Discover Russian Far East - Remote Siberian Coastline Promises Rich Culture & an Astounding Wealth of Wildlife
Russia is a huge country, covering nine time zones. In Chukotka – the north-eastern most region of Russia, they have a saying “God is a long way up there, but Moscow is even further away” that is true in so many respects. The Russian Far East is unique, the culture, the climate, the history, the wildlife; it is a world away from the Russia you might have explored.
We offer very unique expedition wilderness cruises, all exploring a different part of the Russian Far East from the Kuril Islands in the south, to Wrangel Island in the north. Explore the Pacific Ring of Fire, the volcanic Kuril Islands that are rich in seabirds and cetaceans or travel north up the Kamchatka Coast. The region is wildlife packed with walrus, brown bear, beluga whales, steller's sea eagles, spoon-billed sandpiper sightings and much more.
Sakhalin Island. The island of Sakhalin is the 948-kilometre-long heart of the Sakhalin Region which includes the disputed Kuril Islands and more than 50 smaller islands. Japan has long claimed the Kurils but since World War II they have come under the Russian rule. Travellers find getting around the region somewhat costly and difficult, but for those who make the effort there is a great deal of natural beauty to admire with three-quarters of Sakhalin covered in forests and mountains. Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is the booming capital of the region, which is fuelled by the oil and gas industry. The landlocked city which sprawls between two mountain ranges benefits from the high spending business visitors who pass through en route to the rigs or large construction projects.
Commander Islands. The Commander Islands are situated in the Bering Sea east of the Kamchatka Peninsula. They were discovered by and named after Commander Vitus Bering in 1741 and were uninhabited when discovered. In 1825, Aleuts from the Aleutian Islands were relocated to the Commander Islands to expand the Russian fur trade and bolster Russian claims to sovereignty over the islands. They settled on both Medney and Bering but today the entire population of approx 800 people live in the small village of Nikol’skoye on Bering Island. The history of the Commander Islands will be an integral part of all Commander Islands voyages. The Commander Islands and the 30 mile Marine Zone around them were declared a Federal Nature Reserve in 1993. They have also been included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO. They have been nominated as a World Heritage Site and listed as a globally important bird area by BirdLife International, the national Audubon Society and the Russian Bird Conservation Union.
Kamchatka. Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula is a 1,250 kilometre finger of land which lies between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. About 30% of the land area is protected in national reserves. The most significant feature of the landscape is around 160 volcanoes, of which 29 are still active. This dramatic landscape makes the area one of the most popular for Russian cruises. More than half of the population of Kamchatka lives alongside Avacha Bay in the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy (often referred to as 'PK') and in the neighbouring town of Yelizovo. The influence of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Okhotsk makes Kamchatka’s climate milder than continental parts of the Russian Far East. In general, winters are long with heavy snows, and summers are short, cool and rainy. Heavy fog and sudden changes in atmospheric pressure are common.
Kuril Islands. The Kuril Islands are located in the cold waters of the North-western Pacific Ocean between the Kamchatka Peninsula and Hokkaido. The chain consists of 22 main islands, most of which are volcanically active, and around 30 smaller islets. There are at least 160 volcanoes amongst the islands, 40 of which can be described as currently active. The islands which form part of the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ provide the perfect backdrop for our Russian Far East cruises.
Sea of Okhotsk. The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean, lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the Japanese island of Hokkaidō to the south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast (including the Shantar Islands) along the west and north. The sea is named after Okhotsk, the first Russian settlement in the Far East.The main population centre of the region is Magadan with approximately 100,000 people. It is probably best known as the centre of the notorious Gulags from the Stalin era, where tens of thousands of political prisoners were sent to forced labour camps in the 1930’s to 1950’s.
Chukotka. The Chukotsky Autonomous Okrug at 737,000 square kilometres is about half the size of Alaska. The sixth largest administrative area of Russia, Chukotka has eight raions. The administrative centre is the colourful town of Anadyr. Heavily influenced by the two great oceans that surround it, Chukotka’s weather is unstable with strong, cold northerly winds that can quickly shift to south-west storms. Cyclones occur frequently. A region with very few roads, in the summer the sea is the best highway in this region making it the perfect location for a Russian Far East cruise.
If you’re after a small ship cruise or an expedition ship cruise to the Russian Far East Wild Earth Travel can help you find a trip of a lifetime. We are ready to guide you through our range of different options with impartial advice so you can experience the very best of this unique destination. Our team are all passionate expedition & small cruise ship travellers and our knowledge and stories come from our own personal experiences.