Experience the rugged beauty and remote isolation of the Kuril Islands & Far East. Nature reigns in Chukotka, which claims just 50,000 or so human inhabitants in a massive region of Siberia that is larger than Texas. Along its southern border lies the 776-mile-long Kamchatka Peninsula, one of the most geothermically active zones on the planet. Located along the Pacific’s “Ring of Fire,” the peninsula packs in more than 300 volcanoes — 29 of which are still active — along with plenty of steaming geysers, fumaroles, boiling mudpots, and mineral hot springs. Inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1996, Kamchatka’s interplay of active volcanoes and glaciers creates what UNESCO describes as a “dynamic landscape of great beauty.” It also is home to the highest density of brown bears on earth.
Seabourn spends six days exploring Chukotka and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Here, snow-capped peaks and smoking volcanoes provide a dramatic backdrop for scenic bays where walruses haulout and beluga whales come to feed. Anticipate bird-covered cliffs, breathtaking coastal fjords, salmon-filled rivers favored by brown bears, and vast, rolling tundra carpeted in pale blue and golden blossoms. The region is dotted by tiny communities where indigenous Chukchi reindeer herders and fisherfolk still eke out a traditional living.
Your days here remain fluid in true expedition style. Highlights may include:
Cape Navarin: Set along the Gulf of Anadyr Bay and surrounded by the Bering Sea, this windy, coastal landmass is a favorite Pacific walrus haulout and more than a million breeding seabirds create a constant, flamboyant display of squawks and feathers.
Kronotsky Nature Reserve: Eurasia’s greatest concentration of brown bears can be found in this remote, uninhabited reserve — inscribed as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and part of the World Heritage-designated Volcanoes of Kamchatka.
Cruising the Zhupanova River : Zodiac along a portion of this 100-mile-long, swift-flowing river rich with salmon — and brown bears. Look for spotted largha seals hauled out along the sandbars, along with nesting Steller’s sea eagles — the world’s largest sea eagle with a seven-foot wingspan.
Regular Zodiac cruises with your Expedition Team often provide the best vantage to admire the rugged topography of Kuril Islands & Far East. While the Zodiacs are perfect for observing walruses, whales, and other marine mammals, they also serve as a good platform for watching seabirds flying overhead, listening to the ocean’s roar, and grasping the immensity of this beautiful land.
Set out on foot across the lush tundra while your Expedition Team members point out small, delicate plants and brilliantly colored wildflowers that thrive here during the short summer. Hike through cottongrass-covered meadows and fjordland forested in aspen and birch, perhaps encountering muskoxen, reindeer, red foxes and brown bears. Rest assured that all walks are carefully monitored by Bear Guards, who work to maintain the safety of visitor and bear alike.
Join your Kayak Team for a paddle along the shores wherever your expedition stops along Chukotka and the Kamchatka Peninsula. The chance to experience this raw, rugged and wild part of the Arctic from a water-level perspective is unique and not to be missed.