Friday, 8 April 2011

Travel to The Russian Far East with Heritage Expeditions

Heritage Expeditions still has limited availability on its five voyages to the Russian Far East, departing between June and September 2011, on board its fully owned and operated polar research vessel the 50-passenger Spirit of Enderby.

A 14-day 'Birding the Kuril Islands' voyage will depart on 12 June 2011 from Sakhalin Island in Russia, cruising through the islands that make up the Kuril chain which stretches across the Bering Sea between Japan and Russia, and end in the town of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, a major Russian naval base during the Cold War. The voyage also explores the remote Kamchatka coastline and Commander Islands, providing travellers with extraordinary wildlife experiences and the chance to explore historical sites steeped in intrigue. Prices start from US$6,850 per person.

A 15-day 'In the Wake of Bering' voyage will depart from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy on 26 June 2011 and sail 'north by north east' in the footsteps of the famed explorer's Great Northern Expedition. This is a wilderness area that few people have seen or experienced because of the region's remoteness and the fact that it was a 'closed area' until the early 1990s. The voyage will seek out the best wildlife experiences in the region, including brown bears, beluga whales and a search for the extremely rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper, classified as 'critically endangered' and whose only known breeding ground is in northern Kamchatka and Chukotka. Prices start from US$7525 per person.

Three 14-day 'Across the Top of the World' voyages will start in Anadyr, Russia on 27 July, 10 August, and 24 August 2011 and travel from Chukotka in the Russian Arctic, homeland of the indigenous Chukchi people.  The voyages include Wrangel Island, which has the highest density of polar bear dens in the world, where there is an option to traverse the island and enter the Wrangel Island Nature Reserve, usually off-limits to tourists, but available exclusively to Heritage Expeditions customers in a specially negotiated arrangement with the Russian authorities. Prices start from $7150 per person. There is also the option to start these itineraries in Nome, Alaska, please enquire for more information.

A longer 19-day 'Jewel of the Russian Far East' voyage will depart on 6 September 2011 from the port of Anadyr, and visit remote communities of nomadic reindeer herders and abandoned Cold War bases, as well as offering spectacular wildlife viewing. Prices start from US$11,074 per person (Nome, Alaska departure point also available).

Prices include one night pre-voyage accommodation, transfers, all meals, shore excursions, port charges, landing fees and permits. Heritage Expeditions is also able to assist with competitively priced airfares and additional pre and post voyage touring.

The emphasis of these expeditions is on interactive experiences with the environment and a strong educational element. Frequent shore excursions and explorations using inflatable Zodiacs are guided by a team of experienced naturalists. Heritage Expeditions has secured permits to visit many locations which are still off limits to foreign registered vessels.

For further information visit www.heritage-expeditions.com

About Heritage Expeditions
New Zealand-based Heritage Expeditions was formed in 1985, as a way of increasing awareness and conservation of the natural world through responsible expedition travel to the world's wildest and remotest places. The company pioneered small ship expedition cruising to the Russian Far East in 2007.