Kamchatka & Aleutian Islands Discovery (Otaru to Seward)

M18QOTSWD15JUN22/19
Dates
06/15/22 to 07/03/22
Ship
SH Minerva
Duration
20 Days
Guests
2 Guest
Price From
$ 19,411
Per Person
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Trip Details

Otaru in Japan makes the perfect starting point for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure through Russia’s Far East and the glaciated wonders of Alaska. Escape into vast, volcanic landscapes as you cross the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Trip Highlights
Compare the trading histories of indigenous peoples living on both sides of the Pacific
Learn about plate tectonics from our experts as you hike around one of the world’s most outstanding volcanic regions
Get close to haul outs of northern fur seals and stellar sea lions along the Kamchatka coast
Explore relics of World War II Pacific battles on remote Alaskan islands
Take in the breath-taking oceanic scenery as whales breach alongside our ship
Itinerary Map
Itinerary
Otaru Day 1

An important port on Hokkaido - Japan’s northernmost island - Otaru retains much of its original architecture. Restored warehouses along its picturesque canal, lined with Victorian street lamps, have been converted into restaurants and boutiques selling sake, music boxes and renowned Otaru glass. Built on the herring industry, its trading history is evident from the terminal station of Hokkaido’s first railway line to the Herring Mansion on the outskirts of town, once owned by rich herring fishermen.

At Sea Day 2

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Korsakov Day 3

Our ship docks off Korsakov, a port city on the south coast of Sakhalin Island - Russia’s largest island - in the Pacific Ocean. From here, most passengers take the short trip to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the island capital. Between 1905 and 1945, Japan ruled this part of the island and the mix of architecture is evident, while the local Korsakov museum documents this turbulent period.

Urup Day 4

Next stop is Urup Island, whose name is derived from ‘salmon trout’ in the Ainu language. It was formerly known as Company’s Land. Roughly rectangular, it is the fourth largest of the Kuril Islands at 120 kilometres by 20 kilometres. The island’s bulk consists of four groups of volcanoes, and thus the island is dotted with craters, ravines and hot springs. Land at black-sanded Natalii Bay in the northwest of the island to come ashore. Keen ornithologists will enjoy spotting the island’s winged inhabitants: crested auklets, tufted puffins, and pigeon guillemots all nest on the island. There is also a colony of black-legged kittiwakes.

Sarychev Peak, Kuril Islands Day 5

The volcanic peak of Sarychev (also known as Fuyo to the Japanese) covers almost the entirety of Matua Island. It is one of the most active in the Kuril Islands chain, having erupted at least 16 times in the last 250 years. The most recent eruption was famously caught on camera by the International Space Station. On the sides of this young, symmetrical volcano, birders will be delighted to see Eurasian bullfinches, Siberian rubythroats, eyebrowed thrushes and peregrine falcons. During World War II, Matua was the site of the most extensive Japanese base in the region – relics and ruins from this turbulent period can be spotted in the undergrowth which is slowly obliterating the island’s wartime past.

Atlasov Island Day 6

The highest volcano in the Kuril Islands volcanic archipelago, Vulkan Alaid rises to 2,340m above black lava beaches where you might spot shorebirds and waders, such as long-toed stint, Eurasian wigeons, black and white-winged scoters, harlequin and tufted ducks, Red-faced cormorants clinging to the cliffs complete the scene. This remote island was also the site of a gulag - labour camp - for women political prisoners in the Soviet era who were sent here to raise foxes for fur.

Petropavlovsk (Kamchatsky) Day 7

With a backdrop of conical-shaped, snow-capped volcanoes, the rustic Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy is the main city of the Kamchatka Peninsula. Nearby Avacha Bay is considered one of the world’s most picturesque bays, dubbed by UNESCO as being in “one of the most outstanding volcanic regions in the world”. A visit to the iconic Three Brothers sea stacks, where Steller sea lions bask, or to the dramatic volcanic area with geysers, craters and active calderas is an unforgettable treat.

At Sea Day 8 and 9

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Attu Island, Alaska Day 10

A site of great historical significance, Attu Island was the location of the only World War II land battle fought in the United States. More than 3,500 hundred American and Japanese soldiers died at Massacre Bay on the southeastern coast. Now a birders’ paradise, it is the setting for the movie, The Big Year - starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson as avid ornithologists – and you can spot soaring peregrine falcons, lapland longspur and Aleutian Canada goose.

Kiska Harbour Day 11

The site of one of Japan’s few American toeholds during World War II, Kiska Island was held for more than a year in 1942–1943 as a naval base. Stark relics of that time such as artillery guns, a Shinto shrine, bullet casings and ruined piers can still be seen. The striking cliffs of Sirius Point are visited by large numbers of least and crested auklets, while keeping alert for the distinct black-footed albatrosses, ptarmigans and bald eagles.

At Sea Day 12

Days at sea are the perfect chance to relax, unwind and do whatever takes your fancy. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, trying to spot a whale from the deck, reading a chapter or two, or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to the green days spent exploring on land.

Seguam Island Day 13

Part of the Andreanof Islands Group in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, Seguam Island is made up of several stratovolcanoes and two calderas, the latest eruption occurring as recently as 1993 at Pyre Peak, the tallest of the island’s volcanoes. The oval- shaped island is mountainous, craggy and home to the short-billed northern fulmar and enigmatic whiskered auklet. Keep your camera ready for whales as we move through the surrounding waters.

Dutch Harbor, Alaska Day 14

A mile-long spit on Amaknak Island in the Fox Islands, Dutch Harbor was one of the few sites to suffer from aerial bombardment in World War II and you can still see concrete bunkers and former gun emplacements. The native Aleut people have inhabited this area for around 9,000 years but the strong influence of the Russian Orthodox Church can be seen in the characteristic onion domes. The sprightly arctic fox and bright-beaked horned and tufted puffins are all residents here.

The Haystacks / Unga Island, Alaska Day 15

A chain of four tiny islands south of Andronica island and east of The Whaleback in the West Nagai Strait, The Haystacks are part of the Shumagin Islands, themselves named by an Imperial Russian Navy officer, Captain Commander Vitus Bering, after one of his sailors who died of scurvy and was buried there in 1741. Watch out for Taverner's Canada goose, sea lions, sea otters, and whales, while on land you can spot foxes. An abandoned village on Delarof Harbor at the southern end of Unga Island in the Aleutian Islands, Unga Village was established by Aleuts in 1833 as a fur trading post but the last family moved from Unga in 1969. It has a ghost town feel with half- standing shacks, demolished buildings and remnants of a church. View its green spaces with bright wildflowers, see kittiwakes hustle at the cliffs, and observe otters and puffins play in the waters.

Chignik Day 16

A remote village 250 miles southwest of Kodiak Island, before you reach the Aleutian Islands, Chignik is built on fishing and famed for its salmon in particular. There are fewer than 100 inhabitants year-round and its attractively coloured houses and bobbing boats stand in front of waterfalls that cascade down the encircling mountains. There are healthy numbers of marbled murrelets, large flocks of emperor goose and steller's eider, and bald eagles soar on the ocean cliffs.

Old Harbour, Kodiak Island Day 17

Known as the Emerald Isle for the green shrubs and bushes that cover its verdant, rolling hills, the city of Kodiak sits on Kodiak Island, Alaska’s largest island and the second largest in the United States. The architecture reflects its 18th-century Russian roots as the capital of Russian Alaska. The star attraction is its bears, especially the extraordinary Kodiak bear which can reach heights of three metres. You can also spot sitka deer and elk.

Chiswell Islands Day 18

Exposed and hewn from the full force of wild ocean waves and seismic activity in the Gulf of Alaska, the Chiswell Islands rise as a rugged landscape carved of rough rock formations that are home to a huge variety of bird species. Located within the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska they are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife refuge. Those coming to nest include horned puffins, black-legged kittiwakes, auklets and, in the water, endangered steller sea lions.

Holgate Glacier Day 19

An opportunity to experience an unforgettable moment, the Holgate Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park, gives adventurers the chance to see incredible calving glaciers and hear the thunderous sounds reverberate across the waters. Up close to this huge glacier, a spectrum of colours play on the ice as nearby seals lounge nonchalantly on ice floes and gulls flit all around. Make sure you have your camera ready as this is a sight you’ll want to capture.

Seward Day 20

“Alaska starts here” is the motto of this charming port town situated on Alaska's southern coast that acts as a gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. This is an epic landscape of dense forest and snow-capped mountains that is home to brown bears and bald eagles. Nearby Exit Glacier gives you the chance to see porpoises and majestic whales flex and flip in crystal-clear waters. The busy harbour has a quaint collection of welcoming cafes, galleries and shops.

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Rates Include
One night pre-cruise accommodation with breakfast in a 4/5* hotel or onboard
All transfers between the hotel, port and airport
Onboard accommodation
All meals onboard including room service 24 hours a day
Coffee, tea, soft drinks & select alcoholic beverages 24 hours a day
Lecture programmes by our experienced expedition team and guest speakers
Shore excursion programme led by our expert expedition team
Branded Swan Hellenic expedition parka
Use of rubber boots for shore landings
Standard WIFI inclusion
Onboard gratuities & port taxes
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Oceanview
19 m2 Sleeps 2
Oceanview staterooms features 2 single beds, bedroom and living room and a luxurious ensuite bathroom.
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Balcony D5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the forward and aft of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony M5
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located at the centre of the ship, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Balcony D6
28 m2 Sleeps 2
Located on deck six, these balcony staterooms feature 2 single beds or double bed bedroom with living room area, a luxurious bathroom and your own private 6m2 balcony
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Suite
44 m2 Sleeps 2
Our Suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a 12 sq.m. private balcony.
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Premium Suite
49 m2 Sleeps 2
Our grandest suites features a superking bed and separate living room with and a soothing flame-effect fireplace a luxurious ensuite bathroom, spacious walk in wardrobe and a 12 sq.m private balcony.
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09:00 AM – 05:30 PM (EST)

+1 (800) 537 6777
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