Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy to Anadyr: Combining the best of our ‘In Search of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper' and ‘Wake of Bering' Expeditions with new added opportunities.
Siberia's eastern coastline is undoubtedly one of the most remote and least visited regions of the globe. It is home to several groups of indigenous people, including the Itelmen, Koryak, Even and Chukchi. Fur trappers and sealers plundered the regions natural resources in the name of the Tsar in the early 17th Century. Stalin and subsequent leaders encouraged economic development in this part of the Soviet Union. Soviet towns were built, bonuses were paid to those who would immigrate and work there and attempts were made to collectivise the traditional way of life.
As the iron curtain was drawn and the Cold War escalated, this region became forbidden territory. Travel to and within the area was strictly controlled, the number of military installations increased, early radar warning stations proliferated and Russia's Pacific fleet patrolled the coastline.
This all changed in the early 1990s with Perestroika and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Military installations were abandoned, there were mass migrations of workers back west and towns and industries were simply abandoned. As the heavily subsided economy collapsed the indigenous people were forced back to traditional ways of life but permits to travel through the area did become a little easier to obtain.
Twenty five years on, travel through this region is still heavily regulated and virtually impossible for the independent traveller. There is little or no infrastructure, only a few kilometres of road, no hotels apart from in the main towns of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy and Anadyr. These towns have scheduled air services, but access to the rest of the region either by air or sea even for locals is at best ‘unpredictable'.
Throughout its chequered human history its rich natural history has largely gone unnoticed and unknown by the rest of the world. It is an amazing coastline dominated by the volcanoes of Kamchatka in the south, the fiords of what was formally the Koryak region and the rich estuarine areas and tundra of Chukotka.
This coastline has one of the most diverse assemblages of wildlife and habitats of anywhere of a similar latitude on the globe and virtually no people or visitors to disturb them. One of the most iconic species is the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper that is endemic to the region. For the past 8 years we have supported BirdLife International and Birds Russia research teams working on this species. Our 2019 expedition not only continues that support but it expands it to include other seabirds and waders as researchers monitor potential changes in their populations and distribution due to a variety of reasons including climate change.
Pre/post cruise transfers, all on board ship accommodation, meals and all expedition shore excursions.
All items of a personal nature, laundry, drinks, gratuities. International/domestic flights, visas and travel insurance.
Private charter flight Anadyr to Nome $1,000 pp
Our ship - The Spirit of Enderby:
The Spirit of Enderby is a fully ice-strengthened expedition vessel, built in 1984 for polar and oceanographic research and is perfect for Expedition Travel.
She carries just 50 passengers and was refurbished in March 2013 to provide comfortable accommodation in twin share cabins approximately half of which have private facilities. All cabins have outside windows or portholes and ample storage space.
On board there is a recently updated combined bar/library lounge area and a dedicated lecture room (March 2018). The cuisine is excellent and is prepared by top NZ and Australian chefs.
The real focus and emphasis of every expedition is getting you ashore as often as possible for as long as possible with maximum safety and comfort. Our Expeditions are accompanied by some of the most experienced naturalists and guides, who have devoted a lifetime to field research in the areas that we visit. The ship is crewed by a very enthusiastic and most experienced Russian Captain and crew.
The name Spirit of Enderby honours the work and the vision of the Enderby Brothers of London. The Enderby Captains were at the forefront of Antarctic exploration for almost 40 years in the early 1800s. It also celebrates Enderby Island, arguably the greatest Subantarctic Island in the world.
Classification: Russian register KM ice class
Year built: 1984
Accommodation: 50 berths expedition
Main engines: power 2x1560 bhp (2x 1147 Kw)
Maximum speed: 12 knots (2 engines),
Cruising speed: 10 knots(one engine)
Bunker capacity: 320 tons
" From the moment we left Avacha Bay and a Tufted Puffin appeared out of the fog, we knew it was going to be a special trip.In those 2 weeks were spectacular views of Steller's Sea Eagle, multiple sightings of Brown Bears (safely from our zodiac!), and amazingly curious walruses. Not forgetting the thousands of seabirds, and seeing Orcas and other whales from the deck.
Rodney runs a tight ship but we all appreciated it out in this remote part of the Pacific.The accommodation was comfortable and the food was excellent. The expedition staff made sure we all had great experiences.
The birdwatchers' icing on the cake was seeing the Spoon-billed Sandpiper at its nesting ground in glorious summer plumage.
The trip far exceeded expectations and we felt very privileged to be able to be part of it. "
" Dear Leanne, I would be grateful if you could pass on my thanks for an outstanding expedition to those concerned.
Lindsay and Cath produced beautiful meals and their careful presentation combined with their sunny disposition made it feel that I had been invited in to their home rather than eating in a restaurant.
I did not require Cam's professional services but we had some great chats over meals and I trust my tomato recipe will go down well with his wife.
Dan and Chris diligently and enthusiastically pointed us in the right direction to see the wildlife and you could see the interest amongst none birdy clients grow day by day. You had to arrive early to get a seat at the reading of the checklist.
To witness the care and field craft used to allow us to see Spoon billed Sandpiper on the nest was truly memorable and typifies Heritage's attitude to putting the wildlife first.
Multitalented Meghan, Katya and Rodney work so hard in so many ways to make each day memorable. "It is now 0630 and breakfast is served" has never sounded so good and that early positive greeting always got the day off to a good start. Rodney's briefings never failed to whet the appetite and Katya's lectures on the indigenous peoples were both thoughtful and inspiring.
Time and again I got close to wildlife that knew I was there but did not feel threatened,
Thank you all for a wonderful experience,
Brian Bates "
" "I recently went on the "In the Wake of Bering" cruise with Heritage Expeditions which travels north from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy to Anadyr (a couple of degrees shy of the Arctic Circle) along the east coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. It was an amazing expereience. Being my first sea voyage and visit to this area, everything was novel and exciting - even the fact that I quickly got over my one small episode of seasickness on the first evening and nothing further. I enjoyed the fact that the ship,Professor Chromov, known by its original name in Russian waters, is small enough that you get a chance to get to meet all the passengers and many of the friendly Russian crew. The whole organisation of the daily activites, the meals and the helpful staff was wonderful.
Every day we had at least one jaunt in the Zodiacs with landings on the coast and islands off shore so we had opportunity to see both land, sea and shore birds and mammals, sometimes at quite close quarters! The ever changing scenery from the volcanoes in the south (though often obscured by cloud) to the beautiful flower-filled tundra in the north was magnificent.
My main reason for the cruise, the birding, exceeded all expectations and with the help of the Heritage and Nature Trek ornithologists (and not to mention many of the very knowledgible fellow passengers) I learned to recognize the Jiz of many northern hemisphere birds new to me. It was great to see some of the waders that I had previously known only in their non-breeding plumage in the southern hemisphere. Of course the Highlight was seeing the rare and increasingly endangered Spoonbilled Sandpiper. We were very lucky. We also saw walrus, sea-otters, sea-lions, different species of seals and whales, many bears, snow sheep, Arctic fox and some of the smaller mammals. The many beautiful flowers seen on our walks on the hills, marshes and tundra were identified by the enthusiastic and knowledgible staff botanist. It was also very interesting to see and learn about some of the history and culture of this part of Russia.
I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to go on this cruise and have many photographs to keep refuelling my memories!
" As a professional bird tour leader, I was impressed by the job that the staff did on this trip, especially in attempting to balance the needs of various interest groups. Chris and Adam are exceptionally knowledgeable birders, and I really appreciated the knowledge, spirit, and skill of all of the Expeditions staff. Having Evegeny and Elena from Birds Russia aboard was a real treat as well. The birding, mammal-ling, and scenery were all fantastic. And Spoon-billed Sandpiper on the breeding grounds! "
" “The experience has changed my outlook on life, I am seriously considering returning”. "