SEASON: July 1st - September 15th
2008 Departure: August 16
Group size - up to 14 pax.
expedition to Kamchatka will take place in the middle of August. In
order to experience the richness of the region's flora, fauna and
geology we plan to visit as many habitats as possible, including the
central valley with the Kamchatka River, Tolbachik, Ksudach, Mutnovsky
volcanoes, Kurilskoye Lake and the hot Khodutka River in the southern
tundra. Kurilskoye Lake is part of a Nature Reserve and one of the best
places in the peninsula to see Brown Bears and Steller's Sea Eagles. To
reach it we will fly by helicopter via the crater of the Ksudach
volcano to a comfortable lodge where we will spend a few days watching
the bears feeding on the berries and the spawning salmon. We plan to
swim in the hot Khodutka River and land - weather permitting - in the
crater of Mutnovsky volcano with its geysers, fumaroles, mud pools,
spectacular rock formations and vivid colors. Further north we
will explore Tolbachik volcano with its recently-produced lava
cones and fields, bathe in thermal pools, gather berries and enjoy
delicious fresh local food. We will spend some time in the small
settlement of Esso where we will meet the local people and then stay
overnight with nomadic reindeer herders in their summer camp in the
mountains. There will be plenty of time to savor the atmosphere of
Kamchatka and follow our own interests whether they are ornithology,
botany, geology, volcanology, photography or walking. We will visit
Petropavlovsk and learn about its fascinating history and, from our
Russian guides, we will learn about life in Kamchatka today and
experience their kindness and hospitality.
Day 1. Arrival
to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Meet and assistance and transfer to Hotel
Petropavlovsk. City tour in the afternoon. Welcome dinner, overnight in
Day 2. Flight by MI-8
helicopter to Ksudach Volcano (1hr). Make an excursion to the crater
lake of Schtubelya (situated inside Ksudach Volcano) and visit 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 on Grassy Point.
The lodge is two stories with 2 bunk rooms of 5 people each on the
second floor. One, 5 person bunk room and a dining room are situated on
the first floor. A "wrap around" deck affords a gorgeous view of
Kurilskoye Lake and surrounding mountains. Often it is possible to
watch bears fishing along the lakeshore without even leaving the
territory of the lodge. Make an excursions along the lake's pumice rock
beach. In-camp instruction.
Days 3-4. View Kamchatka brown bears, Stellar sea eagles, salmon spawning places from
a motor boat and take 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 for
migrating salmon. The salmon 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.
Day 5. Take
walking excursions with local wardens to a nearby bear view platform
(250 meters from the lodge). Evening helicopter MI-8 flight to back
Petropavlovsk. Stop for a bathe 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. Then fly over the crater of Mutnovsky
active Volcano for taking pictures. Return to Petropavlovsk. Hotel.
Day 6. Reserve day in case of bad weather. Or excursion around Avacha bay by
boat with fishing and Ukha (fish soup). Visit Starichkov Island to view
sea birds and mammals (6 hours in total). This tour is a unique
opportunity to see the fascinating surroundings of Petropavlovsk from
the sea, to explore the shores of the Avachinskaya Bay, and to watch
colonies of seabirds in their natural habitats. Or optional helicopter
flight to the Valley of the Geysers
Day 7. Drive
by 4 or 6WD bus to the old Cossack settlement of Milkovo (306 km). Here
lunch will be prepared in a local restaurant and there will be a chance
to stroll around the village to get a feel for Russian rural life.
Continue driving north of Milkovo and camp out in the wilderness in a
mixed evergreen and deciduous forest along the banks of the Kamchatka
River (Kamchatka's largest river which runs northward through the central valley of the peninsula).
Day 8. Drive
to the Lunakhodchikov (150km) base camp (this will be base for the next
2 nights) in tents. This place, reminiscent of the Moon, is famous
because it was here that the first Soviet "Lunar roving vehicle-1", was
Days 9. Visit the new craters of Tolbachik, the dead forest and other volcanic sites. Camp.
Day 10. Drive west from Tolbachik to the hotel in the village of Esso. Enjoy a performance from the local dancing group.
Day 11. Fly by helicopter to the camp of Evens Reindeer Herders. Stay overnight in tents.
Day 12. Return to Esso by helicopter. Overnight in hotel.
Day 13. Reserve day in Esso. Visit the local Museum and explore the Village. Overnight in hotel.
Day 14. Drive back to Petropavlovsk. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 15. Depart Petropavlovsk.
Cost EUR 3070 per person.
- Full board
- Kurilskoe Lake fees and photography fees
- Double accommodation in hotels in city and Paratunka resort
- Accommodation in lodge, flats, Yurta and tents
- English-speaking rep at the arrival and departure in the PKC airport
- Transfers by coach, 6WD truck-bus, helicopters MI-8 and marine excusrion
- Evens folk concert in Esso
- City tour and museums fees
- Guides, interpreter and cook services
- Invitation letter and visa registration