Day 1: Fly to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy and stay overnight at centrally located Hotel. If you want to arrive a few days earlier we can make exclusive arrangements for you including visiting the famed Valley of the Geysers’ or explore one of a number of volcanoes for which the region is famous.
Day 2: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. In the morning you could take opportunity to explore the city. There is an excellent museum and a number of monuments that let you discover the history of the city. In the afternoon you will board the “Spirit of Enderby” in preparation for the departure of the expedition this evening.
Day 3: Zhupanova River. We will spend the morning in the Zhupanova River on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Our zodiacs can negotiate the shallow meandering river where there are superb opportunities for birding. We are likely to see upwards of 40 species of birds, including species such as the yellow-breasted bunting, green shank, far eastern curlew and common tern. Further up the river, in the mature forest there is a very good chance that we will see the magnificent Steller’s Sea eagle as they are known to nest here.
Days 4 and 5: Commander Islands. We spend these two days at the Commander islands. They are named after Commander Vitus Bering who discovered them on the Great Northern or Second Kamchatka Expedition. He and many of his crew died of scurvy here after his ship was wrecked on the Island. Simple headstones mark their graves near the wreck site. We will begin our exploration of these islands with a visit to the village of Nikolskoye, there is some great “birding” around the shoreline and river mouth.
There is also a very good museum with some interesting cultural and natural history displays. The remainder of our time here is spent in search of the islands wildlife. The Commander Islands are home to a large number of birds including horned and tufted puffins, crested and parakeet auklets, thick billed murres, red-legged kittiwakes and red faced cormorants. We may also spot harbour seals, Steller’s sea lions, and northern fur seals.
Day 6: Verkhoturova Island. Late afternoon we arrive off Cape Yugo-Vostochnyy on Verkhoturova Island. There is an extensive bird colony that is readily accessible from the sea. There are good numbers of Slaty backed Gulls, Black Legged Kittiwakes, tufted and horned Puffins and Pigeon Guillemot. There are much smaller numbers of Parakeet and least Auklets. On an offshore reef stellers sealions can sometimes be seen.
Day 7: Goven Peninsula. Covering much of the southern Goven Peninsula is the Koryaksky Reserve. It encompasses a wide range of habitats from raised beach plains to steep glaciated mountains. We begin today’s exploration with a visit to a Rangers camp situated near the mouth of a river. It has been a good place to see brown bears , on previous expeditions. There is also an easy walk to a nearby lagoon and a chance to explore the tundra for a number of plants that should be flowering. This afternoon we zodiac cruise the coastline near Cape Goven. If conditions are suitable we will land and explore a river that is known to have good brown numbers.
Day 8: Goven Peninsula/Tintikun Lagoon. On the eastern coast of the Goven Peninsula there are a number of Fiords formed during the last glacial period. One of them Tintikun lagoon is amongst the most picturesque spots on the Koryak Coast. The Fiord is almost dammed at the mouth by a terminal moraine from the last period of Glaciation – but we can drag our zodiacs up the river into the lagoon or lake. Once in the lagoon we can travel into the mountains and explore an area that few people have seen. It is likely that salmon will be running up the river s at the head of the lagoon and Brown bears are relatively common. This afternoon we are at sea as we cruise into Olyutorskiy Bay where we will spend the next couple days assisting the Spoon-billed Sandpiper team surveying new areas for breeding Spoon-billed Sandpiper.
Days 9 and 10: Olyutorskiy Bay. Because of the inaccessibility of Olyutorskiy Bay the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Recovery team have never had an opportunity to survey it. From maps and charts it is known to have good breeding habitat. We plan to divide into teams and survey as much of this region as possible under the guidance and leadership of the Recovery team who will be accompanying us.
Day 11: Bukhta Natalia and Bukta Dezhneva. We visit two other very picturesque fiords today Bukhta Natalia and Bukta Dezhneva. Both of them allow us to take the Spirit of Enderby into the interior. Bukta Natalia is near the southern limit of Walrus and sometimes walrus can be found on a small island at the entrance to the Fiord. At the head of the fiords we land and explore the tundra. There is magnificent scenery and a huge variety of pants to enjoy. Nomadic reindeer herders are sometimes encountered in this region.
Days 12 and 13: Meinypil’gyno. We visit Meinypil’gyno a small settlement of a huge 60km long spit. This is now the last real strong hold (unless we find a population in Olyutorskiy Bay) of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and represents the best opportunity to see the birds well. We will be able to meet with researchers of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Recovery Team there, who will guide us to the pre-located and monitored breeding pairs, where we will hopefully encounter this charismatic species and be able to observe it without disturbing its breeding. Meinypil’gyno also holds breeding Lesser Sand Plovers and Red Knot. White-billed Diver have been seen here and not far from the shore we should also encounter the critically endangered Kittlitz’ Murrelets that breed on the cliffs nearby.
Day 14: Bukhta Gavilla. This morning we check a well known Walrus haul out lying between Meinypil’gyno and Cape Navarin. We also plan a landing in Bukhta Gavilla near Cape Navarin. The Bukhta or bay was named after Vitus Bering’s ship of the first Kamchatka Expedition the St Gabriel. Behind the expansive beach there is a lagoon we can explore for waterfowl and waders. Cape Navarin marks the place where the land bridge to North America began when sea levels were much lower. Because of strong tides around the cape there is an abundance of food and it is not uncommon to see large numbers of seabirds and grey whales feeding here.
Day 15: Port of Anadyr. The last day of the expedition and we arrive in Anadyr, formerly known as Novo Mariinskoe a former Frontier town. Today it is a modern city and administration centre for the Chukotka District. As
we sail up the harbour keep a look out for Beluga whales – there are
often good numbers of this right at the anchorage near the city. You
will be transferred either to the hotel or if you have a flight that day you will be transferred to the airport.
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