Siberia’s Forgotten Coast

Kamchatka Coast:

Siberia’s Forgotten Coast

Aboard Spirit of Enderby

  • 14 days    24 June – 7 July 2016

Combining the best of our ‘In Search of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper’ and ‘Wake of Bering’ Expeditions with new added opportunities.

Siberia’s eastern coastline is undoubtedly one of the most remote and least visited regions of the globe. It is home to several groups of indigenous people, including the Itelmen, Koryak, Even and Chukchi. Fur trappers and sealers plundered the regions natural resources in the name of the Tsar in the early 17th Century. Stalin and subsequent leaders encouraged economic development in this part of the Soviet Union. Soviet towns were built, bonuses were paid to those who would immigrate and work there and attempts were made to collectivise the traditional way of life.

As the iron curtain was drawn and the Cold War escalated, this region became forbidden territory. Travel to and within the area was strictly controlled, the number of military installations increased, early radar warning stations proliferated and Russia’s Pacific fleet patrolled the coastline.

This all changed in the early 1990s with Perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Military installations were abandoned, there were mass migrations of workers back west and towns and industries were simply abandoned. As the heavily subsided economy collapsed the indigenous people were forced back to traditional ways of life but permits to travel through the area did become a little easier to obtain.

Twenty five years on, travel through this region is still heavily regulated and virtually impossible for the independent traveller. There is little or no infrastructure, only a few kilometres of road, no hotels apart from in the main towns of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy and Anadyr. These towns have scheduled air services, but access to the rest of the region either by air or sea even for locals is at best ‘unpredictable’.

Throughout its chequered human history its rich natural history has largely gone unnoticed and unknown by the rest of the world. It is an amazing coastline dominated by the volcanoes of Kamchatka in the south, the fiords of what was formally the Koryak region and the rich estuarine areas and tundra of Chukotka.

This coastline has one of the most diverse assemblages of wildlife and habitats of anywhere of a similar latitude on the globe and virtually no people or visitors to disturb them. One of the most iconic species is the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper that is endemic to the region. For the past 4 years we have supported BirdLife International and Birds Russia research teams working on this species. Our 2015 expedition not only continues that support but it expands it to include other seabirds and waders as researchers monitor potential changes in their populations and distribution due to a variety of reasons including climate change.

This is a truly unique journey (expedition) in that it travels through a little known sea. It is a region with a history that up until recently has been suppressed and not spoken about and the magnitude of the tragedy of Stalin’s Gulag system is only now becoming apparent. It is also an area with very significant and important wildlife values, both terrestrial and marine. There are still discoveries to be made and so for the inquisitive, adventurous and open-minded traveller, this is a ‘must do’ expedition.

siberia_forgotten_coast

NRuss Ribbon Seal©GRiehle tufted puffin in flight (2)©GRiehle sea otter couple©GRiehle auklets dawn abstract©GRiehle Cormorant Take Off©GRiehle stelles sea eagle and birds 2-7931©GRiehle largha seal ready to jump

Itinerary

Day 1:

Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy

Arrive into Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, the capital and administrative centre of the Kamchatka Region and transfer to the port to board the Spirit of Enderby.

Day 2:

Zhupanova River

We plan to spend the morning Zodiac cruising on the Zhupanova River. Our main target here is the Steller’s Sea Eagle and there are usually some occupied nests close to the river. Good numbers of Largha Seals are also often hauled out on sandbars in the river and we should see a good variety of waterfowl and waders. By late afternoon, we should be over deep water heading for the Commander Islands and new species to look for include Laysan Albatross, Mottled Petrel and the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel. The Kamchatka Trench can also be excellent for cetaceans and we have previously seen Blue Whales on this crossing.

Days 3 to 4:

Commander Islands

The wildlife-rich Commander Islands were first discovered by the Commander Vitus Bering when his ship was wrecked here in 1741. We intend to explore the islands through a combination of landings and Zodiac cruises and our first stop will be the village of Nikolskoye, where there is an interesting museum. Zodiac cruising is often spectacular and we hope to encounter Red-faced Cormorant, Red-legged Kittiwake, Pigeon Guillemot, Horned Puffin, as well as Parakeet, Crested and Whiskered Auklets and Sea Otters. Our plans also include a ship cruise along the southern coast of Bering Island, as this area is excellent for cetaceans with Humpback, Sperm, Northern Minke, Orcas and Baird’s Beaked Whales all regularly encountered.

Day 5:

Karaginskiy Island

Our proposed landing site is a patchwork of boggy tundra, ponds and shingle spits where an interesting range of waders can be found including Pacific Golden Plover, Red-necked Stint and Red-necked Phalarope. We also hope to see Bluethroat and Pallas’ Reed Bunting.

Day 6:

Verkhoturova Island and Govena Peninsula

Verkhoturova Island has some huge seabird colonies and by following a short trail to the cliff top we should be able to enjoy some fantastic views of Tufted Puffins, Brunnich’s Guillemots, Pelagic Cormorants and Black-legged Kittiwakes. Both Steller’s, Eider and Harlequin Duck occur here too and we may also see some Steller Sea Lions, as they are often hauled out on some offshore rocks. Later in the day, there will be either a Zodiac cruise or landing on the Govena Peninsula. Good numbers of brown bears can often be found here.

Days 7 to 10:

Koryak and Chukotka Coast

During these days of the expedition we will travel along this largely unknown part of the coast. It comprises deep forested fiords where we should see brown bears, Red Fox and with luck, mountain sheep and Kamchatka Marmots. In the many lagoons and shallow bays there is a vast array of birdlife including Tundra Bean Goose, Steller’s Eider, Great Knot, Long Tailed Stint, Gyrfalcon, Siberian Accenter and Asian Rosy Finch. This area is also a stronghold of the Kittlitz’s Murrelet and we should see several during our journey. In our previous expeditions we have explored much of this coastline, documenting the distribution and abundance of many species. In 2011 we recorded a previously unknown breeding population of Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Working alongside researchers from BirdLife International and Birds Russia who will be travelling with us, we plan to revisit many of these areas to monitor changes and search for new breeding colonies. There will be unique opportunities for photography, for hiking and ‘birding’ in country where literally only a few ‘westerners’ have ever been and we know there is a rich diversity of species.

Days 11 to 12:

Meinypil’gyno

Meinypil’gyno, located on a 40km long shingle spit is the most important site in the world for breeding Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Here about ten pairs are monitored by members of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Recovery Taskforce. We will be guests of the Taskforce and if possible we may be guided to one of their monitored nests. The area is extremely rich in other wildlife, so we may also find Emperor Goose, Pacific Diver, White-billed Diver and Sandhill Crane. The lagoon entrance often has Largha Seal, Gray and Beluga Whales and Sabine’s Gull.

Day 13:

Cape Navarin and Keyngypilgyn Lagoon

This coastline is rich in marine mammals and one creature we will be looking for in particular, is the walrus, as there is a known haul out. The animals do regularly move between locations, so finding them is always very much a matter of luck, although we have had success here in the past. Good numbers of Gray Whales often congregate here too. To the north of Cape Navarin is Keyngypilgyn Lagoon. On previous visits we have found this an excellent location for waterfowl and waders including Emperor Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, Brant Geese, Whooper Swan, King Eiders, Red Knots and Aleutian Tern.

Day 14:

Port of Anadyr

As we cruise into Anadyr Bay, there is an excellent chance of seeing more Beluga Whales and after a final breakfast on board the Spirit of Enderby, it will be time to disembark. We will provide complimentary transfers to a downtown hotel and the airport.

©GRiehle flowers kurilNRuss Brown Bear on Icy Shore©GRiehle tufted puffin in flight (1)©GRiehle  Mom and young sea otter  (1)©GRiehle©GRiehle male ribbon seal profile©GRiehle 5 clouds of auklets

Dates and Cost

  • Spirit of Enderby – 14 days  24 June – 7 July 2016
shared facilities private facilities
Main Deck Triple Main Deck Twin Superior Superior Plus Mini Suite Heritage Suite
US$8,000 US$9,200 US$9,800 US$10,500 US$10,900 US$11,900
Additional Charges – Landing Fees:
(Applies to all passengers)
US$500
Kayaking Supplement – Limited space: US$1050

Sole occupancy: 1.8 times the published cost on all cabin types except suite cabins which will be charged at 2 times the published cost.

What’s included

  • Pre/post cruise transfers, all on board ship accommodation and meals and all expedition shore excursions.
  • All shore excursions as outlined in itinerary.
  • All accommodation and meals while onboard the vessel.
  • Services of Expeditions leaders.

We are able to organise pre and post excursions and accommodation as required. Please contact us for further details.

What’s not included

  • Airfares and any airport taxes.
  • Travel and cancellation insurances.
  • All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities.
  • International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.

How to Book

To initiate your reservation, please contact us as soon as possible to place an option on the voyage and cabin grade of your choice. The Booking Form in the brochure is to be signed, completed and returned to Adventure Associates along with your deposit. Reservations are established only when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit payment and Booking Form.

Deposit required: 25% of Total cruise price in US$
180 days prior to departure: A further 25% of cruise price in US$
90 days prior to depature: Full balance due in US$
If booking within 89 days of departure: Full payment must be made in US$

For deposits in US Dollars, your local bank will be able to arrange a US$ Bank Draft for you. Deposits may also be made in Australian Dollars – these will be converted to US$ at the applicable exchange rate. All final payments must be made in US Dollars by US$ Bank Draft or US$ cheque made payable to “Adventure Associates”. Please contact us for our account details should you wish to pay by telegraphic transfer.

Cancellations and Refunds

Written instructions only will be accepted by Adventure Associates to cancel a reservation. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations or airlines, cruise companies, coach and tour operators, hotels and any other Principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable provisions will apply.

Until 120 days prior to departure Refund of deposit less US$400 per person handling fee
Between 119-90 days prior to departure Full loss of cruise deposit
On or within 89 days prior to departure Loss od all deposits and tariffs forfeited*

*If cancellation occurs within the 89 day period and full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and unpaid monies are due immediately. For these and other reasons it is mandatory that you obtain trip cancellation insurance (see terms and conditions).

Prices quoted are based on group participation and no refunds will be made for any part of the program in which you choose not to participate, including any helicopter flying time (if applicable and which, at the discretion of the captain and expedition leader, may or may not be utilised). It is understood that refunds cannot be made to passengers who do not complete the tour for any reason whatsoever.

Katya Ovsyanikova-IMG_7815-20120614© GRiehle lighthouse and tank©NJRuss_Aucklets _ Zodiac20120615_162402Katya Ovsyanikova-IMG_8315-20120617(c) MKelly Sea of Okhotsk (25)EagleFlight2

Spirit of Enderby

Vessel, the Spirit of Enderby, is perfect for Expedition Travel. 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. It carries just 48 passengers in very comfortable accommodation (refurbished in New Zealand Nov ’04). The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs. 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 Capitan and crew.

The Spirit of Enderby measures 72 metres in length and is fully ice-strengthened. Powered by two 1,560 horse power diesel engines. It is capable of speeds of up to 12 knots. What makes this Expedition Vessel absolutely unique is the equipment we carry including: 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. b) Our specially designed and built Hovercraft (2) give us unprecedented over ice capability in Antarctica allowing us to land in places that are inaccessible to other ships.

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.

Decks Plan

SpiritEnderbyDeckPlan

ship-enderby-550pxSpiritEnderby_Bar

Ship Specifications

Guests: 48
Propulsion: power 2×1560 bhp (2x 1147 Kw)
Ice Class: KM
Cruising Speed: 10 knots
Registered: In Russia

SpiritEnderby_Cabin