Система Orphus
Currency:
EUR
In Russian
+7 495 800-8-800
Request a call
Mon-Fri: 10:00-20:00
Sat: 11:00-18:00
UTC+3:00
Archipelago of discoveries
Archipelago of discoveries

Expedition to the Shantar Islands

Most popular
Archipelago of discoveries
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.
Age
7 y.o.
Group size
from 10 to 14 person
Duration
11 days

Accommodation during the trip

4 nights
5 nights
1 night

Languages

EN
guide
Start date
7 September 2021
  • 7 September 2021
  • 26 July 2022
  • 22 August 2022
End date:
17 September 2021
3 125 EUR

If you have always wanted to see whales, the Shantar Islands are one of the best places in Russia where you can do it. It is home to the largest part of the bowhead whales population of the Sea of Okhotsk. Due to difficult access to the archipelago you will find true solitude and union with nature here, without numerous groups of tourists.

Most popular
Archipelago of discoveries
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.
Age
from 7 y.o.
Group size
from 10 to 14 person
Duration
11 days

Accommodation during the trip

4 nights
5 nights
1 night

Languages

EN
guide
Start date
7 September 2021
  • 7 September 2021
  • 26 July 2022
  • 22 August 2022
End date:
17 September 2021
3 125 EUR

Experiences you'll have

A trip to the Shantar Islands

We should say, that you have a long way to go in order to make your dream of seeing whales come true. First, a flight to Khabarovsk, then another plane, minibus, boat... and here you are at last on the shore of Wrangel Bay. On a beach, about which even experienced travelers say: "It is the best place in the world for whale watching. They are so close to the shore that you can even shoot on your mobile phone".

The main citizens of this region are bowhead and killer whales, seals, bears, Steller's sea eagles and tufted puffins  During the journey you will see them in their natural habitat.  

 

For this expedition, we chose weeks when the probability of whale watching is particularly high. However, it is important to remember that this is a trip to wildlife, not a zoo or aquarium. We can't guarantee 100% probability of these meetings and we think it's fair to focus your attention on it.

7 reasons to go on a trip to the Shantar Islands:

  • to take a boat ride or SUP-board next to huge bowhead whales
  • to observe whales, brown bears, seals and bird colonies from a safe distance
  • to meet marine biologists and help in their study of bowhead whales population in the Sea of Okhotsk
  • to explore by boats the Shantar Islands, where you can find semi-precious stones and see rocks of bizarre shapes
  • to see the chapel built on the edge of Russia by the legendary Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov
  • to catch the sea or river fish by your own, to learn how to cook fish dumplings or caviar by the "five minutes" recipe
  • to forget about civilization for a week and enjoy real "digital detox"


Despite living on the wild coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, this trip offers the most comfortable conditions: high twin tents with folding beds in Wrangel Bay and the warm wooden houses in Ongachan Bay. Lounges with desktop games and wildlife movies. Daily visits to bathhouse, as well as drying rooms for clothes and shoes and places for charging equipment.

Upon request we can arrange this trip in a more comfortable format, with a helicopter transfer to Ongachan Bay. The available dates are in July, 16-23, 2021 and July, 23-30, 2021.  Please,  write us on go@russiadiscovery.ru for details.

We have been organizing trips to Shantar Islands for 4 years. 4 members of the RussiaDiscovery team have also tested this route for themselves and are ready to answer any of your questions.

 

Photos by Sergey Dolya, Dmitry Chistoprudov, Inna Koreiko, Leonid Kukui, Oleg Palamarchuc and Yuri Inchakov

Itinerary

The journey begins in Khabarovsk, where you should travel to on your own. You should be in the city one day before the start of the program. In the end of the trip it is better to have one extra day after completion of the program. With planning the journey in this way, you will have rest before a long road in the beginning of the trip and then after a long voyage in the end of the travel. We are ready to assist with the purchase of tickets and choosing a hotel in Khabarovsk. If necessary, leave a comment in your application.

 

Note: this expedition is held in remote and hard-to-reach places., so the schedule and itinerary of the tour can be changed depending on weather conditions, whales presence and other objective reasons. 

Day 1 Flights to Nikolaevsk-on-Amur and sea crossing to Wrangel Bay

In the morning you will go to Khabarovsk airport to meet the group (all participants are traveling from different hotels, so the transfer to the airport is paid extra).

 

After meeting the group you will depart from Khabarovsk to Nikolaevsk-on-Amur by plane (flight time is 1 hour and 35 minutes).

 

At the airport of Nikolaevsk-on-Amur, you will be met by the guide from RussiaDiscovery and will travel to Cape Perovsky by minibuses, located on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk (travel time is 2,5-4 hours along a forest gravel road).

 

From Cape Perovsky, you will make a sea crossing to Wrangel Bay by a high-speed covered boat (travel time is from 4 to 6 hours, depending on weather conditions. There will be hot tea and lunch boxes for you on board).

 

When you get to Wrangel Bay, you will be accomodated in a comfortable campsite right on the shore of the Sea of Okhotsk. The RussiaDiscovery team calls this place the "Whale Bay", because of the highest probability of seeing bowhead whales here. In the evening you will enjoy a festive dinner and can visit a bathhouse.

Days 2-4 Whale watching in Wrangel Bay

These days will be dedicated to the observation of bowhead whales. They are 22 meters long and up to 150 tons weigh. Under favorable conditions, both 1-2 whales and 30-40 can enter Wrangel Bay at the same time.

 

Bowhead whales live only in the cold waters of the Northern hemisphere. The southernmost group of this cetacean species is found in the Sea of Okhotsk. In the shallow waters of Wrangel Bay, they come for socialization, as well as to hide from carnivorous killer whales.

 

This location is great for whale watching and is a point of attraction not only for tourists, but also for scientists. During your staying in Wrangel Bay, 2 marine biologists who have many years of experience in whale researching will also live in the campsite. They will tell you about the peculiarities of life and behavior of these sea giants both during daytime observations and at evening lectures. If you wish, you can help with whale tracking and collecting of biological materials — this data will help them to study the population of bowhead whales in the Sea of Okhotsk.

 

Under favorable conditions, you can watch whales at any time of the day: at dawn, during the day or at sunset. You can do this either from the sandy shore or the rocks surrounding the bay, or by going out into the ses on a boat or SUP-board — an inflatable board for swimming. Even those who have never tried SUP surfing before can easily manage the SUP-board. The use of this board is completely safe for both whales and humans. Even marine biologists regularly use SUP-boards to monitor whales.

 

If you are lucky, in addition to whales in Wrangel Bay, you can see other wild animals: killer whales and seals, bears and foxes, chipmunks and seabirds. If you want, you can go sea fishing, pick mushrooms and berries, play beach volleyball or deckstop games.

 

Just in case, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that we cannot guarantee 100% presence of whales in Wrangel Bay. We have been organizing trips to the Shantar Islands for 4 years, and every summer whales come to this location.Bu you should understand, thet the wild nature lives by its own laws. Please, keep this in mind when planning your trip.

Day 5 Sea voyage to Ongachan Bay

Early this morning you will go to Ongachan Bay by a speed boat (journey time — 2-2,5 hours). The route will pass through the Academy Bay and the open sea. You will meet flocks of sea birds —tufted puffins, ducks, gulls. In addition, there is a high probability of meeting whales and killer whales.

 

When you arrive at the bay, you will stay at the base, have lunch and relax. This place will be the starting point for your travels in the following days.

Days 6-9 Boat trips to the Shantar Islands

These days you will enjoy boat trips around the Shantar archipelago. In the morning, you will go by boat to explore different Islands, and in the afternoon you will return to the base in Ongachan Bay.

 

The Shantar Islands consist of 15 wild, uninhabited ones in the Sea of Okhotsk. Some of them reach a length of tens of kilometers, while others are quite tiny. The flora and fauna of the archipelago is unique, and therefore this territory was declared to be a national park in 2013.

 

Under favorable weather conditions, you will visit several Islands at once — some of them you will see from a boat, and also make landings to another.

 

The island of Bolshoy (Rus. fo "Big") Shantar is the largest in the whole archipelago, it is 65 km length from north to south and 47 km length from west to east. This island is famous for several interesting places:

  • a marine weather station where only 4 people live and work all year round
  • an abandoned whale factory where sawmills, meat grinders and fat burners are still preserved
  • abandoned military unit that previously served as part of the Soviet air defense system
  • chapel of St. Nicholas, built by the famous Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov
  • Cape Raduzhniy (Rus. for "Rainbow"), where there are huge rocks of jasper in different colors, from bright red to green. During a walk in this part of the coast, you can find semi-precious jasper shales, white quartz and marble veins.


If the weather is good, you can also spend the night in tents in Pankov Bay at the Bolshoy Shantar Island.

 

Prichiy (Rus. for "Bird") and Utichiy (Rus. for "Duck") Islands are considered to be a nice places for birdwatching. Spectacled guillemots, Steller's sea eagles, tufted puffins and gulls are nesting here.

 

While cruising by boat, you will also see other islands of the archipelago. Some of them are very picturesque thanks to the marine rocks of bizarre shapes called "kekury". Encounters with whales, orcas, belugas and seals are also possible here.

Day 10 Sea crossing to Cape Perovsky and flight to Nikolaevsk-on-Amur

Today you will start your long way back to civilization.

 

You will get up early in the morning and will start sea crossing by boat to Wrangel Bay (the travel time is abour 2-2,5 hours).

 

When you arrive at the campsite you are already familiar with, you will have breakfast and say goodbye to the whales that are likely to be in the bay at this moment.

 

Then you will continue the voyage to Cape Perovsky (travel time is 4-6 hours. There will be hot tea and lunch boxes for you on board).

 

From Cape Perovsky you will go to Nikolaevsk-on-Amur by minibus (travel time-2.5-4 hours on a forest gravel road).

 

When you arrive in the city, you will stay in a hotel, relax and have dinner (extra charge).

Day11 Return to Khabarovsk

Today you will return from Nikolaevsk-on-Amur to Khabarovsk by local airlines plane (flight time is 1 hour and 35 minutes).

 

After arriving to Khabarovsk, you will say goodbye to the group and go to the hotel on your own to relax after a long and eventful expedition.

 

Due to the possibility of regional flights being delayed, we strongly recommend that you buy tickets to fly home the next day. This way you will not only reduce the risks of delays, but also be able to walk around Khabarovsk, as well as rest before a long flight home.

Most popular
Archipelago of discoveries
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.
Age
7 y.o.
Group size
from 10 to 14 person
Duration
11 days

Accommodation during the trip

4 nights
5 nights
1 night

Languages

EN
guide
Start date
7 September 2021
  • 7 September 2021
  • 26 July 2022
  • 22 August 2022
End date:
17 September 2021
3 125 EUR

Accommodation during the trip

The expedition to the Shantar Islands will be held in places remote from civilization. Therefore, the accommodation will be quite simple, but comfortable.

 

From the first to the fifth day of the trip, you will stay at a campsite located in Wrangel Bay, right on the shore of the Sea of Okhotsk. On the territory there are residential tents, large tourist tents for catering, lectures and recreation, 2 steam baths, a house for drying clothes and shoes, 4 toilets and a washbasin area. The camp has electricity, which is supplied by generators. The bathhouse is heated every day.

 

Your accommodation will be arranged in high camping tents (Maverick Montblang/Wind), each of which is designed for two people. Inside the tent there are two sleeping compartments, each with a folding bed. In addition, the tent has a common tambour, which contains a small table with chairs and a clothes rack.

 

From the fifth to the tenth days of the expedition, you will stop at the base in Ongachan Bay, located on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, 5 kilometers from the Shantar archipelago. On the territory of the base there are warm houses, a lounge, a gazebo, a hot shower, a sauna, a house for drying clothes and shoes, toilets and a washbasin area. The camp has electricity from generators. The sauna is heated every day. In the lounge you will find a collection of films about whales and the nature of the Sea of Okhotsk.

 

You will live in houses, each of which is designed for four people. Inside the house there are wide plank beds with mattresses, pillows and blankets, hangers and a small table.

 

Please, keep in mind that in addition to your group of up to 14 people, other tourists can also live in Wrangel Bay and Ongachan Bay.

 

You will spend the night before your return flight to Khabarovsk at the "Sever" Hotel, located in the center of Nikolaevsk-on-Amur town. We should warn you that this is the only hotel in the city — with a satisfactory, but not very high level of comfort. You will be accommodated in rooms for 2-4 people, each of which will have a bathroom.

 

Note: you need to book your own accommodation in Khabarovsk before and after the expedition. We recommend hotels "Sopka" and "Parus" (high level of service), "Verba", "Khabarovsk city Boutique hotel ", "Sapporo" and "Lazurit" (standard accommodation), as well as "Chaika" (budget accommodation).

Call friends!

Common questions

+ Maximize Minimize

Who will be my guide +

A whole team of specialists will work with you during this tour:

  • an English-speaking guide from RussiaDiscovery will meet you at the airport of Nikolaevsk-on-Amur and will accompany your group during the whole trip. He will coordinate all the processes during the expedition and will be able to answer any of your questions.
  • marine biologists Grigory Tsidulko and Olga Shpak will also live at a campsite in Wrangel Bay. They have been studying whales for many years and will tell you about the peculiarities of their life and behavior, both during daytime observations and during evening lectures.
  • professional drivers and captains will drive minibuses on forest roads and boats on the open sea
  • experienced rangers will protect you from possible encounters with wild animals while walking along the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk
  • cooks in Wrangel Bay and Ongachan Bay will prepare delicious and nutritious meals for you three times a day
Meals +

The tour price includes three meals a day during the active part of the program (breakfast and dinner, as well as lunch or afternoon snacks on the routes).

 

The menu will include both simple dishes (porridge, sandwiches, soups, salads, second course, herbal and berry teas) and seafood (flounder, salmon, red caviar, crabs — depending on the catch). In Wrangel Bay, a chef bakes fresh bread with seaweed. For those who wish, it is possible to participate in a master class on cooking fish dumplings.

 

During the long sea crossing from Cape Perovsky to Wrangel Bay and back, you will be provided with meals on the boat (lunch boxes and hot tea).

 

Additionally, you will need to pay for meals during your stay in Khabarovsk before and after the expedition, as well as meals in Nikolaevsk-on-Amur (dinner on day 10 and breakfast on day 11).

What transport is used on the route +

From Khabarovsk to Nikolaevsk-on-Amur and back you will fly by the plane of the regional "Aurora Airline" or "Khabarovsk Airlines". Tickets with luggage up to 23 kg are included in the tour price (flight time is 1 hour and 35 minutes).

 

From Nikolaevsk-on-Amur to Cape Perovsky and back you will be transferred by Toyota Hiace minibuses (travel time is 2.5-4 hours). The capacity of each minibus is 12 people, but for more comfortable accommodation, we offer seating arrangements for 7-8 people in one car. Luggage is located on top and inside the car. The route will follow a forest gravel road.

 

The sea crossing from Cape Perovsky to Wrangel Bay, from Wrangel Bay to Ongachan Bay and back will be performed on a covered speedboat of catamaran type (travel time is 4-6 hours). The boat has a capacity of 16-18 people. There are comfortable seats, a toilet and a place where you can wash your hands on board. The model of this boat is designed specifically for the harsh conditions of the Sea of Okhotsk. The catamaran is fast, so passengers do not get seasick in it.

 

Boat trips on the Shantar archipelago will be carried out by open-type catamarans. In this case you shoulf be prepared for strong wind, but such boats offer a 360-degree view of the whales.

 

Note: we have been organizing trips to Shantary for 4 years and all this time we are trying to improve the route and logistics. Previously, on the road from Khabarovsk to Wrangel Bay, we used a car transfer, which took about a day and was very tiring for tourists. This year, we replaced this part of the route with a flight to Nikolaevsk-on-Amur. In addition, a covered boat will now be used for long crossings, rather than an open-type boat. Thanks to these improvements, the expedition will become more comfortable.

What to bring with me +

The weather on the Shantar Islands can be extremely unstable: strong winds, fogs, and rain are possible. Therefore, we ask you to pay close attention to the equipment list below.

 

For sea trips:

  • storm suit (overalls or jacket and trousers)
  • high rubber boots (needed for embarkation and disembarkation from a boat)
  • shoes with warm insoles
  • wind-resistant hat
  • thermal socks
  • waterproof gloves
  • balaclava helmet

 

For trekking and time in the camp:

  • light jacket (GORE-TEX with a hood in case of rainy weather)
  • light shoes (e.g. sport shoes)
  • trekking trousers
  • cap or light hat
  • light gloves
  • thermal underwear (2 types with different level of warmth)
  • liner in a sleeping bag
  • fleece jacket
  • underwear, T-shirts, socks
  • towel
  • swimming costume (in case you have a wish to get into water)
  • sleeping bag (+5°С comfort)
  • dry bag
  • head torch with extra batteries
  • light backpack for trekkings
  • snorkeling vest (for SUP surfing, optionally)

 

For photography equipment:

  • camera,  GoPro camera, drone (optional). You don't need to get a special permit to shoot from a drone on the Shantar Islands.
  • waterproof backpack and a dry bag

 

Other:

  • personal medicines, tooth brush, wet towel wipes, etc.
  • knife or multitool 
  • binoculars (optional)
  • wetsuit for SUP surfing (optional, you can rent it for free on site)
Mobile communication and Wi-Fi +

Stable mobile communication will only be available in Khabarovsk and Nikolaevsk-on-Amur. There will be no phone connection and Wi-Fi in Wrangel Bay and Ongachan Bay. Please, let your family and friends know in advance so they don't worry.

 

For emergency communication, the guides will be provided with a satellite phone.

To learn more about Shantar Islands +

Journeys with RussiaDiscovery are not just active holidays. It is important for us that you not only enjoy the beautiful views, but also get to know the features of a particular territory as deeply as possible.

 

We recommend you to look through before traveling to the Shantar Islands:

Booking

Most popular

Archipelago of discoveries

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.
Age
from 7 y.o.
Group size
from 10 to 14 person
Duration
11 days

Accommodation during the trip

4 nights
5 nights
1 night

Languages

EN
guide
3 125 EUR
What's included in the price:
  • air tickets from Khabarovsk to Nikolaevsk-on-Amur and back (baggage limit — 23 kg)

  • transfer from Nikolaevsk-on-Amur to Cape Perovsky and back (by Toyota Hiace minibuses)

  • rent of a high-speed covered boat for sea thansfers to Wrangel Bay and back, rent of uncovered boats for sea trips

  • accommodation in a campsite in Wrangel Bay (4 nights), at the base in Ongachan Bay (5 nights) and in a hotel in Nikolaevsk-on-Amur (1 night)

  • three meals a day (delicious and healthy food, fresh seafoods)

  • daily walking and sea excursions, whale watching, birds watching, etc 

  • lectures of marine biologists, services of captains, drivers, gamekeepers, cooks and English-speaking guide from RussiaDiscovery

  • rent of group equipment, fishing gear, boats, SUP-boards and wetsuits (3 mm thickness)

  • permission for visiting the Shantar Islands National Park

  • photos and videos while SUP-boarding with whales

Extra charge:
  • international flights and a flight to Khabarovsk (starting at 270 EURO for a round-trip ticket)

  • hotel accommodation in Khabarovsk (2 nights before and after the trip)

  • 4 transfers from Khabarovsk airport and back (taxi cost starts from 3,5 EURO one way)

  • meals in Khabarovsk

  • meals in Nikolaevsk-on-Amur (dinner on day 10, breakfast on day 11)

  • health insurance (including the helicopter evacuation)

  • rent of a insulated sleeping bag with a liner (+35 EURO per person, if necessary)

In the price:
Included Extra charge
  • air tickets from Khabarovsk to Nikolaevsk-on-Amur and back (baggage limit — 23 kg)

  • transfer from Nikolaevsk-on-Amur to Cape Perovsky and back (by Toyota Hiace minibuses)

  • rent of a high-speed covered boat for sea thansfers to Wrangel Bay and back, rent of uncovered boats for sea trips

  • accommodation in a campsite in Wrangel Bay (4 nights), at the base in Ongachan Bay (5 nights) and in a hotel in Nikolaevsk-on-Amur (1 night)

  • three meals a day (delicious and healthy food, fresh seafoods)

  • daily walking and sea excursions, whale watching, birds watching, etc 

  • lectures of marine biologists, services of captains, drivers, gamekeepers, cooks and English-speaking guide from RussiaDiscovery

  • rent of group equipment, fishing gear, boats, SUP-boards and wetsuits (3 mm thickness)

  • permission for visiting the Shantar Islands National Park

  • photos and videos while SUP-boarding with whales

  • international flights and a flight to Khabarovsk (starting at 270 EURO for a round-trip ticket)

  • hotel accommodation in Khabarovsk (2 nights before and after the trip)

  • 4 transfers from Khabarovsk airport and back (taxi cost starts from 3,5 EURO one way)

  • meals in Khabarovsk

  • meals in Nikolaevsk-on-Amur (dinner on day 10, breakfast on day 11)

  • health insurance (including the helicopter evacuation)

  • rent of a insulated sleeping bag with a liner (+35 EURO per person, if necessary)

7 Sep 2021, Tue — 17 Sep 2021, Fri
3 125 EUR
26 Jul 2022, Tue — 5 Aug 2022, Fri
3 125 EUR
22 Aug 2022, Mon — 1 Sep 2022, Thu
3 125 EUR
Best price
guarantee
Customized
tours
Discounts for
regular clients
Easy booking
and payments