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Kayaking to the glacier!

Across the Bering Sea: Villages and Wildlife in Alaska and the Russian Far East

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Silver Discoverer
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In 1732, Peter the Great commissioned Vitus Bering to map the entire coastline of Northeast Asia and to determine conclusively whether a land bridge existed to the New World. Following partly in Bering’s path, reach the rarely visited Chukotka, the Pribilofs, the Aleutian Islands, and Kodiak. Look for huge populations of nesting seabirds and take full advantage of the mid-summer sun, travelling on nature’s terms. For the adventure traveler, this is one of the world's great journeys, an expedition that beckons nature lovers.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Nome, Alaska, USA
Day 2 : Provideniya, Russia
Day 3 : Enmelen Village, Chukotka, Russia
Day 4 : Anadyr, Chukotka, Russia
Day 5 : Cruising the Bering Sea (Cross the International Date Line and gain a day)
Day 6 : Hall Island and St. Matthew Island, Alaska, USA
Day 7 : St. Paul, Pribilof Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Day 8 : Dutch Harbor, Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Day 9 : Unga Village, Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Day 10 : Castle Bay, Alaska
Day 11 : Uyak Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska
Day 12 : Amalik Bay, Geographic Harbour, Katmai National Park, Alaska
Day 13 : Seward, Alaska, USA

Highlights

  • Marvel at spectacular landscapes, pristine tundra and massive volcanoes
  • Travel along the historic routes of explorers and traders
  • Spot rare wildlife including the Western Grey Whale and Steller’s Sea Lion
  • Cruise and explore remote villages by Zodiac

Ship

Silver Discoverer

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Kayaking to the glacier! Alaska wildlife tours and brown bear fishing for salmon Arctic northern lights on a small ship cruise

Day 1 Nome, Alaska, USA

Once all guests have embarked, depart on your spectacular expedition: Across the Bering Sea. This afternoon you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and participate in a safety drill. Tonight familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travelers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.

Day 2 Provideniya, Russia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A leisurely morning at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures preparing you for Chukotka and the Russian Far East. Join the lectures and hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature.

During the late morning you will be approaching Provideniya, and, after lunch, and the ship having been cleared into Russia, start your walking tour of this former military outpost. Many of the houses have been abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but those inhabitants that stayed behind seem to be optimistic that Provideniya will once again be an important port –most probably for the Northeast Passage. You will have a look at the very well-presented collections of the local museum, and will be entertained by local and Russian songs and dances. For those inclined to more hiking, you can leave the town towards the south in direction of the cemetery accompanied by the knowledgeable Expedition Staff.

A Zodiac-cruise and visit to Plover Bay might follow in the late afternoon.

Day 3 Enmelen Village, Chukotka, Russia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enmelen Village is a remote Yupik and Chukchi settlement, where you will be warmly received by a welcoming committee of traditionally-dressed adults and children, as well as dogs. Strolling through the village you can learn about the strongly subsistence-based existence of the residents. Walrus flippers hang in large cages to protect them from scavengers and stitched-up seal skin containing livers and other delicacies that will ferment and then be eaten in frozen slices come winter are typical of local villages. At the school you can watch a fine performance of song and dance in beautiful handmade costumes. You will be asked to taste and enjoy some of the local foods, smoked salmon being the most popular. A tiny museum displays a collection of artifacts that demonstrate the long history of marine mammal-use among people whose cultural integrity survived Soviet-era livelihood challenges. Although not the first stop on the voyage the people of Enmelen will show how life away from towns is being led in Chukotka.

Day 4 Anadyr, Chukotka, Russia

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Anadyr, the administrative center of Chukotka Autonomous Region, is home to approximately 13000 people. Like many northern towns that have to deal with short summers and very long winters, Anadyr is painted in all colors of the rainbow – in order to lift the moods of its inhabitants and to look more cheerful and hospitable for the infrequent visitors. Under Governor Roman Abramovich, the well-known oligarch, big money had been invested to develop and revive local infrastructure and industries that had collapsed with the break-up of the Soviet era. Life is booming once again in this remote region as Russian and foreign investors take interest in mining, fishing and other profitable sources of Chukotka.

One of the most impressive highlights of Anadyr is the Chukotka Museum, which has been recently renovated and holds an impressive collection of artefacts that include the most exquisite carvings of walrus ivory, baleen, mammoth tusk, stone and others. Theme displays portray objects from ancient excavations, pre-soviet and soviet eras as well as arts of modern Chukotka talents.

Needless to say that you will have an opportunity to purchase souvenirs made out of walrus ivory, baleen and reindeer skin directly from the masters.

Another highlight is the beautiful Orthodox Church, which can definitely be nominated as one of the most impressive examples of Russian wooden architecture. Well preserved and neatly decorated inside with multiple icons and other symbols of orthodox faith, made entirely of wooden logs, this church certainly stands out amongst the soviet-era blocks of apartments. The church was pre-fabricated in Siberia and then moved here in pieces.

There numerous statues of soviet heroes, revolutionaries and apostles -most which would never have been able to coexist on streets only a few decades ago.

Day 5 Cruising the Bering Sea (Cross the International Date Line and gain a day)

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On your way back to Alaska you will be crossing the Dateline again -this time it will work in our favor, as you will have either yesterday’s date twice –or today will be tomorrow as well. Time travel is strange…

Take advantage to sleep in, be on the outer decks to look for marine mammals and seabirds, attend one of the lectures preparing you for the Pribilof Islands. There surely are ways to keep you busy and even if it “only” is sampling the culinary specialties the Hotel Department is preparing for you.

Day 6 Hall Island and St. Matthew Island, Alaska, USA

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you will see two of the islands belonging to the Bering Sea Wilderness. At Hall Island you will spend the morning, using our fleet of Zodiacs to explore the rugged coast of this uninhabited island. Here, hope to witness the vast numbers of kittiwakes and guillemots that make their nest on the steep cliffs. Jacob’s Ladder and Lousewort will thrive between the auklet colonies. Be on the lookout for Arctic Fox, Horned Puffins and walrus that are regularly seen from the Zodiac.

During lunch Silver Discoverer will reposition to St. Matthew Island. Today you will step upon an Island few have ever even seen. Known as Alaska’s most remote location, and designated in 1909 by Teddy Roosevelt as one of America’s first nature reserves. The focus today is on botany and birding. Add McKay’s Bunting, Lapland Longspur, and various seabirds to your “life list”. At this time of the year plants are alive in purple, pink and blue hues. Another treat you may see is the adorable singing vole, endemic to St. Matthew, and the largest mammal on the Island, the Red Fox.

Day 7 St. Paul, Pribilof Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
During the morning, while Silver Discoverer will cruise the Bering Sea, enjoy a lecture about natural history of Alaska.

After lunch take a guided walk to the Salt Lagoon, Town Cove and the Rift Point fur seal haul out. The bird cliffs and seal rookery are located at the eastern edge of the island. On the way you will note the fish and crab processing plant near the water, as well as the Russian Orthodox Church standing above the town.

Low sloping green fields roll down to the water and cobble shores below. To check out the seals on the low side of the island you will have to use the seal blind -a narrow deck enclosed with wide slats of wood that allow viewers to peer out into the busy seal rookery without disturbing anything. There are large sub-adult male Northern fur seals lying on the grass in front of the blind, passing time until they are large enough to stake out their own territory down on the water’s edge and collect a harem of females of their own.

On the far side of the blind, the view opens up to the ocean and St. Paul’s working waterfront. In the foreground however are close to a thousand sea lions barking, wailing, posturing and rushing one another, and hundreds of pups, waiting in groups for their mothers to return from the sea and fill their bellies with fat-rich milk.

Heading up to the bird cliffs you will be rewarded with stunningly close views of Tufted Puffins and Common Murres perched on the rocky ledges. It is not difficult to get great photos of the seabirds and even Arctic Foxes might be curled up on the rocks far below.

Day 8 Dutch Harbor, Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Together with the city of Unalaska, Dutch Harbor is a bustling community with about 4,000 residents. It is connected by bridge to the rest of Unalaska on Amaknak Island, and its name is frequently applied to the entire town. Famous for its fishing fleet and documentaries done about the catch of King Crabs out of Dutch Harbor, you will have a look at life on land and the different historical aspects of Unalaska and Amaknak Islands. During your city tour, visit the World War II bunkers and the spectacular Russian Orthodox Church. Dutch Harbor is one of the best (or easiest) places to see Bald Eagles and birders will have possibly the best views of these magnificent animals.

Day 9 Unga Village, Aleutian Islands, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Explore this Aleutian settlement which had been subject to a small gold rush. The village was eventually abandoned in the 1960’s and now has a somewhat sombre appearance. Many of the houses have collapsed. From a distance the church with the tower seems intact. Standing close you can see that only the roof is standing on the ground, the walls having collapsed. Great Horned Owls nest near the church. During a Zodiac-cruise in the bay kittiwakes, Double Crested and Pelagic Cormorants, as well as good numbers of Common Murres and Tufted Puffins can be seen.

Day 10 Castle Bay, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Castle Bay is just around the corner from Chignik, a fishing village of just a few hundred inhabitants –much depending on the season. The name Castle Bay was quite aptly given, as the skyline of the mountains resembles turrets and towers of a castle. Zodiac-cruises will bring you close to wildlife, and, if conditions permit, hikes will be offered.

Day 11 Uyak Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On Kodiak Island bears, birds and whales will be your guides. Bald Eagle, Kodiak Bears, marine mammals, Mountain Goats and Sitka Deer can all be found in the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge! By using the Zodiacs and cruising Kodiak’s shore, meet the Kodiak Bear on its own turf. There are rookeries with thousands of puffins and kittiwakes as well as the emblematic Bald Eagles. Enjoy whale watching for Humpback, Orca and Fin whales either from the Zodiac or from Silver Discoverer. Sometimes the marine mammals are so close you can smell their blow.

Kodiak is the island where Vitus Bering’s expedition had a brief stop -with Georg Steller going ashore and recognizing they had reached the American Continent.

Day 12 Amalik Bay, Geographic Harbour, Katmai National Park, Alaska

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Katmai National Park is on the top of many “Best of Alaska” lists because of its otherworldly landscape, including 15 active volcanoes. Here you have the opportunity to get up close and personal to abundant wildlife and raw beauty; the scenery is magnificent at Geographic Harbour at the head of Amalik Bay, and the bears are ubiquitous. This is one of the prime areas in this region for bear viewing. Silver Discoverer’s Expedition Team will lead a variety of natural history walks and Zodiac-tours in search of bears, sea mammals and birds.

Our on-board videographer will present his Voyage-DVD recounting all the different impressions seen and adventures had during our “Voyage across the Bering Sea.”

Day 13 Seward, Alaska, USA

  • 1 Breakfast
Following breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.

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Notes

Included in cruise fare:
Suite accommodations, onboard meals and entertainment, gratuities aboard ship (except spa), complimentary beverages aboard ship (including select wines, champagnes, spirits, soft drinks, water, tea and coffee. All fares are quoted in US dollars, are per guest and based on double occupancy.
Not included in cruise fare:
Airfare, hotel accommodations, transfers and luggage handling, optional shore excursions, meals ashore, fuel surcharges, accommodations whilst ashore, casino gaming, laundry or valet services, purchases from the ship boutiques or any item or service of a personal nature such as medical care, massages, spa treatments, private fitness instruction, hair styling and manicures. Some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars are not included in your fare and may not be available at all times.

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.

Included

  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
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