Jewel of the Russian Far East: Kamchatka Coast

“A truly wonderful and memorable experience”

“The Heritage Expeditions' Jewel of the Russia Far East this September 2015, was the 4th voyage I have had the pleasure to be part of in almost as many years. Previous voyages have been to Wrangel Island, In the Wake of Scott & Shackleton and an expedition to the remote Bounty & Antipodes Islands and the Chatham Islands archipelago. Each has been led by Rodney whose Passion and Professionalism, his 'down to earth' approach, his humour and paramount safety towards his passengers is world class. These wonderful skills have been carefully nurtured into his team who too, are outstanding in their hands-on knowledge of various scientific/ boating/photography/ safety/bar tending/wildlife spotting/visual presenting and lecturing and working all hours to make each voyage a success and more importantly, a truly wonderful and memorable experience for each and every passenger on board. Rodney and his team promise many zodiac landings and cruising and they deliver consistently. The supporting Russian crew keep the boat running smoothly despite some heavy seas at times. The bridge (but not the bar) is practically open 24/7. When sailing, expeditioners are encouraged to get out on the various deck levels to make the most of glorious sunsets and whale blows, drifting rafts of migrating and nesting seabirds, stupendous birding cliffs and the mirrored images of calm seas, while inhaling the mouth-watering aromas of the preparation of breakfast, lunch and dinner, drifting up from the galley. I encourage future voyagers to bring a healthy appetite with you, because as us returning voyagers know and have experienced, the food is honest and downright delicious! The cellar is generally well stocked with excellent New Zealand and (some) Australian wines, although the Wrangel Island voyagers before our follow-on trip, practically drank the cellar dry! So it was a hasty restock of whatever wines could be bought in Chukotka. The boats sailed on these outstanding expeditions are comfortable and are ideal for the number of passengers on board. There is practically no waiting to board zodiacs, and Rodney encourages everybody to take part, no matter the age and 99% of the time, anyone with a disability. The Jewel of the Russia Far East trip was simply gorgeous, no matter the odd drizzly day or the blinding sun rays bouncing off satin smooth seas. Autumn had arrived and the immense acres of the tundra were ablaze with tones of reds, oranges, yellows, greys, greens, purples, enhanced by the mottled hues of rocky terrains. We were treading on canopy roofs of miniature forests, in most cases no taller than our ankles, the ancient and slow growing berry plants dripping with blue berries, snow berries, cranberries, sweet feasts for bears and birds alike. The seascapes and landscapes, the wildlife, the isolation, the abandoned vehicles and weather stations from another time, the welcoming small villages and inhabitants are a photographer's heaven. Botanists and non botanists alike are seduced by the tiniest of flowers making a one last brave show before the winter blasts. Birders can add to their lists of birds spotted. Everyone on board can enjoy the textures, the visual and emotional senses truly sated, the outstanding beauty of this truly remote and little visited area of the the planet. Thank you Rodney and Katya and your team on board. Now to the 'office people' the team who work so hard behind the scenes, who co-ordinate the bookings, the chartered airline tickets, the letters of invite and Russian visa challenges, the emails, the correspondence and the list goes on, a huge Thank you to you all. Are my husband and I returning for another Heritage Expeditions voyage? The answer is a resounding YES, to the one we have been waiting and hoping for, the NE Passage 2016. ”

Ngaire Hart

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