Bering Sea Cruise
Hakodate, Japan to Nome, Alaska
June 21, 2017

Overview:

Embark on a Bering Sea Cruise from Hakodate, Japan to Nome, Alaska – exploring the Russian Far East aboard a luxury expedition ship. Discover tiny islands. Feast your eyes on the snowy majesty of Atlasov. Hike along black lava beaches, search the air for Siberian Rubythroat, go in search of walrus in Anastasiya Bay. The startling beauty of this journey across the Bering Sea offers another vision of the Russian Federation, one of stunning scenery and warm local hospitality. Aboard 120-guest Silver Discoverer.

Brief Itinerary:
Day 1: Hakodate, Japan
Day 2: Cruising the Sea of Japan
Day 3: Korsakov (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Sakhalin Island, Russia
Day 4: Tuleniy Island, Russia
Day 5: Chirpoy Island, Russia
Day 6: Yankicha Island and Matua Island, Russia
Day 7: Lovyshky Islands and Makanrushi Island, Russia
Day 8: Atlasov Island, Russia
Day 9: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
Day 10: Zupanova River
Day 11: Nikolskoye, Komander Islands, Russia
Day 12: Tymlat Village, Kamchatka, Russia
Day 13: Yuzhnaya Glubokaya and Lavrova Bay or Tintikyn Lagoon, Chukotka, Russia
Day 14: Pyotr Bay, Chukotka, Russia
Day 15: Bogoslav Island and Anastasiya Bay, Chukotka, Russia
Day 16: Cruising the Bering Sea
Day 17: Provideniya, Chukotka, Russia (Crossing the Dateline)
Day 18: Nome, Alaska, USA

Interested in more information? Please contact Expedition Easy by telephone at 1-800-617-2319 or e-mail info@expeditioneasy.com.

Bering Sea Cruise
Hakodate, Japan to Nome, Alaska
June 21, 2017

Day-by-Day Itinerary:

Day 1: Hakodate, Japan
Embark Silver Discoverer and depart on your exciting expedition – “Across the Bering Sea.” After settling in you will attend a safety briefing and be introduced to your Expedition Team. Weather permitting, we will have a sail away cocktail on deck.

We invite you to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travelers and have an aperitif to relax after your travels towards Silver Discoverer. In the evening enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.

Day 2: Cruising the Sea of Japan
Take this first sea day to relax after your long voyage to Silver Discoverer. Start the day with a leisurely breakfast before attending the mandatory Zodiac briefing. Our Expedition Team will present lectures to prepare you for the Russian Far East, and will enhance your knowledge of flora, fauna, geology and history of this seldom visited part of the world.

Tonight our Captain would like to invite you to the Captain’s Welcome cocktail party where he will present his senior officers, while the Executive Chef and Restaurant Manager would like to invite you to the Welcome Dinner in The Restaurant.

Day 3: Korsakov (Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk), Sakhalin Island, Russia
Today we clear into Russia. Once the formalities are concluded you will be welcomed with the traditional bread, salt and local fruit alcohol. Time permitting, we will explore part of this city founded in 1853 as Sakhalin’s first Russian military post.

From Korsakov we will drive to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the capital of the island with a population of just over 160,000. Founded as a small Russian settlement in the 1880s, the city became a Japanese prefect capital when the southern half of Sakhalin was declared a Japanese colony in 1905; after WWII it was returned to Russia. Highlights include a visit to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Regional Museum housed in an impressive former Japanese mansion, and the bustling market. Enjoy a performance of traditional Cossack song and dance.

Day 4: Tuleniy Island, Russia
This morning we will be in front the small Tuleniy Island. Tuleniy means “seal” in Russian, and during the summer months the island is home to literally tens of thousands of Northern fur seals and Steller sea lions who come to breed. Our visit at the height of the breeding season is well timed to see not only the seals and sea lions, but also Black-legged Kittiwakes, Tufted Puffins, Common Murres and Pelagic Cormorants that summer on the island.

During the afternoon we will start crossing the Sea of Okhotsk in an easterly direction and will have time for a lecture or seminar.

Day 5: Chirpoy Island, Russia
During the morning you can scan the waters for marine mammals or attend one of the lectures preparing you for the Kuril Islands, part of the very active ‘Pacific Ring of Fire.’ In the afternoon a Zodiac cruise will best permit you to see huge numbers of fulmars, kittiwakes, puffins, auklets and Steller sea lions that are regularly seen in the area surrounding Chirpoy.

Day 6: Yankicha Island and Matua Island, Russia
During the morning we intend to land on impressive Yankicha. Featured in many magazines as one of the highlights of the Kuril Islands, Yankicha’s sinking volcanic caldera is accessible only by Zodiac — and only during high tide. Inside the magnificent lagoon with its fumaroles and hot springs, we can still see traces of the tremendous forces that created the island long ago and a visit here is invariably one of the highlights of the entire voyage. The number of Crested and Whiskered Auklets which breed here is truly incredible, and if we are lucky we may also catch a glimpse of an Arctic fox. Although Crested Auklets will be seen almost everywhere the more elusive Whiskered Auklets tend to form rafts outside the caldera. We will be looking for wildflowers and, if conditions permit, we will climb part of the slope for panoramic views of the caldera.

During the early afternoon we reposition to Matua, home to one of the Kuril’s most active volcanoes, with more than 14 documented eruptions in the past 250 years. A Japanese military base had been set up here during WWII and the runway was heated capturing geo-thermally heated water from Sarychev, one of the active volcanoes, and running the heated water through underground pipes to keep the runway open, which normally would freeze over during winter.

Hikers will be rewarded with good views of the abandoned military positions and hopefully get a glimpse of the island’s population of Brown-headed Thrush and Siberian Rubythroats in the alder thickets. The newest building on Matua is a tiny Russian Orthodox Church –with room for 4 to 5 people inside. Standing on the edge of the main plateau of the island and commanding a marvelous view of the bay the church has been beautifully constructed of wood.

Day 7: Lovyshky Islands and Makanrushi Island, Russia
At the Lovyshky Islands we search for Northern fur seals and Steller sea lions around this cluster of small islands and rocky outcrops. Here we should have excellent views of auklets! Aboard our Zodiacs, we drift among them — Whiskered, Crested and Parakeet Auklets. Tufted Puffins with their flowing yellow head plumes are also here, as well as many Northern Fulmars.

Makanrushi is an uninhabited volcanic island of 49 square kilometers, rising more than 1100 meters out of the sea. The island has steep cliffs sides and no sandy beaches. Cliffs of extensive columnar basalt have been uplifted and tilted 90 degrees. A Zodiac cruise along its shore might reveal some of the birdlife seeking these cliffs to nest. The weather is sometimes a bit wet but should not deter us from getting views of sea otters that assiduously groom their pups as they swim together through massive kelp forests. Largha seals are also present, sometimes mother-pup duos, and the pups always swimming very close to their mums. Tufted Puffins can be seen on the water, as well as members of the Kurils-specific race of the Pigeon Guillemot, and Pacific Loons. Peregrine Falcons streak through the air to snatch chicks of Slaty-backed Gulls.

Day 8: Atlasov Island, Russia
We will reach Atlasov in the early morning. Almost completely covered in snow, and lit by the sun, Alaid it is a sight to behold and praised by the Japanese for it almost perfect volcanic cone. Due to its beauty and symmetry, Atlasov is thereby a favorite volcanic island of the Japanese. It is remarkably reminiscent of Mt Fuji in shape and stature, and it is also the highest of the Kuril Islands, standing at 2,339 meters.

We will land by Zodiac on the black lava beach to begin guided hikes starting at the remains of the Russian Gulag that was once situated on this isolated island. Female political prisoners were sent here during the Soviet era, and taught to farm foxes. Evidence of the buildings and fox coups are abundant. On our walk we will see the remains of the Taketomi tufa cone. Birders will be looking Siberian Rubythroats.

During the afternoon we will be heading north to Kamchatka. Our lecturers will want to inform you through talks and briefings or might want to test your knowledge with a Team Trivia.

Day 9: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
Petropavlovsk is the only major city on the peninsula and one of the oldest towns in the Russian Far East. It is also the scientific and cultural center of the region, and we intend to visit the Museum of Ethnography and Natural History with its very interesting exhibits of wildlife and the more modern history (including Lenin and Stalin), the Art School, the gold-domed Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the marketplace. The fish market features king salmon whether whole, in steaks, as roe, or smoked. King crab and scallops are also on offer.

At the edge of the town is a beautiful stone birch forest where we will see an outdoor kennel that houses dozens of sled dogs. These are Siberian and Alaskan huskies and Greenlandic dogs, each with its own house. Several locals dressed in traditional reindeer-skin outfits festooned with beads will greet us with a performance of dancing and singing giving us an insight into the Russian and native roots of Kamchatka.

Day 10: Zupanova River
During the morning we want to take the Zodiacs into Zupanova River. Depending on the fish runs we might see brown bears feasting on this once yearly (extended) banquet. In late June/early July you can expect king salmon, cherry salmon, pink salmon, dog salmon, and sockeye to enter the river. A hike along the river’s shore will reveal the lush vegetation and birdlife. If the salmon is plentiful the immense Steller Sea Eagle might be spotted here. Back on board a lecture might introduce you to the life and times of Vitus Bering.

Day 11: Nikolskoye, Komander Islands, Russia
The Komander Islands are named after famed commander Vitus Bering who had been commissioned by the Russian Tsar to search for a land bridge between Asia and America. We want to visit Nikolskoye, a settlement of around 750 inhabitants established in 1826 by fur traders. This fishing village on Bering Island has a small museum where we will learn about the Aleut people and their culture. The museum contains much information on Bering, as well as the bones of a Steller’s sea cow. During our visit we will enjoy a cultural performance and be entertained by a presentation of local games. The songs and dance reflected both the Aleut and Russian ancestries of the settlement’s inhabitants. We can walk up to the Orthodox Church – one of Russia’s newest and one of the eastern-most – before we make our way back to the Zodiacs for the short transfer back to the ship.

During the afternoon we will be heading for the Karagiskiy Gulf and Kamchatka with time for more lectures.

Day 12: Tymlat Village, Kamchatka, Russia
We will spend the morning at sea while we approach Tymlat Village. The village is close to the entrance of the eponymous Tymlat River.

The native population, known as Koriyak, will welcome us with drums and singing and we will all partake in a cleansing ceremony before we reach the dance ground. Here traditional songs and dances are going to be performed and close by you will see how the locally caught fish is fileted and prepared. Generous helpings of roe on black bread and fish soup will help you decide what kind of souvenir you would like. A walk into the village will give an insight into life in rural Kamchatka.

Day 13: Yuzhnaya Glubokaya and Lavrova Bay or Tintikyn Lagoon, Chukotka, Russia
In the early morning we go ashore at the sweeping crescent beach of Glubokaya Bay to stroll along verdant tundra. The scene is striking – a gently undulating river valley appearing to go on for miles bordered by hills with thickets of alder trees and talus slopes of lichen-covered boulders. The small river is crystal clear. Underfoot a dense carpet of crowberry, bunchberry, and other plants all growing fast in the long days of summer. White-tailed Sea Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and Kittlitz’s Murrelets can sometimes be seen right next to the landing. Silver Discoverer will reposition during lunch.

Depending on the tide we will either take our Zodiacs into Tintikyn Lagoon, looking for brown bears on the slopes and the choice of a longer or shorter hike at the end of the lagoon, or might go ashore at Lavrova Bay for a nice and easy tundra walk. Approaching the coastline at Lavrova Bay we can see the remains of a former fishing village. Directly inland from the beach lush vegetation is covering the remains of the crumbling wooden houses. We will take the Zodiacs up the bay. The presence of bears can be expected, but it is our intention to offer a walk through the former fishing village and perhaps hike up a hill for some spectacular views of the valley and surrounding mountains. Enjoy the solitude and listen to the song of Arctic Warblers.

Day 14: Pyotr Bay, Chukotka, Russia
Two alternative expeditions will be organized, the first a Zodiac landing and hike to some small lakes, and the second a Zodiac cruise around the coast looking for birds and seals. A spectacular waterfall leads to the first lake, dammed behind a moraine ridge and looking inviting after the climb. The more adventurous can head on upwards towards the second lake. During the Zodiac cruise you will pass a small bay known to be a Largha seal haul out. Close by is a lighthouse, and a landing would reveal lush vegetation and wildflowers.

The bays are known to be used be the reindeer herders during their nomadic life in Kamchatka. The herds of hundreds of reindeer are driven for several hundred kilometers from their inland grazing areas down to the coast for 3 days every year so that they could graze the coastal grasses and get sufficient salt in their diet. We hope to spot them here or in one of the adjacent bays and valleys, but since these are nomads, it is impossible to predict the exact days they reach the coast. In the evening the Chef will have prepared a special dinner for the Fourth of July!

Day 15: Bogoslav Island and Anastasiya Bay, Chukotka, Russia
During the early morning we will reach Bogoslav Island and will drop the Zodiacs to cruise along the spectacular sea cliffs spotting Pigeon Guillemots, Brünnich’s Guillemots, Common Guillemots, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Harlequin Ducks, Horned Puffins, White Wagtails, Pelagic Cormorants and Slaty-backed Gulls. There are so many nesting sites that each Zodiac can have a colony to itself.

At Anastasiya Bay the whole mountain range with its cliffs presents a steeply dipping cyclic succession of alternating sandstones and mudstones. While we head further into the bay groups of walrus can usually be spotted. The ship will also be surrounded by seabirds including Horned Puffins, Black-legged Kittiwakes and Slaty-backed Gulls. A scout Zodiac will be deployed to reconnoitre a possible landing site and walrus haul-out beaches. A Zodiac cruise might head for nearby Kruglaya Bay with its many kittiwakes and gulls.

Across the mouth of the bay large groups of walrus can be observed, both hauled-out on small beaches and in the water. The large males are quite curious about the Zodiacs, and sometimes approach them, snorting out clouds of spray from their nostrils as their heads come out of the water. Landing near a river mouth onto a black gravel beach we can hike on a large flood plain of coarse gravel extending out on both sides of the river. This plain displays a rich flora of flowering plants.

Day 16: Cruising the Bering Sea
Cruising north we have more opportunities to see grey whales and orcas known to frequent Gabriela Bay. Attend lectures wrapping up our experiences or enhancing your knowledge about native people and wildlife of Chukotka. Today will be a good time to sort through the hundreds of photos taken and to edit them.

Unfortunately, it will be time for the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Party and Dinner — but rest assured, the Executive Chef and his team will have prepared another gastronomic highlight of the voyage!

Day 17: Provideniya, Chukotka, Russia (Crossing the Dateline)
We stop in Provideniya to clear out of Russia and will leave the harbor on July 07 around noon. Our journey across the Bering Sea will take close to 19 hours, but we will get into Nome before we left Provideniya — because of the International Dateline we will gain one day heading east. Today we will have the Photographer/Videographers presentation of the voyage on DVD. Enjoy those marvelous takes and moments.

Day 18: Nome, Alaska, USA
After breakfast, disembark Silver Discoverer.

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity.

SS-SD2017

Bering Sea Cruise
Hakodate, Japan to Nome, Alaska
June 21, 2017

Rates:

Fares start from $12,250 per person, based on double occupancy.
Please contact Expedition Easy for details and available cabin rates.

Rates are approximate until the time of booking. Please note rates are subject to change without prior notice due to circumstances beyond our control; i.e. fuel increases, currency fluctuations, etc.

Included:

– Personalized service – the best crew-to-guest ratio in expedition cruising
– Butler service in every suite and stateroom – all guests are pampered equally
– Open-seating dining options – dine when and with whomever you please
– Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship – select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees and soft drinks, plus your own tailored mini-bar
– In-suite dining and room service – available from 06:00 to 23:00 aboard Silver Discoverer
– Enrichment lectures by a highly qualified Expeditions Team
– Guided Zodiac, land and sea tours, and shoreside activities led by the Expeditions Team
– Gratuities always included in your fare
– Free WiFi throughout the ship

Not Included:

– Airfare
– Hotel accommodations
– Transfers and luggage handling
– Optional shore excursions
– Immigration fees
– Meals ashore
– Fuel surcharges
– Accommodations whilst ashore
– Laundry or valet services
– Purchases from the ship boutiques or any item or service of a personal nature, such as medical care, massages, spa treatments, hair styling and manicures
– Some champagne, premium wine and spirit selections, caviar, cigarettes and cigars are not included in your fare and may not be available at all times

Deposit & Payments

This itinerary is subject to the availability of all services at the time of making a reservation. No space is being held at this time. Please contact Expedition Easy for the full terms and conditions that apply. We are happy to answer questions and discuss your trip.

Reservations

To reserve space on a trip on the Expedition Easy website, please contact Expedition Easy by telephone at 1-800-617-2319 or e-mail info@expeditioneasy.com.

June 21, 2017