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Sea lions and birds
Sea lions and birds

Cruise in the Sea of Okhotsk

Sea lions and birds
Difficulty
Difficulty levels
Easy. Passive relaxation and sightseeing — cruises for example. No physical activities. Good for older people.
Normal. Active tours. You don’t have to be a sportsman, but you need to be strong enough to ride a snowmobile or go hiking in the mountains.
Advanced. Get ready for a challenge — long trekking with a heavy backpack on the shoulders, rafting along mountain rivers.
Hard. Professional training and perfect physical fitness are required. The level involves climbing to the tops of the mountains (above 3000 meters), freeriding and North Pole diving.
Group size
to 50 person
Duration
12 days

Accommodation during the trip

11 nights

Languages

EN
guide
Start date
9 June 2020
  • 9 June 2020
End date:
20 June 2020
439 969 RUB

This is a truly unique journey in that it travels through a little known and seldom visited region. A region with a rich history and very significant and important wildlife, 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.

Sea lions and birds
Difficulty
Difficulty levels
Easy. Passive relaxation and sightseeing — cruises for example. No physical activities. Good for older people.
Normal. Active tours. You don’t have to be a sportsman, but you need to be strong enough to ride a snowmobile or go hiking in the mountains.
Advanced. Get ready for a challenge — long trekking with a heavy backpack on the shoulders, rafting along mountain rivers.
Hard. Professional training and perfect physical fitness are required. The level involves climbing to the tops of the mountains (above 3000 meters), freeriding and North Pole diving.
Group size
to 50 person
Duration
12 days

Accommodation during the trip

11 nights

Languages

EN
guide
Start date
9 June 2020
  • 9 June 2020
End date:
20 June 2020
439 969 RUB

Experiences you'll have

Expedition to the Russian Far East

Perhaps no other sea in the world has witnessed as much human suffering and misery as the Sea Okhotsk. Between 1932 and 1953 it is estimated that over 3 million prisoners (the vast majority of them innocent) were transported across the Sea Okhotsk to the Gulags of the Kolyma Goldfields. It is estimated that only five hundred thousand of those prisoners survived to make the journey home. The town and port of Magadan were built to process these prisoners.
 

The upper regions of the Sea of Okhotsk remain frozen for much of the year and winter storms make it an inhospitable place. However the lure of a rich fishery and more recently oil and gas discoveries means this sea is still being exploited, so nothing has changed there. In 1854 no fewer than 160 American and British whaling ships were there, hunting whales. Despite this seemingly relentless exploitation the wildlife thrives, including the beautifully marked and rare Ribbon Seals.

On three small islands within Sea of Okhotsk hundreds of Steller Sea Lions come out each year to breed. One of these, Tyulenly Island, also is home to one of the largest concentrations and breeding colonies of Northern Fur Seals in the Russian Far East.

Seabird numbers in the Sea of Okhotsk can only be described as spectacular. There are islands like Talan where the sky darkens when the Crested Auklets start massing offshore during the evening. Other birds include guillemots, puffins, auklets and fulmars. But the richness of birdlife is not restricted to pelagic species.

The Sea of Okhotsk has one of the highest concentrations of the majestic Steller's Sea Eagle of anywhere in the Russian Far East.

Waterfowl are common as are many migratory species. Harder to see but not uncommon on this expedition are the magnificent Kamchatka Brown Bear and other mammals such as the Arctic Ground Squirrel.


The cost depends on the type of cabin. Find out more in the "Accommodation" section.

Itinerary

The journey begins in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, and you have to get there on your own. 

Day 1 Sakhalin Island, Port of Korsakov

This morning we board a coach for transfer to the Port of Korsakov some 40 minutes south of the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk where we will board the Akademik Shokalskiy. Once on board you will be shown to your cabins and there will be a chance to unpack and explore the vessel. There will be briefings and introductions to the ship, staff and crew after we sail towards the Sea of Okhotsk.

Day 2 Tyuleniy Island

We visit little known Tyuleniy Island off the south east coast of Sakhalin Island. This small island is a stronghold for Northern Fur Seals and Steller Sea Lions. Fur seal numbers have increased since an International Convention signed in 1911 banned seal hunting here. In the 1990s Steller Sea Lions started breeding on the island and their colony now numbers about 2,500 animals. Sea conditions permitting, we plan a landing here for an opportunity to photograph the seals and sea lions.

Day 3 Piltun Bay, Sakhalin Island

It was the discovery of oil and gas in this region which put Sakhalin Island on many people’s maps. Piltun Bay is an important habitat for the small population of Western Gray Whales. Researchers monitor the population during the summer months. We go in search of the Gray Whales that live here, travelling by Zodiac inshore to the shallower waters where they are known to feed.

Day 4 Iony Island

Iony Island lies in the middle of the Sea of Okhotsk, it is really just a rock, but what it lacks in physical size it more than makes up for wildlife. Birds appear to take up all available space; there are guillemots, kittiwakes and various species of auklets, with Parakeet, Whiskered and Least being the most prominent. We will Zodiac cruise around the island as Steller Sea Lions occupy the few rocky beaches, making any landing impossible.

Days 5-6 Shantar Archipelago

Lying in the western sector of the Sea of Okhotsk close to the continent, the islands in this archipelago are amongst the last place in the Sea of Okhotsk to become ice-free each year. This late ice can sometimes restrict how far we can explore here; on the other hand, ice increases our chances of seeing some of the seals including Bearded, Ringed, Largha and Ribbon Seals that breed here. If we can land there will be birding, botany and photography excursions led by our team of on board naturalists.

Day 7 Mal’minskie Islands

Here there are birds everywhere, in the air, in the water and on the land. Numerous species breed here including large numbers of Spectacled Guillemots. Other species include Ancient Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Parakeet Auklet, Horned and Tufted Puffin, Crested Auklet and both Common and Brunnich’s Guillemot. There is also a good population of Steller’s Sea Eagles on the island and on the adjacent mainland. Landing on the island is restricted to a small gravel spit; however on the mainland we can stretch our legs and explore the taiga forest.

Day 8 Okhotsk Town

This town has featured in Russian Far East history since the earliest Cossack explorers came from the west. Vitus Bering travelled overland from St Petersburg to Okhotsk in 1725 and again 1733 and travelled to Kamchatka and beyond. Today Okhotsk is the centre of fishing in the region. The port exports significant quantities of salmon and other fish. We visit the town, landing by Zodiac up the river near the town centre. The local people are generous and welcoming and will provide entertainment in the town centre and a cultural display.

Day 9 Talan Island

An internationally known but very difficult bird island to get to, Talan is famous largely because of the hundreds of thousands of Crested Auklets that nest there. There are also an extraordinary number of Black-legged Kittiwakes nesting along the cliffs and not surprisingly a large population of Steller’s Sea Eagles. We plan to circumnavigate the island by Zodiac before landing and then return in the late evening to witness the huge flocks of Crested Auklets amassing at sea before coming ashore.

Day 10 Koni Peninsula

This is a mountainous region to the south-east of the town of Magadan, part of which is included in the Magadanskiy Zapovednik Reserve. This reserve protects, among other animals, brown bear and Snow Sheep. Many of our landings are expeditionary, in that although we have landed at a number of places along the coast, many will be new and unknown to us, so we are never quite sure what we will find. That is part of what makes this style of travel so interesting.

Day 11 Yamskiye Islands

These islands are claimed by some biologists to be the largest bird colony in the North Pacific. According to bird counts, there are an estimated 7 million birds nesting on Matykil Island, the largest in the group. Birds include Common and Brunnich’s Guillemot, Crested, Parakeet and Least Auklets, Tufted and Horned Puffins and Northern Fulmars. The most abundant of these is the Least Auklet. We Zodiac around the coast as no landings are permitted.

Day 12 Magadan

The name Magadan is synonymous with Stalin’s oppressive Gulags or prisons but there is very little evidence now of this town’s tragic past. The local museum has an excellent display about the Gulags but the most poignant reminder is the ‘Mask of Sorrow’, a large monument on a hill overlooking the town. Today Magadan is a town of about 100,000 people. Fishing is important and gold mining is experiencing a revival. The infamous Kolyma Highway or the ‘Road of Bones’ connects Magadan with Irkutsk and ultimately greater Russia. We plan to arrive here midday where our journey ends. You will be transferred to a central hotel or the airport.

Sea lions and birds
Difficulty
Difficulty levels
Easy. Passive relaxation and sightseeing — cruises for example. No physical activities. Good for older people.
Normal. Active tours. You don’t have to be a sportsman, but you need to be strong enough to ride a snowmobile or go hiking in the mountains.
Advanced. Get ready for a challenge — long trekking with a heavy backpack on the shoulders, rafting along mountain rivers.
Hard. Professional training and perfect physical fitness are required. The level involves climbing to the tops of the mountains (above 3000 meters), freeriding and North Pole diving.
Group size
to 50 person
Duration
12 days

Accommodation during the trip

11 nights

Languages

EN
guide
Start date
9 June 2020
  • 9 June 2020
End date:
20 June 2020
439 969 RUB

Accommodation during the trip

You will travel with "Spirit of Enderby". It is a small expedition ice-class vessel. In 2013 it was fully refurbished for comfortable accommodation of 50 passengers. 

 

Onboard there is a bar, a cosy lounge, a lecture hall and a library with a big collection of thematical books. A spacious bridge is always open for passengers. You can also view sea animals from open decks.  

 

The cost of the cruise depends on the type of cabin: 

  • Triple cabin accommodation — 7035 USD pp
    There are two lower sleeping berths and one upper sleeping berth in the cabin. A desk, a wardrobe and a nightstand.  A wash-basin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other cabins. There is an illuminator in the cabin. 
  • Double cabin accommodation — 8200 USD pp
    There are two lower sleeping berths in the cabin. A desk, a wardrobe and a nightstand.  A wash-basin. The nearby showers and toilets are shared with other cabins. There is an illuminator in the cabin. 
  • Superior cabin accommodation — 8715 USD pp
    There are two sleeping berths — one lower and one upper one. A desk, a wardrobe and nightstands. A bathroom: shower, toilet, a wash-basin. There is a window in the cabin.
  • Superior Plus cabin accommodation — 9450 USD pp
    There are two lower sleeping berths in the cabin. A desk, a wardrobe and nightstands. A bathroom: shower, toilet, a wash-basin. There is a window in the cabin.
  • Mini Suite accommodation — 9870 USD pp
    There is a bedroom with a bouble bed and a living room with a single bed in the cabin. A bathroom: shower, toilet, a wash-basin. There is a window in the cabin.
  • Heritage Suite accommodation — 10 815 USD pp
    There is a bedroom with a bouble bed and a living room with a single bed in the cabin. A bathroom: shower, toilet, a wash-basin. There are panorama windows in the cabin.
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Booking

Sea lions and birds

Difficulty
Difficulty levels
Easy. Passive relaxation and sightseeing — cruises for example. No physical activities. Good for older people.
Normal. Active tours. You don’t have to be a sportsman, but you need to be strong enough to ride a snowmobile or go hiking in the mountains.
Advanced. Get ready for a challenge — long trekking with a heavy backpack on the shoulders, rafting along mountain rivers.
Hard. Professional training and perfect physical fitness are required. The level involves climbing to the tops of the mountains (above 3000 meters), freeriding and North Pole diving.
Group size
to 50 person
Duration
12 days

Accommodation during the trip

11 nights

Languages

EN
guide
439 969 RUB
What's included in the price:
  • pre/post cruise transfers

  • all on board ship accommodation

  • meals

  • all expedition shore excursions

Extra charge:
  • international/domestic flights

  • all items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities

  • visa

  • travel insurance

  • local payment (+500 USD pp)

  • kayaking supplement (+995 USD pp)

In the price:
Included Extra charge
  • pre/post cruise transfers

  • all on board ship accommodation

  • meals

  • all expedition shore excursions

  • international/domestic flights

  • all items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities

  • visa

  • travel insurance

  • local payment (+500 USD pp)

  • kayaking supplement (+995 USD pp)

9 Jun 2020, Tue — 20 Jun 2020, Sat
439 969 RUB
Best price
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Personal
tours
Discounts for
regular clients
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