Once all guests have embarked, a mandatory safety drill will be conducted before Silver Explorer leaves Otaru.
You will then be introduced to important members of the crew and your Expedition Team. Afterwards we have a sail away cocktail while we depart on our spectacular expedition “Expedition Kurils and Kamchatka”.
Tonight we invite you to familiarise yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travellers, and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
Day 2 — Korsakov, Russia
During the morning you can relax, have a leisurely breakfast and attend the first of several lectures about the Russian Far East, its history, its people and above all its wildlife.
Korsakov once served as a penal colony and achieved literary fame after a travel report by Anton Chekhov. We will have enough time to get a glimpse of this city during an afternoon excursion with a cultural program. We intend to see Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk's beautiful Cathedral of the Resurrection. The church was only completed in 1995, and the gold on the onion domes has very recently been laid, shining brilliantly. From the church continue to the Sakhalin Regional Museum, which is housed in a beautiful Japanese-style structure, due to the previous ruling of its southern neighbour. The museum covers all the facets of Sakhalin Island, from its flora and fauna, to its geology and history and its indigenous populations. At the Gagarin Park, with its adventure playgrounds and numerous beer and barbeque spots, the afternoon might end with a traditional performance of Russian song and dance.
Day 3 - Tyuleniy Island
Located off the East coast of Sakhalin Island in the Sea of Okhotsk, we can witness a natural paradise – this small island of only 2 sq. kilometres is an ideal place to observe large colonies of estimated more than 250,000 Northern fur seals and Steller sea lions, as well as tens of thousands of Common Guillemots and Black-legged Kittiwakes that have made their nests in the cliffs above. We will take our Zodiacs to cruise along the shore and marvel at the unbelievable amount of birds and mammals.
Day 4 – At sea
Our lecturers will take this day at sea to present lectures, seminars, and discussions about the Russian Far East and the impact human exploration has had in the different areas we have seen and intend to visit.
If you would like to relax, you can make use of the Spa, the Connoisseurs Corner, use the Fitness Centre or simply take in the fresh air on the Sun Deck. Enjoy lunch al fresco and meet with new friends for a cocktail.
Day 5 — Yankicha Island
Yankicha is a fascinating place. It is actually a flooded volcanic caldera, accessible only by Zodiac and only during high tide. Once inside the magnificent lagoon, we can still see – in the fumarole fields and hot springs – traces of the tremendous forces that created the island long ago. The island is also home to thousands of Crested Auklets and we may catch a glimpse of an Arctic fox or even the rare and elusive Whiskered Auklets during our nature walks.
Day 6 – Lovyshky Islands and Makanrushi Island
With our Zodiacs we will approach the clusters of rocks that comprise this island group - home to huge populations of sea mammals and birds. At Skaly Lovyshky we will go in search of Northern fur seals and Steller sea lions and hope to get good views of the Pigeon Guillemots that often swim around the rocky outcrops of the islands.
Makanrushi, our evening stop, is another uninhabited volcanic island. North of the Evreinov Strait, It is a roughly rectangular island with almost 50 sq. kilometres. As there are no sandy beaches, but mostly steep cliffs, we will intend a ship or Zodiac cruise along the shore and hope to have good views of the island’s highest peak.
Day 7 — Atlasova Island and Utashud
Alaid on Atlasova Island is the highest volcano in the Kuril chain with a height of over 2,000 metres. Together with our expedition staff we land by Zodiac on the black lava beach of the island, from where we will begin our walk to see the remains of the Taketomi tufa cone.
In the late morning Silver Explorer will continue north towards our next stop at the Utashud Islands.
The Utashud Islands are a small cluster of islets off the coast of Kamchatka with spectacular scenery. The islands feature gentle slopes and steep cliffs which make them ideal habitat for various seabird species. Harbour and possibly spotted seals are plentiful along the shores. An old rusty ship wreck could be seen on the southwestern side of one of the island slabs.
Day 8 — Ruskaya Bay, Russia
South of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy is the 15 kilometre long Ruskaya Bay. The northeast to southwest direction and narrow body of water have made this bay a perfect place to look for shelter in foul weather -and fishing fleets and WWII convoys headed for Vladivostok have made ample use of the bay. Two shipwrecks can still be seen close to the bay’s southeastern shore. A river, used as a source of freshwater in former times, meanders through the valley and with our Zodiacs we will have to see how far we can explore, or if we hike to the small stands of trees found there.
Day 9 — Zhupanova River, Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia
By cruising the river with our highly manoeuvrable Zodiacs, we will have the ability to stop and go ashore wherever we expect to find the best birding and nature walks. Heading upstream, we are likely to spot up to 40 different bird species and may even see brown bears fishing for salmon in the river. Our main goal today is to spot Steller Sea Eagles. This majestic bird is known to frequent this area, and we hope to have good views of at least one of the eagles.
Day 10 — Commander Bay, Bering Sea
The Komandorskiye or Commander Islands are named after famed Commander Vitus Bering who had been commissioned by the Russian Tsar to search for a land bridge between Asia and America. After having been to Alaska he was forced to overwinter here. He was buried on the island, but part of the crew managed to return to Petropavlovsk. We will try to go ashore to see the graves of Bering and some of his crew.
Day 11 — Nikolskoye, Komandorskiye Islands, Bering Sea.
Today we intend to visit a Steller sea lion rookery on the north side of Cape Severozapadniy. If we manage to land, we will walk along a sometimes waterlogged dirt road which leads to a blind overlooking the rookery. Apart from the sea lions arctic foxes can often be seen – they are curious, and will watch us from a safe distance.
Before lunch Silver Explorer will sail to Nikolskoye, which was established in 1826 by fur traders. This fishing village on Bering Island has colourful buildings and an Orthodox Church -one of Russia’s newest and one of the eastern-most- and a small museum where we will learn about the Aleut people and their culture. It also contains much information on Bering, as well as the bones of a Steller’s sea cow. During our visit we will enjoy a concert and be entertained by a presentation of local games.
Day 12 — At sea and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
We will spend the last day aboard Silver Explorer, sailing for Petropavlovsk, the only major city on the peninsula and one of the oldest towns in the Russian Far East. It is also the scientific and cultural centre of the region, with a museum of ethnography and natural history, an art school, a gold-domed Orthodox cathedral.
Aboard Silver Explorer attend final lectures and discussions about the area you have travelled through, edit some of the many photos taken and join the onboard Videographer for the documentary of our voyage along the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka.
We will arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy in the late afternoon.
Day 13 — Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
After breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.
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, wildlife activity and ice conditions. 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:
Make sure you get all your essentials today. We offer packages or individual items, for your convenience, and recommend you place orders at least 30 days before your embarkation date.