A Super Blog Expedition Wrap-up

10 July, 2017

I am very conscious that this current expedition is drawing to a close and I admit that that I have not been sending out blogs as frequently as I should or could. It does not mean that nothing is happening in fact it means exactly the opposite.  There has been so much happening, the days have been so busy and the nights so short you are not the only ones I have neglected, I have a huge backlog of emails that need answering.  We will arrive in Anadyr tomorrow the 10th July.

This expedition has exceeded all expectations and has achieved its all of its goals.  We have missed some landings. There was a weather system to the south of us that pushed up a big S-SE swell that persisted for several days. The swell made crossing some river bars extremely difficult, but we were able to find alternative landings.

We made a brief landing at in Commander Bay to see Bering’s Grave, it was a chance to reflect on the contributions that he and companions made to science …  it is huge and I would encourage you to read Corey Ford's book “Where the Sea Breaks its Back.”

From Commander Islands we headed north with landings including wetland areas, bird rookeries and fiords. There were many highlights. Ones that I will remember include an early morning climb to a bird colony where we were able to watch and photograph Tufted Puffins from only a few feet away.  We were rewarded with numerous sightings of the Kamchatka Brown Bear (17 in one afternoon), a couple were very special. We were zodiac cruising and saw a female with 3 cubs walking along a beach. Normally we would expect her to run but she was very relaxed and ambled along with her three cubs in tow, passengers were able to get some great photos. We had another similar incident and this particular bear was even more relaxed and indifferent to our presence. The Zodiacs were probably only 5 metres from him as he walked along the beach, sat down and just watched us. I have seen some of the photos .. magnificent.

The weather deteriorated as we began helping the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force search some habitat in and along the Koryak Coast and we had to miss one area that we were keen to search. We did manage to get zodiacs across the bar and into a previously unsearched lagoon, but sadly the habitat there proved unsuitable. The highlight of the days spent searching was finally getting into a really remote lagoon. The large swell made crossing the bar extremely difficult. We waited for nearly four hours for high tide. We reckoned we had a window of about 2 hours before the bar would become too dangerous to cross. We deployed 3 teams to search an area of good looking habitat, time was nearly up when they discovered three new Spoon-billed Sandpipers. There was one pair, plus a lone bird although there was a good chance his mate was on a nest somewhere nearby. This delayed our departure but we managed to cross the bar without incident.

We spent two magnificent days at the small village of Meinypilgyno where the Spoon-billed Sandpiper  team is based. We unloaded a considerable amount of freight for them including a new boat and quad bike to assist their research work. In the afternoon all the passengers were taken out onto the tundra and carefully shown a Spoon-billed Sandpiper nest … a very rare privilege.  Our second day there we enjoyed a concert of local dancing before spending several hours birding and whale watching. We had great views/encounters with  both Gray and Beluga whales.

The day finished rather late with a zodiac cruise at a walrus haul out. There were about 1200 animals there, many were curious and came around the zodiacs offering great photographic opportunities.

Today we will wrap up the expedition with a couple of presentations and recaps before arriving into Anadyr where the expedition ends tomorrow.

New Spoonbilled Sandpiper Nest found 

 

Brown Bear along the Kamchatka Coast, Siberia's Forgotten Coast

 

Up to 1200 walrus at haul out in Chukotka

Walrus and Brown Bear Image ©LGwynn

Current Location

Download our latest brochures Sign up for our free newsletter
Latest news & specials Kayaking available
Heritage Expeditions on youtube