This expedition is as unique as the First Kamchatka Expedition of 1725 – 1730 which was led by Danish explorer Commander Vitus Bering on orders of Peter the Great. His orders were to travel overland to the Kamchatka Peninsula (from St Petersburg) and there build two ships and sail “north by northeast...... chart the coast and collect information”. It was an ambitious journey and a remarkable expedition. Bering set sail from Nizhnekamchatsk on the lower Kamchatka River, our expedition will depart from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy a city named in honour of Bering’s two ships which sailed from here for the second Kamchatka or Great Northern Expedition which he also led.
From here we will sail ‘north by north east’ to discover wildlife and a wilderness that few people have seen or experienced because of the region’s remoteness and the fact that it was a ‘closed area’ until the early 1990’s. It is a land of extremes and myriad environments including snow-capped active volcanoes, geothermal regions, vast forests, extensive tundra, uninhabited islands and rich oceans.
Every day we will search for the best wildlife experience, and there will be many, but we want to find one bird in particular - the extremely rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus).This bird is classified as ‘critically endangered’ and its only known breeding ground is in northern Kamchatka and Chukotka – the area that we will be visiting. Recent field studies suggest that the global population is much lower than previously thought, possibly fewer than 320 breeding pairs and declining.
Heritage Expeditions are the Birdlife International Species Champion for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper
$500.00 USD pp
In the Wake of Bering itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival
Your adventure begins with an overnight stay in historic Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, one of the greatest natural harbours of the world. You can arrive a few days early and visit the Valley of the Geysers or explore one of the volcanoes for which the region is famous.
Day 2: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy
Explore the town’s monuments and exceptional museum before meeting your fellow adventurers and expert expedition team on board the Spirit of Enderby.
Day 3: Zhupanova River
An expedition by Zodiac up this untamed river takes us among valuable ecosystems that support an immense diversity of wildlife. Teeming in the river are salmon, attracting Brown Bears and other predators; we might also see Yellow-breasted Bunting and Green Shank or the Far Eastern Curlew and Common Tern. Upriver, in the mature birch forests, we may be rewarded with a sighting of the magnificent Steller’s Sea Eagle nesting.
Day 4 & 5: Commander Islands
Once a bustling colony of seal hunters and fur traders, these islands were first discovered by Commander Vitus Bering and became his last resting place after being shipwrecked; we visit his simple grave and the museum in the village of Nikoi’skoye, the one remaining settlement. We land and explore the remote and forbidding bays where over a million seabirds live amid a backdrop of folded-block mountains, volcanic plateaus and sea arches. Home to a myriad of birds, some of the species we might see include several varieties of auklet and albatross plus Thick-billed Murres, Red-legged Kittiwakes and Red-faced Cormorants. We may also spot Steller’s Sealions and seals on the jagged rocks.
Day 6: Verkhoturova Island
On this small and narrow island there is an extensive bird colony, readily-accessible from the sea, where we may see gulls, kittiwakes, guillemots, auklets and Tufted Puffins nesting in the cliffs and wheeling above us.
Day 7: Goven Peninsula
Covering much of this rangy peninsula is the Koryaksky Nature Reserve, encompassing a wide range of habitats from raised beach plains to alpine meadows and steep glaciated mountains. Accompanied by Rangers, we explore the thickets and rivers looking for Brown Bear and hiking the wetlands gives us a chance to see sedge grass, tundra and flowering wild plants. We may be lucky to spot woodpecker among the aromatic poplar and alder that reach up the slopes before Zodiac cruising the coastline for views of sealions and seals
Day 8: Goven Peninsula/Tintikun Lagoon
Of the many fiords formed on the Koryak Coast during the last glacial period, few are as picturesque as Tintikun. Exploring the lagoon and the mountains by Zodiac we can be sure that few people have gone before us and may be rewarded with sightings of the common Brown Bear as it hunts for salmon running upriver.
Day 9 & 10: Olyutorskiy Bay
We begin assisting the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Recovery Team in this almost inaccessible bay that is normally blocked by fast ice. With only limited resources, the team has never been able to survey this area but it is hoped that it might offer good breeding habitat. Dividing into teams and with supervision and guidance we will survey as much of the region as possible.
Day 11: Bukhta Natalia and Bukhta Dezhneva
Another beautiful fiord possessed of a dramatic allure in the low sun of the Subarctic. A Walrus haul-out guards the entrance and we make a landing to explore the hinterland, surrounded by imposing mountain landscapes and verdant tundra. Nomadic reindeer herders are sometimes encountered in this region.
Day 12 & 13: Meinypil’gyno
This small settlement clings to a 60km spit on the shore of the Bering Sea and is an area populous with Lesser Sand Plovers and Red Knot. White-billed Diver have been seen here and we hope also to encounter the critically-endangered Kittlitz’ Murrelets that breed in the cliffs nearby. However, our main reason for visiting is to meet with members of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Recover Team who will carefully escort us to nearby known breeding pairs of the rare species. Unless our work of the previous days have discovered a population at Olyutorskiy Bay then this area represents the last real stronghold of this charismatic species.
Day 14: Bukhta Gavilla
Between the previous stop and Cape Navarin lies a Walrus haul-out that we investigate before making landfall to explore the lagoon behind an expansive beach for waterfowl and waders. Once forming a land-bridge to North America, this fertile area enjoys an abundance of food; sightings of Grey Whales and many seabirds are common.
Day 15: Port of Anadyr
We say farewell to our fellow voyagers when we arrive in port but as we sail up the harbour, keep a look out for Beluga Whales which can often be seen close to the anchorage by the city. Enjoy a complimentary transfer to the airport or to your hotel.
Spirit of Enderby
The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel.
She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in November 2004 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.
On board there is a combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room. The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.
The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.
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. It also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.
a) 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.
- Heritage Suite: Has a large lounge area, a separate bedroom with double bed, a single bed in the lounge, writing desk, wardrobe, drawers. There is a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. There are large forward and side facing windows to allow great views.
- Mini Suites: Have a separate bedroom with a double bed and a single bed or a sofa in the lounge, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. The Mini Suites have windows.
- Superior Plus cabins: Have two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, desk, a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
- Superior cabins: Have bunks (an upper and lower berth), wardrobe, drawers, a desk, a private bathroom with shower, toilet and washbasin. These cabins have windows.
- Main deck cabins: Have two lower berths, wardrobe, drawers, a desk, washbasin and porthole. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main deck cabins.
- Main deck triple: Has one bunk (one upper and one lower) and one lower berth, wardrobe, drawers, a desk and wash basin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other Main deck cabins.
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 72 meters
Beam: 13 meters
Speed (average): 10 knots
Built / refurbished: 1984 / 2004
Capacity: 48 (twin & triple cabins)