Great Kuril Ridge
August 1st - 15th, 2018

Snorkeling with orcas and other whales in Kuril islands

Being part of the the Pacific volcanic ring, the narrow chin of Kuril islands connects Kamchatka and Japan like a bridge. The Islands are the tops of the highest formations of the volcanic ridge with 1000-2000 meters above the water and many more of them hidden in the depth of the ocean. They used to be part of a Japanese military fortress system and still hide secrets of the past. There are more than 150 volcanoes on the islands, 39 of which are legitimately active. This activity has to do with dozens of thermal springs that are common for this area and used for therapeutic purposes. The highest volcano, Alaid (2339 m), is located on the Atlasov's island. Kamchatka and the Kuril islands are the first to see the dawn in Russia.

If you're one of those travelers who think the harder it is to get to a place the better, you're bound to love the Kurils. Nothing here will remind you of conventional beach-lover oriented tours and you'll be able to enjoy the pristine nature of these fire-breathing islands breathing in crispy fresh air and observing what few people have observed. We bet the isolated location and the lack of information about the place have already ignited your interest.

The flora of the Islands is remarkable as well. Traveling around the islands you will visit various climate zones walking out of taiga right into subtropical thickets or from moss-covered tundra into the deep grass jungle.

Animals we can see
Through the expedition, snorkeling with marine mammals will be our main target. We intend to meet a diversity of species, including rare ones. This list includes orcas, humpbacks, gray whales, japaneese right whales, fin whales, sperm whales, northern sea lions, northern fur seals, largha seals and sea otters. Islands are inhabited by polar fox, brown bears, wolverines and other mammals, high cliffs with birds colonies are often to see. We will use every single chance to get as close as possible to the animals.

Our accommodation for the trip is an ocean sailing yacht equipped with engines so that it would be possible to follow the route even in calm weather. With favorable winds the ship goes sailing, though. When not busy exploring the area you'll spend time in one of the double or two triple cabins or on the deck contemplating the beauty around you. All the meet-ups will be held in the spacious cockpit with great views. There are two restrooms with showers on board and the third shower is located on the stern of the vessel, where you can rinse off salty ocean water after swimming or diving. Having returned after a busy adventure route, you will find yourself in the warm and cozy houseboat with a hot shower and a delicious dinner. The crew will gladly show you how to handle basic sailing gear till you get the hang of it and when the sea is calm you'll get a chance to try kayaking ocean-style.

Our route goes through all islands of Great Kuril Ridge. We will cover over 1200 km from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to Petropavlovsk, so we will be able to see pretty much everything possible in this region. As far as we use small yacht, we will be able to change our route according to guest wishes, land on any island we want and be as close to wildlife as possible. Isn't this what can count for a real adventure? It's time to become a true explorer and ‒ for some of the areas we'll pass – a pioneer!
1-15 August, starts from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, ends in Petropavlovsk

Day 1
Meeting at the airport and transfer to the yacht.

Sakhalin-Kuril transition.
First day will be dedicated to the maritime transition to Kurils. Guests will get acquainted with each other and the yacht, and if the wind will be blowing the right way we will raise the sails. Everyone will be able get the yacht and sailing experience.
Days 2-5
Southern Kurils

Our journey begins with the most "inhabited" and explored part of the Kurils. Here, on the islands of Urup, Iturup and Kunashir, we will visit abandoned cities and look for war artifacts - bunkers, guns and tanks abandoned here after the end of hostilities. On the coast we will visit rookeries of sea lions, northern fur seals and other seals.
Abandoned whaling stations of Southern Kurils are also on our list.
One of the most important points of the program is acquaintance with the amazing marine food of Russian Far East. We will enjoy red caviar, crabs, scallops and fish throughout the whole route!
Days 6-9
Mid Kurils

The least explored and the most wild part of the archipelago. Here, on the Simushir, Ketoi, Rashua and other islands nature is preserved in its most primal form - bird and seal rookeries, bears and arctic foxes, volcanoes, lakes and rivers - all this we will see in the Middle Kuriles. We will enter the famous Broughton's bay, the natural haven where the ships park at the storm time. Here we expect to meet the great number of cetaceans. Islands are surrounded by big depths, so we expect to meet sperm whales in addition to killer whales, gray whales and humpbacks.
Days 10-13
Northern Kurils

We will visit the island of Onekotan, known for the pearl of the Great Kuril ridge, the famous ring lake with the volcano Krenitsyn rising from it's middle. In addition to the ocean part of program, we plan to do trekking to this stunning natural phenomenon. During our last expedition we observed the rarest Japanese right whales near the island of Shumshu. We will visit the abandoned Japanese base, the ruins of the Second World War, the famous Alaid volcano on the Atlasov island and other volcanoes. We will land on Paramushir Island, see numerous bird rookeries and, of course, swim with whales, killer whales and seals!
Day 14
Avacha Bay

This part of the route is most well known and often visited by tourists. We will sail along the most famous sights of the Avacha Bay, including the Three Brothers rocks, the Starichkov Island, numerous bird and northern sea lions rookeries. We will see a famous volcanoes of Kamchatka and the largest number of killer whales on our route. We will try to meet the scientific of FEROP who study orcas in the area. End in Petropavlovsk, transfer to the hotel.
Day 15
Flights back home
Our boats
We use the best boats in Kamchatka to provide maximum comfort and safety.
Each boat carries zodiacs for approaching marine mammals and landings.
"Djambo" yacht
Luxury oceanic-class yacht built in Japan. Lenght 13,5 meters. Diesel-powered engine Yanmar 4JH-THE 60 hp. All necessary safety equipment. Hot water, two showers, two toilets, large rooms. Two double cabins and two single sleeping spaces.

Yacht "Djambo". August 1-15, 2018.
275 000 roubles per person

  • expedition yacht rental fees (according to the itinerary);
  • double/triple occupancy accommodation at the yacht;
  • fuel cost according to the itinerary;
  • ship and crew services;
  • meals at the yacht (full board with lots of fresh sea food);
  • gear and equipment rental fees;guiding services;
  • transfers according to the itinerary;
  • border area and reserve entrance permits;
  • medical transportation insurance;
  • visiting Russian sauna at the stays mentioned in the itinerary;
  • first-aid kit, medicine;
  • amortization expenses;
  • some of additional basic expenses.
Not included:
  • flights;
  • visa (if required);
  • meals outside the yacht;
  • emergency evacuation with no insurance coverage;
  • accommodation for early arrival or late departure;
  • additional expenses caused by bad weather conditions, flight schedule changes, gear and equipment loss or damages, participants' unwell state and other unpredicted expenses.
Additional program options

  • The Volcanos of Kamchatka: Tolbachik, Kluchevskaya Sopka
  • Avachinskiy volcano climbing (1 day).
  • Visiting the Valley of Gazers and the Uzon volcano (helicopter tour);
  • Visiting the Kurile Lake, bear watching (helicopter tour).
How to get here
Flights to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Khomutovo, UUS) directly from Moscow or Vladivostok international airport. Tickets at, aeroflot, S7 airlines. Flights from Moscow or Vladivostok to Petropavlovsk airport (Elizovo, PKC), tickets at aeroflot.
Recommended equipment
  • clothes for any kind of weather since it changes a lot;
  • waterproof jacket, pants;gloves, hat;
  • trekking boots;
  • sleeping bag;
  • insect repellent;
  • personal snorkeling equipment.
Please note that:
  • the itinerary is designed for favorable weather conditions and might require adjustment due to changes of the latter.
  • the cost of the program does not cover additional expenses as well as the tickets, but we can help you find the best offer available if needed.
  • in the case of you changing your mind or not being able to join us the prepayment will not be refunded as our calculations are based on the amount of people signed up and the money is spent mostly on the transportation and accommodation services.
Tour Leaders
It's easy to book with us!
The process of booking becomes easy with Whale Watching Russia.
Contact us
However you like: phone or WhatsApp +79163114469, email, using Facebook or fill the application form below
We will call you back
Or write a message. We will answer all your questions, explain all the details and discuss your personal wishes
Deposit payment
When you are ready to book expedition, we would ask you to pay the deposit, usually it's 50% of the price. You can pay the rest later, the last payment day is 60 days before expedition start.
You got your space on the trip, it's time to buy plane tickets! By the way, we can help you with tickets and visas if needed.
Book expedition!
+7 916 311 44 69

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