Bering Sea Cruise
Seward, Alaska to Otaru, Japan
August 11, 2017

Overview:

Take advantage of the mid-summer sun and travel on nature’s terms. This is one of the world’s great journeys, an expedition that beckons nature lovers, history buffs and the intrepid explorer within. Marvel at spectacular natural landscapes, pristine tundra and massive volcanoes while cruising the coast for brown bears and Western grey whales. Embark on this Northern Explorer: Across the Bering Sea cruise, an exploration from Seward (Anchorage), Alaska to Otaru, Japan, and discover the Russian Far East in the journey. Aboard 120-guest Silver Discoverer.

Brief Itinerary:
Day 1: Seward, Alaska, USA
Day 2: Holgate Glacier and Chiswell Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Day 3: Kukak Bay, Geographic Harbor, Amalik Bay, Katmai National Park
Day 4: Semidi Islands and Chignik
Day 5: Unga, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Day 6: Dutch Harbor, Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Day 7: Chagulak Island and Seguam Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Day 8: Atka, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Day 9: Kiska Harbor, Kiska Island, Alaska
Day 10: Attu Island, Alaska
Day 11: Cruising Bering Sea and crossing the dateline
Day 12: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
Day 13: Shumshu Island and Atlasova Island
Day 14: Matua Island and Yankicha Island
Day 15: Chirpoy Island
Day 16: Tyuleniy Island, Russia and crossing the Sea of Okhotsk
Day 17: Korsakov, Sakhalin Island, Russia
Day 18: Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan

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

Bering Sea Cruise
Seward, Alaska to Otaru, Japan
August 11, 2017

Day-by-Day Itinerary:

Day 1: Seward, Alaska, USA
As soon as all guests have embarked, we depart on our spectacular 17-day “Northern Explorer” expedition. This afternoon you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and participate in the safety drill. Tonight we invite you to familiarize yourself with your new home away from home, meet some of your fellow travelers and enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.

Day 2-4: Alaska Peninsula, Alaska, U.S.A.
For the first leg of our expedition, we journey along the Alaska Peninsula, which extends 400 miles (644 km) from mainland Alaska toward the Aleutian island chain. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful, with active volcanoes, towering mountain peaks, rolling tundra, rugged, wave-battered coastlines and the largest brown bear population in the state.

Day 2: Holgate Glacier and Chiswell Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Kenai Fjords National Park’s famous Holgate Glacier will be our only chance to see a calving glacier. Arriving in the early morning, the low light on the glaciated landscape will paint a dramatic view on the rugged mountains. The cold blue color of the glacier is spectacular in the morning light. The water might be littered with bits of ice.

Immediately after breakfast Zodiac cruises will commence, touring the glacier front. Periodically loud cannon shot-like sounds emanate from the glacier, some accompanied by calving events off the ice front. Gulls might be sitting on the small icebergs while harbor seals will occasionally come out to spy us during the outing.

After lunch the Silver Discoverer will arrive at the Chiswell Islands, part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, and we will immediately lower the Zodiacs for a tour of the island group. Small bays and inlets and sea cliffs are populated by various birds including Black-legged Kittiwakes, various other gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, Horned and Tufted Puffins, as wells as guillemots, auklets and murrelets. The Chiswell Islands are a wonderful location for Zodiac touring, as there are towering cliffs and sea caves to view and explore, and will give us the first chance to go out to get a close-up look at Steller sea lions.

Day 3: Kukak Bay, Geographic Harbor, Amalik Bay, Katmai National Park
Katmai National Park is on the top of many “Best of Alaska” lists because of its otherworldly landscape, including 15 active volcanoes. Here we have the opportunity to get up-close to abundant wildlife and raw beauty; the scenery is magnificent at Geographic Harbor at the head of Amalik Bay, and the bears are ubiquitous.

Kukak Bay is well known for its concentration of bears and the salmon on which they feed, and this is one of the prime areas in this region for bear viewing. Enjoy Zodiac cruises to see bears, sea mammals and birds.

Day 4: Semidi Islands and Chignik
This stunning and nearly uninhabited archipelago is home to some of the largest populations of native and undisturbed wildlife in the United States. There are 2.5 million birds here, almost half the breeding seabirds of the Alaska Peninsula. You’ll find huge numbers of Horned Puffins, Northern Fulmars and jaegers, and over a million murres. Ancient Murrelets and Parakeet Auklets are among the other species found, while the surrounding sea is home to sea otters, sea lions, seals, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins and whales.

Chignik with only 91 inhabitants is a remote fishing village with two fish plants. In summer the population doubles, as fishing gets better. We will visit the village during an afternoon and might get to see one of the processing plants.

Day 5-9: Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A. (Cross the International Date Line and gain a day)
The Aleutians stretch 1300 miles (2600 km) from Kamchatka to Alaska, onetime stepping stones for Russian trappers and traders, who established settlements on the islands. Dutch Harbor became a trans-shipping point for the gold boomtown of Nome. Today most of the islands form part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, renowned for its dramatic, sea-sculpted coastlines, abundant marine animals and millions of migratory and nesting seabirds — a full 80% of all seabirds in North America use the refuge. For the next few days we will wind through the Aleutians with a fairly flexible itinerary, making the best of the weather and local conditions. Here are some places we hope to visit:

Day 5: Unga, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Explore this Aleutian island where there is a settlement which had been subject to a small gold rush. The village was eventually abandoned in the 1960’s and now has a somewhat sombre appearance. Many of the houses have collapsed. From a distance the church with the tower seems intact. Standing close you can see that only the roof is standing on the ground, the walls having collapsed.

Great Horned Owls nest near the church. During a Zodiac-cruise in the bay kittiwakes, Double Crested and Pelagic Cormorants, as well as good numbers of Common Murres and Tufted Puffins can be seen.

Day 6: Dutch Harbor, Unalaska Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
Together with the city of Unalaska, Dutch Harbour is a bustling community with about 4,000 residents. It is connected by bridge to the rest of Unalaska on Amaknak Island and its name is frequently applied to the entire town. During our city tour, we visit the World War II bunkers and the spectacular Russian Orthodox Church. Birders will delight in the large amount of Bald Eagles found around town.

Day 7: Chagulak Island and Seguam Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
During the morning we intend to land on the small and uninhabited island Chagulak. The island is formed by a single volcano, reaching a height of 3474 ft. During the afternoon we want to travel some 44 nautical miles further west to visit Seguam — with 80 square miles a slightly larger island. Instead of one volcano Seguam is made up of several stratovolcanoes. The island contains two calderas, one of them having erupted as recently as 1993.

Day 8: Atka, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, U.S.A.
With 404 square miles Atka is the largest of the Andreanov Islands and the 22nd largest island of the US. Korovin volcano reaches a height of 5,030 ft. Reindeer roam on the island which has barely 100 inhabitants. The island is one out of three places in Alaska to be part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument that encompasses 9 sites in three different states.

Day 9: Kiska Harbour, Kiska Island, Alaska
If conditions permit we intend to do a Zodiac tour along the cliffs of Sirius point which can only be described as “magical“. We search for Least and Crested Auklets, Peregrine Falcons and Laysan and Black-footed Albatrosses, all the while keeping an eye open for the sperm whales that frequent the area. Otherwise we would like to do a landing and hike ashore. Evidence of the Japanese occupation during WWII can clearly be seen at Kiska Harbor, including a Japanese 2-men submarine found ashore.

We can see the remains of a Shinto shrine left behind by the 6000 strong occupying force. During our nature walks we hope to see ptarmigans, Lapland Longspurs and Bald Eagles.

Day 10: Attu Island, Alaska
Attu is the westernmost point of the United States and the site of the only WWII battle fought on North American soil — over two thousand Japanese soldiers lost their lives at Massacre Bay. During the Cold War a LORAN Station was set up, which by now is abandoned.

The island is an ornithologist’s paradise and today we hope to see some of the Asian migrants that are occasionally spotted. Be on the lookout for Peregrine Falcons, Lapland Longspur and Aleutian Canada Goose. During the afternoon attend a lecture or scan the waters and sky for marine mammals and seabirds on our way to the Russian Far East.

Day 11: Cruising Bering Sea and crossing the dateline
A leisurely day at sea is yours to enjoy. Begin perhaps with a late breakfast and another cup of coffee or tea during the first of the day’s lectures. Join the lectures and hear fascinating tales of adventure and learn more about the Russian Far East’s wildlife and remarkable nature. Our knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields. Today you will also become a time traveler: coming from the east, heading west you will cross the International Dateline and therefore loose a day!

Day 12: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
Petropavlovsk, the town of Peter and Paul, derives is named from the two sailing ships used by Vitus Bering when the great explorer reached Avacha Bay in 1740. It is the only major city on the peninsula and one of the oldest. Petropavlovsk is also the scientific and cultural center of the region, and today we will see why as local guides take us on a comprehensive tour including the museum of ethnography and natural history, the art school, the gold-domed Russian Orthodox Cathedral and the marketplace.

A drive out of the city and into the beautiful countryside will take us down a narrow road through a forest of willows, alder, poplars, and the stone or Erman’s birch that is a symbol of Kamchatka. Splashes of pink fireweed and yellow rattle brighten the roadside. Our destination will be the sled-dog kennel where racing sled-dogs are kept. A local folk-group will entertain us with songs and dances of the Even and Itelmen ethnic groups.

Day 13-14: Kuril Islands, Russia
Stretching over 800 miles from the southern end of the Kamchatka Peninsula to Hokkaido in Japan, this chain of over 30 volcanic islands is an important breeding ground for Steller sea lions and one of the richest areas in the world for seabirds; up to 14 species of auks, as well as Spectacled and Pigeon Guillemots can be found in there. As we travel southward, these are some of the places we hope to visit:

Day 13: Shumshu Island and Atlasova Island
At Shumshu Island we intend to do a Zodiac cruise to watch sea otters at play in the kelp beds and waters and observe the activities of the many cormorants that reside in the bird cliffs. We will probably be greeted by many inquisitive seals raising their heads above the surface to look at our boats.

During lunch Silver Discoverer repositions towards the east to reach Atlasova and its 6,500 ft. (2,000 m) high volcano Alaid -the highest volcano in the Kurils. Alaid is praised by the Japanese for its almost perfect volcanic cone.

We land by Zodiac on the black lava beach for a walk to see the remains of the Taketomi tufa cone and the women’s prison, or gulag. The women, many of them political prisoners during the Soviet rule, were sent here to raise foxes for fur. Peregrine Falcons can sometimes be spotted flying above the beach, while buzzards, Eurasian Wigeons, and Tufted Ducks have all been observed on the island.

Day 14: Matua Island and Yankicha Island
Matua is home to one of the Kuril’s most active volcanoes, with more than 14 documented eruptions in the past 250 years. We hope to make a landing and start a long walk to the upper plateau of Matua along a dirt road that cuts through dense thickets of alders. Singing Eurasian Bullfinches, Siberian Rubythroats, ravens, Eye-browed Thrushes and some very active Peregrine Falcons are among the birds expected. Learn about the Japanese military base that was set up here during WWII and how the Japanese used to capture geothermal heat from the volcano to keep the runway open during winter. The newest building on uninhabited 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.

During the early afternoon Silver Discoverer will reposition to Yankicha, the southern part of Ushishir Island. The island is quite impressive — actually so much so that it is featured in almost all articles about the Kuril Islands. The southern part (Yankicha) has a caldera accessible only by Zodiac and only during high tide. Inside this extraordinary 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 auklets, which breed here, is truly incredible.

If we are lucky we may also catch a glimpse of an Arctic Fox or even the rare and elusive Whiskered Auklet. Arctic Warblers and Middendorff’s Grasshopper Warblers can be seen apart from the seabirds nesting here. Polar Foxes had been introduced by the Japanese as a resource for fur trappers. As the island is a nature reserve for birds, the foxes live off the vast number of breeding birds, especially the auklets that nest on the slopes in cracks between the boulders and stones.

Day 15: Chirpoy Island
During the early morning we will approach Chirpoy and will search by Zodiac (weather permitting) along the coast of Chirpoy Island for the profusion of wildlife that lives in the area, including Steller sea lions, Northern Fulmars, kittiwakes, puffins and auklets. Whales, and specifically orcas, have been seen around Chirpoy. If Snou volcano is active we might see the slow flowing lava reach the sea from a safe distance.

During the afternoon Silver Discoverer will continue its journey crossing the Sea of Okhotsk.

Day 16: Tyuleniy Island, Russia and crossing the Sea of Okhotsk
Thousands of Northern fur seals and Steller sea lions call Tyuleniy Island their home -understandably the island was named this way, as the word tyuleniy means “seal” in Russian. During the summer months the island is home to literally tens of thousands of seals and sea lions that will be heard through a cacophony of sound difficult to imagine. Bulls, their harems and many thousands of young black pups all jostle for space on the crowded beaches that flanked the small rocky island. On occasions there are so many of them on the beach that landing is impossible, as there is simply no space available. Our visit at the end of the breeding season is timed to see not only the seals and sea lions, but also the Black-legged Kittiwakes, Slaty-backed Gulls, Tufted Puffins, Common Murres and Pelagic Cormorants that summer on the island. During the afternoon Silver Discoverer will head south across the Sea of Okhotsk.

Day 17: Korsakov, Sakhalin Island, Russia
Today we clear out of Russia. This is a technical stop only and as soon as the formalities are concluded we will continue on our way to Japan. Today is a good day to edit your photos, or to listen to the last lectures of your voyage, which will be preparing you for Japan.

Do not miss the presentation of the voyage’s DVD by our on-board Photographer/Videographer, who will have recorded the various highlights of this voyage.

Day 18: Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan
After clearance into Japan and following 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
Seward, Alaska to Otaru, Japan
August 11, 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.

August 11, 2017