Arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy and transfer to your vessel. You are welcome on the bridge as there is a possibility of seeing Orcas and Sperm Whales as the ship sails out of Avacha Bay on its way to Olga Bay in the north.
Olga Bay is a shallow cove on the eastern coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula and a well documented feeding ground for Gray Whales. Plan to launch Zodiacs to get a closer look at some of the animals who frequent the area. Plan to make a landing on a sandy beach near the forest to look for the iconic Kamchatka Brown Bear and amazing Steller’s Sea Eagles.
The Commander Islands are a unique and majestic place with one of the highest cetacean diversities in the Russian Far East. Plan to visit the village of Nikolskoye and learn about the region's human history, then move on to the North West Bay to discover its rookery of Northern Fur Seals. Visit the deep oceanic trench that comes close to the shore on the western coast of Bering Island in search of various species of whales, including Humpback, Minke, Fin, Orca, Dall’s Porpoise, Sperm and Baird’s Beaked Whales. There are also several recorded sightings of Northern Right Whales as recently as 2013 in this area.
Russkaya Bay is a beautiful fjord near the southern tip of the Kamchatka Peninsula. During your landing, hope to see Steller’s Sea Eagles and possibly brown bears. Depending on weather conditions, take a Zodiac cruise to the fjord's entrance, where a resident Orca pod has been frequently spotted. There is also a Steller Sea Lion haul out nearby and some Sea Otters around the rocks.
Zodiac cruise at Ptich’i rocks, which hold an amazing concentration of Sea Otters, Harbour and Largha Seals as well as sea birds. Make a landing on Atlasova Island, on which is situated Alaid – the tallest volcano in the Kuril chain. The island is inhabited by Red Foxes, and Sea Otters frequent the surrounding ocean.
There have been several recent records of Northern Right Whale sightings, the rarest baleen whale species in the world, in this bay on the west coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Plan to check the area and possibly make a landing if conditions are suitable.
As the ship crosses the Sea of Okhotsk, catch up on some lectures from the on-board specialists or help keep observations on the bridge. This area can be quite productive for Orcas and baleen whales.
The Shantar Islands are synonymous with wilderness and wildlife, but few people have had the opportunity to visit. For much of the year the islands are icebound, but this expedition has been scheduled at a time that gives the best opportunity to sail through and around the many islands in the group. The shallow waters around the islands are home to a known population of Bowhead Whales and Belugas. There are also records of Northern Right Whales and regular Orca sightings. Explore the islands and surrounding waters by ship and Zodiac as well as make some expedition landings.
Embark on a Zodiac cruise near the entrance to the lagoon in Pil’tun Bay to look for the endangered ‘Western’ Gray Whales population and possibly make a landing at the lighthouse situated at the entrance to the lagoon. Steller’s Sea Eagles and Largha Seals can regularly be seen nearby.
Cruise along the coastline of Sakhalin Islan and spend some time attending lectures and observing the area from the bridge.
If sea conditions are suitable, Tyuleniy Island is your last landing of the expedition. At the height of the season it is a major breeding rookery for Northern Fur Seals and Steller Sea Lions as well as numerous guillemots. Although in September the breeding season is pretty much over, there are still animals around. There is a research station on the island that was built in the 1960s in the course of an international fur seal research program. Fences and walkways provide access to well-placed viewing platforms and lookouts.
The expedition finishes today at the Port of Korsakov. Transfer to a central hotel and the airport in the town of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.