Join us on a cruise around the Sea of Okhotsk, one of the least visited areas in the rarely visited Russian Far East. This voyage will offer dramatic scenery and marvellous opportunities for wildlife observation. With Okhotsk we visit a small town linked to Vitus Bering, with Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy we visit the cultural and political centre of Kamchatka, before heading south through the Kuril Islands, a geothermal wonderland of volcanoes and hot springs. During our voyage we will look out for whales, seals and huge populations of migratory seabirds. You can also learn about the history, geology, wildlife and botany of this spectacular area from lecture presentations offered by the knowledgeable onboard Expedition Team.
Piltun Lagoon, Sakhalin Island, Russia –
On the north-eastern shore of Sakhalin, the waters in front of Piltun Lagoon are known to have a grey whale population. Steller Sea Eagles and Aleutian Terns, as well as Pine Grosbeak, Siberian Rubythroat and Dusky Warblers frequent the area. A nearby lighthouse offers a panoramic view of the bay.
Iony Island, Russia –
The small and isolated island in the Sea of Okhotsk is home to a Steller sea lion colony, but great numbers of Northern Fulmars and Brünnich’s Guillemots will be the first sign of the island.
Sea lions take up every single space imaginable close to the water, guillemots and kittiwakes will circle the cliffs by the thousands and Whiskered, Least and Parakeet Auklets will be seen in the air and floating as rafts in the water.
Shantar Islands, Russia –
The Shantar Islands are in the westernmost part of the Sea of Okhotsk. The sea around these islands is frequented by minke whales and orcas. Several species of seals, including bearded, ringed, largha and ribbon seals can be observed as well.
Okhotsk, Russia –
The city of Okhotsk is on the banks of the Okhota River (giving its name to the town and the sea). For many years the most important port in the Russian Far East, the 19th century brought a decline and today there are only some 4,000 inhabitants. It was from here that Vitus Bering left for his two expeditions in the early 18th century.
Utkholok Peninsula and Kvachina River, Russia –
The Utkholok Peninsula at the western shore of Kamchatka produces a large percentage of all wild Pacific salmon and hosts the greatest diversity of salmon species on Earth. The Utkholok and Kvachina watersheds are among the most productive and best-protected steelhead rivers on the Peninsula. Apart from the salmon “riches” this is an important lowland tundra ecosystem of the western Kamchatka Peninsula and is one of Russia’s 35 RAMSAR sites.
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Kamchatka, Russia –
Petropavlovsk, the town of Peter and Paul, derives is named from the two sailing ships used by Vitus Bering in 1740. It is the only major city on the peninsula and is also the scientific and cultural centre of the region with a museum of ethnography and natural history, an art school, the gold-domed Russian Orthodox Cathedral and a marketplace.
Yankicha Island, Russia –
Yankicha is the southern part of Ushishir Island. The island is quite impressive — the southern part (Yankicha) has a caldera accessible only by Zodiac and only during high tide. Inside this extraordinary lagoon with its fumaroles and hot springs, one can still see traces of the tremendous forces that created the island long ago. The number of auklets breeding here is truly incredible.
Tyuleniy Island, Russia –
Thousands of Northern fur seals and Steller sea lions call Tyuleniy Island their home - the word tyuleniy means “seal” in Russian. The island has one of the highest concentrations of Northern fur seals in the Russian Far East. During the summer months the island is home to literally tens of thousands of seals and sea lions. A small group of houses is sometimes used by researchers assessing the sea lion and seal populations. There are so many seals on the beach that a landing has been prohibited, as there is simply no space available.
- Visit sites important to Vitus Bering’s exploration of the Russian Far East
Wildlife Watch List:
- Bearded, ringed, Largha and ribbon seals, Steller sea lions and sea otters
- Grey whales, blue whales, humpback whales, orcas
- Birds of note: Horned and Tufted Puffins; Ancient Murrelets; Rhinoceros Auklet, Parakeet Auklets, and Crested Auklets; Common, Brünnich’s and Spectacled Guillemots; Northern Fulmars; Steller’s Sea Eagles; Aleutian Terns, Pine Grosbeak, Siberian Rubythroat and Dusky Warblers
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
Not sure what to wear while onboard? Visit our shop and gear up. We've got layers to keep you dry and warm, breezy wear to keep you covered and cool, and accessories to keep everything packed up and ready to go. So, no matter the weather, you'll be better prepared for your expedition.
Our Gear Shop has an expert outfitting staff and features all the essentials: