Trip 104: Viewing sea mammals and birds on the Komandorsky Islands.
SEASON: June 15th - September 15th
Departure 2008: upon request. 

Map of Komandorskie Islands

Museum on Commander Islands.These are some of Russia’s most exotic islands, and the first of the Aleutians. Home to the naturally unafraid Blue Fox, who will try his best to steal your lunch. Covered with mushrooms and berries and teeming with colonies of sea lions, seals, sea otters and hovering seabirds, this is a truly memorable trip.

The Komandorsky Islands are the most Western of the volcanic Aleutian islands, although they are included in Kamchatka state territory. They consist of two large islands - Bering Island, (named after the famous explorer of the same name who perished and lies buried here), and Medny Island- and several smaller satellites. From Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky the islands are generally reached by airplane or helicopter. There are abundant rookeries of sea lions, seals and sea otters; some 7,800 sea mammals inhabit the North rookery of Bering Island from April through November. The bird colonies on the island coasts include seagulls, guillemot, cormorants, and puffins. These islands are carpeted in shaggy rainbow shades of tundra - a boundless heathland that invites the visitor to ramble and discover. You may however, come across dwarf birch or aspen trees.

Beginning in the middle of August the tundra becomes sprinkled with edible mushrooms: white, brown and orange cap boletus. A smorgasbord of berries grow here too - great for snacking on the run. Many different species of salmon (red salmon, pink salmon) fill the rivers and streams of the islands during spawning season; from the middle of June till the middle of October. In Sarannoe Lake on Bering Island you can witness a massive sockeye spawning-ground, which takes place from the middle of July up to the middle of September. Air temperature on the Komandorsky islands in summer is rarely higher than 12 C (55 F), and weather changes are never very far away.


Seal.Day 1. Arrive in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Transfer from the airport to a hotel. Preparing for the trip. Welcome dinner in a city restaurant.
Day 2. Drive to the old Even settlement Esso. Accommodation in private apartments. Welcome dinner with private Even folk concert.
Day 3. Helicopter flight to the Komandorsky Islands (Bering Island) over the Kluchevskoy chain of volcanoes and the sea cost of the Kamchatka peninsula and the Pacific ocean. Overnight accommodation is not far from the rookery of wild mammals. Excursion to the Northern seal rookery.
Day 4.
Helicopter flight to the site of the Vitus Bering expedition catastrophe. Excursion to Vitus Bering's grave. View tundra flowers and bushes. Fly to the Buyan Bay and view deposits of the semiprecious stones.
Day 5. Fly to salmon spawning grounds in Sarannoe Lake. View spawning sockey salmon and tundra lakes. Pick mushrooms and berries.
Day 6.
Flight to the Northwest rookery. View sea-lions, seals, sea otters and polar blue foxes. Overnight not far from the rookery.
Day 7.
Fly to Nikolskoe settlement. Excursion to its History/Ethnography museum. Flight to Esso settlement (on the Kamchatkan peninsula) and drive to Milkovo. Overnight accommodation in a private house. Experienced Russian sauna (Banya).
Day 8.
Return to Paratunka resort. Accommodation in hotel.
Sea otter.Day 9.
City tour. Departure.

Cost EUR3400 per person.

Price includes:

  • Full board
  • Double accommodation in hotels in city, Paratunka resort and apartments
  • Tents
  • English-speaking rep at the arrival and departure in the PKC airport 
  • Transfers by coach and helicopter MI-8
  • City tour and museum entrance
  • Guide, interpreter and cook services
  • Komandorsky Reserve fees
  • Visa invitation and visa registration
  • Permits

Questions? Interested in booking a trip? See here for answers to frequently asked questions, click here for booking details, and e-mail me to book a trip or just to ask questions.

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