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Sea of Okhotsk Cruise
12 days, 11 nights
from £5560 exl flights
Be enchanted by the breathtaking changing scenery of the Russian Far East on this 12 day adventure cruise. This itinerary is perfect for bird watchers, photographers, nature lovers and thrill seekers!
The upper regions of the Sea of Okhotsk remain frozen for much of the year and winter storms make it an inhospitable place. This expedition will unlock many secrets of this virtually unexplored region. On Talan Island you will visit a huge colony of Crested Auklets and on the cliffs tumbling round the back of forgotten islands, you will find thousands of seabirds. Soaring above the archipelagos is the huge and beautiful Steller’s Sea Eagle. But birds compose only part of the rich wildlife tapestry of the region. You will see rivers which churn with salmon during the breeding season and spectacular taiga forests where wolves, Big Horned Sheep and Arctic Fox roam. During the excursions ashore you should also catch sight of the mighty Kamchatka Brown Bear.
Don’t forget your camera; this is sure to be a journey you will never want to forget!
Sakhalin Island • Tyuleniy Island • Piltun Bay • Iony Island • Shantar Archipelago • Malminskie Island • Okhotsk • Talan Island • Koni Peninsula • Yamskiye Islands • Magadan
Day 1 Sakhalin Island, Port of Korsakov
This morning, board a coach for transfer to the Port of Korsakov some 40 minutes south of the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk where the group will board the Spirit of Enderby. Once on board you will be shown to your cabins and there will be a chance to unpack and explore the vessel. There will be briefings and introductions to the ship, staff and crew after sailing towards the Sea of Okhotsk.
Day 2 Tyuleniy Island
Today visit little known Tyuleniy Island off the south east coast of Sakhalin Island. This small island is a strong hold for Northern Fur Seals and Steller Sea Lions. Fur seal numbers have increased since an International Covention signed in 1911 banned seal hunting here. In the 1990s Steller Sea Lions started breeding on the island and their colony now numbers about 2,500 animals. Sea conditions permitting the group plan a landing here for an opportunity to photograph the seals and sea lions.
Day 3 Piltun Bay, Sakhalin Island
It was the discovery of oil and gas in this region which put Sakhalin Island on many people’s maps. Piltun Bay is an important habitat for the small population of western Gray Whales. Researchers monitor the population during the summer months. Keep your eyes peeled for the Gray Whales that live here, travelling by Zodiac inshore to the shallower waters where they are known to feed.
Day 4 Iony Island
Iony Island lies in the middle of the Sea of Okhotsk, it is really just a rock, but what it lacks in physical size it more than makes up for wildlife. Birds appear to take up all available space; there are guillemots, kittiwakes and various species of auklets, with Parakeet, Whiskered and Least being the most prominent. The group will Zodiac cruise around the island as Steller Sea Lions occupy the few rocky beaches, making any landing impossible.
Days 5 & 6 Shantar Archipelago
Lying in the western sector of the Sea of Okhotsk close to the continent, the islands in this archipelago are amongst the last place in the Sea of Okhotsk to become ice free each year. This late ice can sometimes restrict how far you can explore; on the other hand ice increases the chances of seeing some of the seals including Bearded, Ringed, Largha and Ribbon Seals that breed here. If the group can land there will be birding, botany and photography excursions led by the team of on board naturalists.
Day 7 Mal’minskie Islands
Here there are birds everywhere, in the air, in the water and on the land. Numerous species breed here including large numbers of Spectacled Guillemot. Other species include Ancient Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Parakeet Auklet, Horned and Tufted Puffin, Crested Auklet and both Common and Brunnichs Guillemot. There is also a good population of Steller’s Sea Eagles on the island and on the adjacent mainland. Landing on the island is restricted to a small gravel spit; however on the mainland you can stretch your legs and explore the taiga forest.
Day 8 Okhotsk Town
This town has featured in Russian Far East history since the earliest Cossack explorers came from the west. Vitus Bering travelled overland from St Petersburg to Okhotsk in 1725 and again 1733 and travelled to Kamchatka and beyond. Today Okhotsk is the centre of fishing in the region. The port exports significant quantities of salmon and other fish. Visit the town, landing by Zodiac up the river near the town centre. The local people are generous and welcoming and will provide entertainment in the town centre and a cultural display.
Day 9 Talan Island
An internationally known, but very difficult bird island to get to, Talan is infamous largely because of the hundreds of thousands of Crested Auklets that nest there. There are also an extraordinary number of kittiwakes nesting along the cliffs and not surprisingly a large population of Steller’s Sea Eagles. The crew plan to circumnavigate the island by Zodiac before landing and then return in the late evening to witness the huge flocks of Crested Auklets amassing at sea before coming ashore.
Day 10 Koni Peninsula
This is a mountainous region to the south-east of the town of Magadan, part of which is included in the Magadanskiy Zapovednik. This reserve protects among other animals Brown Bear and Snow Sheep. Many of the groups landings are expeditionary, in that although the crew have landed at a number of places along the coast, many will be new and unknown them, so they are never quite sure what the group will find. That is part of what makes this style of travel so interesting.
Day 11 Yamskiye Islands
These islands are claimed by some biologists to be the largest bird colony in the North Pacific. According to bird counts there are an estimated 7 million birds nesting on Matykil Island, the largest in the group. Birds include Common and Brunnichs Guillemot, Crested, Parakeet and Least Auklets, Tufted and Horned Puffins and Northern Fulmars. The most abundant of these is the Least Auklet. Zodiac cruise around the coast as no landings are permitted.
Day 12 Magadan
The name Magadan is synonymous with Stalin’s oppressive Gulags or prisons but there is very little evidence now of this town’s tragic past. The local museum has an excellent display about the Gulags but the most poignant reminder is the ‘Mask of Sorrow’ a large monument on a hill overlooking the town. Today Magadan is a town of about 100,000 people. Fishing is important and gold mining is experiencing a revival. The infamous Kolyma Highway or the ‘Road of Bones’ connects Magadan with Irkutsk and ultimately greater Russia. The group should arrive here midday where the journey ends and you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
SPIRIT OF ENDERBY
Our cruise adventure ship, the 'Spirit of Enderby' is perfect for expedition travel. The real focus and emphasis is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. The expedition ship carries just 50 passengers in very comfortable accommodation (refurbished in New Zealand in Nov 2004). The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top New Zealand and Australian chefs. Our cruise adventure are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists. Our guides have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The cruise adventure ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic team and most experienced Russian Capitan.
The 'Spirit of Enderby' measures 72 metres in length and it is fully ice-strengthened. The cruise adventure ship powered by two 1,560 horse power diesel engines, its maximun speed is up to 12 knots. What makes this cruise adventure ship absolutely unique is the equipment we carry including:
• Our fleet of RIB’s, (rigid inflatable boats) sometimes referred to as zodiacs. These extremely safe and stable craft will land you at some of
the most amazing places.
• Our specially designed and built Hovercraft (two) give us unprecedented over ice capability in Antarctica allowing us to land in places
that are inaccessible to other ships.
The name 'Spirit of Enderby' honours the work and the vision of the Enderby Brothers of London. The Enderby Captains were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration for almost 40 years in the early 1800’s. The cruise adventure ship name also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.
CRUISE ADVENTURE SHIP SPIRIT OF ENDERBY TECHNICAL DETAILS
- Classification: Russian register KM ice class
- Year built: 1984
- Accommodation: 50 berths expedition
- Shipyard: Finland
- Main engines: power 2x1560 bhp (2x 1147 Kw)
- Register: Russia
- Maximum speed: 12 knots (2 engines)
- Cruising speed: 10 knots(one engine)
- Bunker capacity: 320 tons
The Sea of Okhotsk Cruise is available on enquiry basis - please get in touch with our Destination Managers and they will put together a holiday of a lifetime for you.
Included in price:
• Arrival/Departure transfers
• On board accommodation
• All expedition shore excursions
• Visa support
• Flights (please speak with us to get the best prices on flights added to your tour)
• Local payment (500 USD)