31 July – 10 August 2018
A unique opportunity to discover the Kamchatka in all its wonderful aspects, accompanied by an expert guide, Piero Bosco. Exclusive departure for our group, maximum 14 people, at the end of July when the millions of sea birds inhabiting the cliffs are in frenetic nesting activities. The summits of snow-capped volcanoes are surrounded by the emerald green of the forests and millions of salmon finally reach the Kurilskoye Lake where hundreds of brown bears are waiting for them; this is one of the best places in the world to observe the plantigrads involved in fishing. The colonies of sea lions, otters and seals are in full activity; the orcas feed on the rich Pacific Ocean while Steller’s Sea Eagles cross the skie. All these things make Kamchatka a real naturalistic jewel that we will have the opportunity to explore in its most spectacular locations flying by helicopter and sailing along the coast.
Arrive in Kamchatka. Accommodation in hotel. Welcome lunch in a restaurant. Free time. Prepare for the trip.
Night at the Hotel Petropavlovsk***
Transfer to the airport Avachinsky, board the helicopter and flight 1 hour to Ksudach Volcano. Make an excursion to the crater lake Schtubelya , situated inside Ksudach Volcano, and to a lovely waterfall where water cascades out of the crater. Visit hot springs that create a “hot beach” on the lake’s shore.
Short flight to Kamchatka’s famed Kurilskoye Lake. Accommodation in a small cozy wooden lodge at Grassy Point. In the lodge there are two levels, 2 bunk rooms of 8 people each are on the second floor and the dining room are situated on the first floor. Services are shared. A “wrap around” deck affords a gorgeous view of Kurilskoye Lake and surrounding mountains. Often it is possible to watch bears fishing along the lake shore without even leaving the territory of the lodge. Make an excursions along the lake’s pumice rock beach.
Night at the lodge.
Observation of Kamchatka Brown Bears, Stellar Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles and Salmon spawning places. Take motor boat excursion and walking excursions with local wardens to a nearby bear view platform (250 meters from the lodge) that is located at the mouth of the many rivers that drain into Kurilskoye Lake. Here you’ll have a good chance of taking great, close-up shots of bears fishing spawning salmons. The salmons pause briefly in the lake and then make their way from the lake into the streams where they spawn. Take longer walking excursions to a large meadow where bears feed on wild berries and visit other spawning streams farther from the lodge. Along these streams you’ll see spawning salmon and many signs of the large number of bears in the area. There’s a good chance you’ll see bears fishing just a few yards away as you walk along the banks of streams.
Nights at the lodge.
Take walking excursions with local wardens to a nearby bear view platform (250 meters from the lodge). Evening helicopter MI-8 flight to stop for a bath in the thermal hot water of the Khodutka River. This is the largest wild hot springs on Kamchatka. The water bubbles out on a section of tundra located just under Khodutka Volcano and forms a small stream. Farther from the source the water slowly cools and you can find the location where the temperature is right for you to take a swim.
Night at the Hotel Petropavlovsk***.
Start sea cruise. We shall sail from Petropavlovsk on a small newly refurbished ocean-going cutter and explore the southeast coast of the peninsula. This is an extremely remote and seldom visited part since no roads reach it and very few boats venture along its shores. It is a wild and spectacular coast with towering, snow-capped, volcanoes including Viluchinsky and Mutnovsky. There are small islands and sea stacks which are the home of thousands of breeding seabirds including Tufted and Horned Puffins,Guillemots, Pigeon Guillemots, Kamchatka Gulls, Kittiwakes. Steller Sea Lions haul out on the ledges. In sheltered bays Sea Otters and Largha Seals swim and on the high cliffs the magnificent Steller Sea Eagle nests. On the black volcanic sands we may see Brown Bears looking for dead fish and Red Foxes checking our zodiac sailing along the coast. At the mouths of rivers and deltas there will be a mixture of migrant land birds, waterfowl and shore birds. Whilst sailing we should see Orcas. We shall go ashore to explore the lakes, cliffs, beaches and rivers and possibly visit a hot spring area.
Depending on the weather and wind direction we shall go ashore whenever possible and explore bays – Viluchinskaya, Zhirovaya, Russkaya and Tikhirka , cape Kekurny and Starichkov island.
3 overnights on board, single cabin with private berths and shared facilities; in the evening of day 8 we will arrive at Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky.
Night at the Hotel Petropavlovsk***.
Reserve day that can be used for an optional helicopter excursion to The Valley of Geysers and caldera of the Uzon volcano (not included in the price).
Transfer to the airport Avachinsky, board the helicopter and fly one hour and a half by helicopter towards north east will bring us right in the middle of the Kronotsky State Biosphere Preserve. A huge protected area of about 1.000.000 hectares included in the list of World’s Natural Inheritances of UNESCO. The Valley of Geysers, situated in the park, is one of the most famous sites of the whole Kamchatka Peninsula and was discovered not long ago, in April 1941, by a hydrologist of the Kronotsky Zapovednik. Inside the valley there are over 20 big geysers, some of them gush forth every 10 minutes, while others may erupt once in 4-5 hours. The wreathes of steam, fountains of boiling water, incredible colours of slopes, hot water steaming along them and profuse greenery of grasses and trees create an enchanting spectacle. We will stay in the valley for a couple of hours and everyone will experience the hypnotic power of this miracle. Again on board the helicopter for a short flight to the Caldera Uzon, also situated in the Kronotsky National Park. The Caldera developed 40 thousand years ago on the site of a huge volcano destroyed by a set of bursting eruption. Then following centuries of intensive hydro-thermal activity have developed a unique symbiosis of volcanoes and wildlife in Uzon. The Caldera is about 10 km in diameter and inside it, behind steep walls, there is a complete “museum” collection of everything that Kamchatka is famous for: hot sources and cold rivers, poisonous mud cauldrons and pure lakes full of fish, a berry tundra and birch forest, mountains and bogs, animals and birds. Uzon is rarely open to the tourists, this is a unique opportunity to visit it. We will proceed then by the helicopter towards the Zhupanova river estuary. This flight will bring us over the smoking crater of the very active volcano Karimsky (1486 mt), there have been 23 eruptions in the last century and then over the spectacular southern crater of the volcano Maly Semyachek (1563 mt) completely occupied by an unusual acid lake, the temperature of this opaque, sometimes turquoise sometimes green lake ranges from + 27° C to + 42° C. The size of the lake amazes, it is about half kilometer wide and 140 mt deep. At the Zhupanova river estuary the dinner will be served and we will return to Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky.
Night at the Hotel Petropavlovsk***
Visit the open market looking for salmon and caviar.
Transfer to the airport for the flight to Moscow.
* This expedition will visit seldom explored areas therefore the program could be changed because of weather conditions or the sighting of animals; it is essential to be flexible.
Included in the price:
– Double/Twin room accommodation breakfast included at the hotel, common cabin on the ship.
– Three meals per day.
– All excursions mentioned in the program.
– English speaking guide.
– Visa expenses.
– Optional helicopter excursion on August 09.
PRICE PER PERSON