Shantar islands
July 17 - 31 / August 24 - September 07, 2019

Snorkeling with bowhead whales
and orcas in Shantar islands

Not many people have heard about Shantar islands. There are even less people who have had a privilege to visit this place. Shantar archipelago, located in the Sea of Okhotsk, is one of the most inaccessible places in Russia where nature is preserved in its primordial condition. Travelers will remember the fantastic landscapes of the Shantar Islands for a lifetime.

The main attraction of Shantar is the local bowhead whale population. These sea giants are the most northern whales in the world (together with narwhals). On account of living beyond the Arctic Circle they are also called Polar or Arctic whales. Only here, in the Sea of Okhotsk, one can find the unique, southernmost population of these animals. We will be able to observe them in a temperate climate, almost on the same latitude as Copenhagen. The local whales are calm and not afraid of vessels, and they often let people get quite close to them.

If visibility allows, we will try to enter the water with bowhead whales and take unique underwater pictures. Bowhead whales hold the record for lifespan among mammals, they live for up to 200 years and, possibly, even more. Sometimes the whales get so close to the shore, they can be observed several meters from land.

In addition to bowhead whales, in the Sea of Okhotsk we may encounter killer whales, who can scare away even the bowheads. Sometimes we also see beluga whales and gray whales. There are several species of seals: bearded seal, largha seal and ringed seal. Brown bears roam on some of the islands. As always in our expeditions, our main aim will be swimming with marine mammals, first of all with bowhead whales. We will learn a lot about marine mammals from the lectures of our guide.

Killer whale capturing takes place in Shantar sea. One of our goals is bringing people's attention to this unethical activity. By making ecoutours to this region we hope to struggle whale capturing.

We will swim with whales and seals, fish for trout and salmon, explore new lands. We will become pioneers and plunge into a completely different world.
Day 1
Arrival to Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Night at a hotel.

Day 2
Heading to Nikolay bay using 6x6 offroad camper truck (~12 hours drive). Night on the seashore inside the camper.
Days 3-7
Approaching whales on paddle boards and freediving with the whales for those willing to get as close as they can. Tours around the sights of the Okhotsk sea near Nicolay bay and Wrangel bay. Observing bowhead whales, orcas, seals, spawning salmon and most likely even bears.
Days 8-12
Cruising around Shantar islands and local bays. Observing bowhead whales and other marine mammals, snorkeling with them. Trekking on the islands. Watching bears and seals. Visiting the abandoned whaling station and meteorologists base. Fishing, lectures about marine mammal biology.
Day 13
Back on land. Heading to Komsomolsk-on-Amur by the same vehicle. Night inside the camper truck.

Day 14
Arrival to Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Night at a hotel.

Day 15
The itinerary is designed for favorable weather conditions and might require adjustment due to changes of the latter. Also it might get adjusted in accordance with the physical fitness of the group members.
Our boat

We use only the most reliable and comfortable vessels to provide the best experience for our guests.

"Odyssey" catamaran. Comfortable 13-meter sailing catamaran with 4 double cabins.

Spacious and comfortable common area equipped with entertainment systems, large deck for observing nature, toilet and shower with hot water, two 42-hp engines and sails, satellite phone - everything necessary for a long expedition. Catamaran carries 2 inflatable boats for approaching the animals and landings. Cruising speed 8 knots.

Dates and prices

July 17 - 31, 2019 - 170 000 roubles
August 24 - September 07, 2019 - 225 000 roubles

  • Stay at a hotel in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Transfers within the city.
  • Transfer from\to Nikolay bay by camper truck, meals on the way.
  • Accommodation onboard the vessel (double rooms) and in land-based camp, all meals, snorkeling with whales and trekking on the islands.
  • All the documents and permissions from the local authorities.
Not included:
  • Airfares and\or bus from Khabarovsk
  • Kayak\Paddle board rental
  • Insurance covering evacuation by helicopter evacuation
  • Evacuation costs in cases not covered by insurance
  • Extra expenditures due to weather conditions, flight delays, illness, broken personal equipment and other additional costs.
Additional information.
  • We will do our best to provide you the best possible experience; however, the route may be adjusted due to weather conditions.
  • Water temperature from +4С to +8С, surface temperature from +10С to +25С
  • There is little or no mobile coverage in the area. We recommend you to bring your own satellite phone. If you don't have one, the crew can provide you with satellite connection (expenditures not included).

To-pack list
  • comfortable waterproof footwear, 2 sets (trekking boots, rubberboots);
  • thermal underwear;
  • flashlight;
  • insect repellent;
  • waterproof pants, jacket;
  • hat, woolen socks, gloves, jacket;
  • wetsuit, mask, snorkel, fins, gloves, socks
  • personal medication
  • towel
How to get here
There are regular flights to Komsomolsk-on-Amur (KXK), from Vladivostok (VVO, Aurora company, or from Khabarovsk (KHV, Khabavia company,, website only in Russian). However, local flights are often delayed due to weather conditions and planes don't go every day, so we recommend you fly to Khabarovsk (KHV). There are buses going directly from Khabarovsk airport to Komsomolsk-on-Amur (6 hours drive). We can arrange a private transfer for you upon request (costs not included).
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!
+7 999 721 01 84

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