06 Nov 2019

4 Reasons to Visit Kamchatka

Into the Wilds of Kamchatka

Home to remarkable concentrations of Brown Bear, Sea Otters and Steller's Sea Eagles, the Kamchatka Peninsula is mostly wilderness – pristine, diverse and mysterious. Spectacular volcanoes, fjords and rolling tundra dominate rugged coastlines. Fortunately, over 25% of this enchanting territory is protected in nature reserves.

More than half of Kamchatka's population resides in the capital city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, and the rest of the population live mainly along the coasts.

Prior to 1991, foreigners were not permitted to visit Kamchatka. And, still thirty years later, the extremely limited infrastructure and lack of roads make travelling to Kamchatka nearly impossible for the independent adventurer – but ideal for expedition cruising!

1. Kamchatka Brown Bear

The Kamchatka Peninsula is home to around 15,000 Kamchatka Brown Bears – the densest population of brown bears on the planet. Among the largest bears in the world, they can weigh up to 700 kilograms.

During summer months, June through September, they often congregate along the riverbeds and coastline to mate, feed on salmon and raise their young.

On our Kamchatka cruises, 'Siberia's Forgotten Coast: Kamchatka Coast' and 'Jewel of the Russian Far East: Kamchatka Coast', we typically encounter between 40 and 80 Kamchatka Brown Bears from the safe vantage of our Zodiacs and ship.

2. Volcanic Landscapes

From hot springs and waterfalls to smoldering craters and geysers, Kamchatka's landscape is a mythical and enchanting experience unto itself. The name "Kamchatka" in the Ainu language – the original inhabitants of Southern Kamchatka – means "stretching and exploding terrain.

Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, this dramatic land of fire and ice boasts 414 glaciers, 160 dormant and 29 active volcanoes. Kamchatka has the highest density of active volcanoes in the world, which were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Many of Kamchatka's volcanoes are symmetrical cones rising an impressive 4,000 metres or more above sea level.

"The experience has changed my outlook on life, I am seriously considering returning."
–KAYE


3. Abundant Birdlife

The Kamchatka Peninsula hosts a profusion of birdlife including half of the world’s population of majestic Steller’s Sea Eagles, and massive seabird colonies of Auklets, Puffins, Cormorants, Guillemots, Gulls, Fulmars and Kittiwakes circle and nest in the craggy cliffs.

One of the most iconic species endemic to this region is a critically endangered wader, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. For the past 9 years, Heritage Expeditions has supported BirdLife International and Birds Russia research teams working on this species. Our 2020 'Kamchatka Coast: Siberia's Forgotten Coast' expedition not only continues that support, but expands it to include other seabirds and waders as researchers monitor potential changes in their populations and distribution due to a variety of reasons such as climate change.


4. Amazing Marine Life

Beneath the deep blue waters surrounding Kamchatka lives a bounty of marine life – thousands of Sea Otters, endangered Steller Sea Lions, Northern Fur Seals, Harbour porpoises and Dall’s porpoises, Largha Seals, and a range of whales including the critically endangered North Pacific Right whale, Gray, Orca, Beluga, Bowhead, Blue, Humpback, Fin, Minke and Sperm. These waters are also home to the greatest concentrations of salmon, steelhead, trout and char species in the world, which play critical roles in sustaining the local communities and animals.

Upcoming Expeditions to Kamchatka

Kamchatka Coast: Siberia's Forgotten Coast [14 Days]
23 Jun 2020 to 6 Jul 2020
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy to Anadyr, Russia
Charter flights available from Nome, Alaska
Aboard the Spirit of Enderby

Kamchatka Coast: Jewel of the Russian Far East [13 days]
31 Aug – 12 Sep 2020
Anadyr to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
Charter flights available from Nome, Alaska
Aboard Spirit of Enderby

Kamchatka and Kuril Islands: Russia's Ring of Fire [13 Days]
27 May – 08 Jun 2020  (very limited space)
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia to Sakhalin Island
Aboard the Spirit of Enderby

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