ostrov Yankicha (Yankicha Island)

Despite the grey weather and the low hanging clouds this was a magic and scenic place to explore both for the group that made it to the ridge of the steep and grassy caldera and for the ones that preferred a Zodiac-cruise around the caldera.


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Day 15 - August 29, 2014 - Tyuleniy Island, Sakhalin


Little did we know at the time the treat we were in for, as the pod of Orcas contained not one, but two all-white individuals. This incredibly rare spectacle was enjoyed by us all as the animals – a female and calf – came alongside.


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Day 16 - August 30, 2014 - Korsakov, Russia


After a local welcome we boarded the buses on the wharf and made the one hour journey into the city of Sakhalin. Our first stop was at the beautiful Cathedral of the Resurrection.


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Day 17 - August 31, 2014 - Otaru, Japan

We were awed by the spectacular performance of the Ushio Darko drumming group -which means “tidal wave” in English. Very few of us could resist the temptation to give it a go, especially as we were strongly encouraged and assisted by the drummers.


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