The Shantar Islands, Wrangel Bay: Bowhead whales, killer whales
27 July - 08 August, 2020
Biological trip on Shantar Islands
We are setting up in a comfortable camp area ashore the Sea of Okhotsk with individual tents. Every single day we are watching bowhead whales from the beach and from inflatable sup-boards. The second part of our trip will take place on the Shantar islands, residential in the Ongachan tourist-base at convenient lodges equipped with beds. In order to have few one-day trips to observe killer whales in other bays where they are frequently noticed we will have motor boats at our service. Warm russian sauna is also at our disposal, daily. Bowhead whales! Sup surfing, watching with drones. Killer whales! Looking towards a horizon each day in a hope to see high fins of killer whales passing by. Shantar islands! There are powerboats which can take us to reach the Shantar islands and the Ulbanskiy Gulf in a fine weather.
Dates: 27 July - 08 August, 2020
Khabarovsk – Sea of Okhotsk Arrival before 1:00 p.m. or on 02 August. We are heading to the Sea of Okhotsk after meeting our group. Distance from the seacoast – over 1 000 kilometers, transfer will take from 20 to 36 hours (including sleepovers on a way) by the administrative road through the regional industrial center – Komsomolsk-na-Amure (first night in a hotel).
While this day we'll move by Baikalo-Amurskaya federal highway first, then we'll pass 600 kilometers by taiga forest road and cross Amgun river with a ferry. After ferriage we'll make stop on a forest pass to have opportunity to see production area of local goldmine with its huge quarries and special equipment park. After automobile part of our trip is finished nearby the Sea of Okhotsk coast, we will move from the Gulf of Nikolai to Wrangel bay (1,5 hour with speedboats), where we'll be accommodated in a tourist base to have rest and Russian sauna. Please, pay attention: transportation from the Gulf of Nikolai depends on the rise and fall of the tide. It is impossible to reach the base while the tidal rise due to water retreat on few kilometers. Thus unforeseen delays and unexpected overnights in a tent camp on the gulf coast are probable. In this case we'll be transferred to Wrangel bay next day morning.
Watching whales in Wrangel bay Next 4 days we will spend watching bowhead whales in Wrangel bay. Adult of bowhead whales reaches 150 tones of weight and 22 meters of length itself. They come in the bay for socialization and for hiding between shoal waters from killer whales. To be unnoticed by the animals while getting close we are going to use inflatable sup surfing boards. Also we will set special photo traps in a nearest forest area to catch some land animals in the frame. Last year we got bears, foxes and reindeers. Different trekking routes along the bay are available as well so we may walk and observe whales from upper points and rocks. Each our group for this kind of tour is accompanied by professional WWR biologist who conducts interesting lectures about sea mammals every evening. Accommodation in individual tents and daily russian sauna are provided.
Ongachan bay In the early morning we'll go to Ongachan bay through Academy gulf by speedboats (60 kilometers, 2- 2,5 hours by open sea). We will encounter flocks of different types of seabirds – tufted puffins, ducks, seagulls. Route involves meeting bowheads and killer whales with some luck. In the bay we'll be accommodated in a comfortable tourist lodge equipped with beds. Also, russian sauna is available there.
Archipelago of the Shantar During this day we will travel around archipelago of the Shantar – national park located on wild islands. On Bolshoy Shantar island there are semiprecious jasper-slates, white quartzes and marble veins right on the surface. We will also look out on the horizon for killer whales, especially for those which were released in a wild after illegal capture in 2018. WWR really cares about their plight. (Overnight in a tent camp)
Coming back to the Gulf of Nikolai. Our trip will start from fishing plant where you can buy fresh salmon caviar and look on salmon and its caviar processing.
Return to Komsomolsk-on-Amur
Transfer to Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
End of the journey
On this day we will be back to Khabarovsk.
The cost: 230 000 RUB
Transfer from Khabarovsk/Komsomolsk-na-Amure to the Gulf of Nikolai and back.
3 meals per each day of the trip (except meals in a café).
Accommodation in a tent camp.
Rental sup surfing boards and weight belts for free diving.
National park permits.
Flight tickets to Khabarovsk.
Accommodation in Khabarovsk.
Accident insurance with a helicopter extraction option.
Evacuation expenses in uninsurable cases of emergency.
Extra expenses due to bad weather conditions, flight schedule changes, damage of personal or group equipment through the fault of tourists, illnesses or any other unexpected circumstances.
Average air temperature – from plus 15 to plus 20 degrees Celsius