Cruise Kuril Islands & Kamchatka

Written by Anna Schneider on 21st Dec 2017
Kuril Islands cruise, Russia tour

Embark on the voyage of a lifetime on an unparalleled exploration of the region known as the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’. The cruise from Hokkaido Province, Japan to the distant Kuril Islands and the remote reaches of Kamchatka is one of the world’s great ocean journeys, beckoning nature lovers, history buffs and those with a thirst for adventuring where few have gone before. Marvel at the dramatic scapes of this ancient land of fire and ice – its towering volcanic mounts, alpine forests, fast flowing rivers and pristine tundra. Our fleet of Zodiacs will allow us to climb ashore to observe flourishing seabird colonies and dozing seals in their thousands, and we’ll be constantly on the look-out for whales and sea lions. Life aboard is good, with no shortage of fresh local caviar and vodka. Whatever your speed, this soul-stirring smorgasbord of volcanoes, wildlife and unique indigenous culture will enthral and inspire you.

Tour Highlights

  • Tyuleniy Island in the Sea of Okhotsk is tiny in size, and so densely populated with mammals and birds the island itself is barely visible. The shoreline is carpeted with murres and other seabirds, straining to be heard above the racket of tens of thousands of roaring, barking and bellowing seals and sea lions
  • Our zodiacs follow the high tide to the very centre of mist-shrouded Yachika Island, where an inundation of seawater has transformed a massive caldera into a lagoon. Hiking the grassy ridges, we’ll keep our eyes out for the elusive Arctic fox
  • Hundreds of northern fur seals and Stellar sea lions haul out on Kuril’s Lovyshky Islands. Cruising close to shore on the zodiacs, we’ll be able to closely approach these noisy, entertaining animals in their element
  • Atlasova Island rises out of the water as a near-perfect cone. The highest volcano in the Kuril chain is a striking sight, inspiring various legends among the traditional Ainu inhabitants
  • The highly maneuverable Zodiacs will forge upstream along Kamchatka’s Zhupanova River. Here we can spot rare birds including Stellar’s sea eagles. Brown bears are sometimes seen fishing for salmon at the river’s edge
  • Take a history lesson in oceanic exploration on a visit to the Komandorsky (Commander Islands). Visit the burial site where Captain Vitus Bering’s ill fated second Kamchatka Expedition came to an end. We’ll also drop in on Nikolskoye, the only settlement on the Commanders, where we’ll experience a cultural performance by the local Aleut community

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Top of the World North Pole Cruise

Written by Anna Schneider on 20th Dec 2017
north pole cruise, Russia tour

Get on board for the ultimate North Pole adventure. Nothing compares to experiencing the untamed grandeur of the Arctic quite like seeing its majestic landscapes unfold from the deck of a state-of-the art nuclear icebreaker. Imagine  endless expanses of ice under the polar midnight sun. Pristine waters teeming with marine life. Prowling polar bears in the tundra. This is Mother Nature at her breathtaking best.

 

From Murmansk, Russia, you’ll embark the icebreaker 50 Years of Victory for a roundtrip voyage to the earth’s geographic North Pole. Our mighty vessel will plow its way through the frozen Arctic Ocean on a cruise that literally circumnavigates the globe in a matter of days. In addition to the exhilaration of cruising to the very apex of the earth, passengers will have the extraordinary privilege to land, via helicopter, on the scarcely visited Russian Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land, a remote wilderness home to an incredible abundance of wildlife.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • After 7 days of cruising from Murmansk, we’ll arrive at the geographic North Pole, the place where all meridians meet and the only direction is south. To celebrate our successful mission to the top of the world, we’ll ceremoniously drop anchor and disembark on a sturdy stretch of ice for the ‘International Round Dance’ – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to literally walk around the world!
  • Franz Josef Land: Weather permitting, we’ll spend two days exploring this uninhabited archipelago, one most pristine Arctic habitats on earth. Made up  of192 islands, glaciers cover 85% of the land, carving out a spectacular terrain of steep valleys, caves and pinnacles
  • Helicopter flights: As part of this very special expedition, all guests will have the opportunity to take scenic helicopter rides for an incredible bird’s eye view of the icescape and amazing photo opportunities capturing the ship smashing its way through the ice pack
  • Arctic wildlife: Animal life thrives in the pristine environs of the North Pole. Expect sightings of polar bears and walruses, thronging colonies of seabirds and harp and bearded seals resting atop icebergs. Throughout our cruise we’ll be looking out for humpback, minke and beluga whales, and with luck, orcas, narwhales and bowhead whales.

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Franz Josef Land and Svalbard Cruise

Written by Anna Schneider on 20th Dec 2017
Franz Josef Land cruise Arctic Cruise Russia

This extraordinary Franz Josef Land cruise is as unique and authentic as the place itself. Franz Josef Land, part of the Russian Arctic National Park, is a nature sanctuary. Starting in Longyearbyen in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, the Sea Spirit cruise ship crosses the icy, wildlife-rich Barents Sea to the Russian High Arctic. This remote wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife, including polar bears. In the surrounding icy waters, it is possible to spot seals, walruses, and the elusive bowhead whale. The archipelago also hosts an abundance of nesting Arctic seabirds such as the rare ivory gull.

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Reindeer Migration with the Nenets in Yamal

Written by 56th Parallel on 8th Aug 2017
Reindeer herders migration Nenets of Yamal Peninsula

As the world gets smaller, there’s a desire to travel further – and there are few places as enchantingly far away as Yamal Peninsula. This cultural tour transports you deep into Siberia’s isolated Arctic region. ‘Yamal’ means ‘edge of the world’ in the language of the indigenous Nenets. The Nenets of Yamal carve out a unique way of life, seemingly at the limits of human tolerance. Yamal Peninsula was considered so inhospitable that Stalin built his prison camps here. Yet a strikingly colourful, rich and resilient culture has been preserved and relatively unchanged here for some 2,000 years. READ MORE

Lake Baikal Photography Expedition

Written by 56th Parallel on 4th Nov 2016
Lake Baikal Photography Tour

Lake Baikal Photography Tour has the well-deserved honour of highlighting Siberia’s most famous frozen landscapes. Summer sees the bulk of tourist activity in the area, but it’s in winter that the most devoted photographers make the pilgrimage, hoping to capture once-in-a-lifetime images of the natural world at its most powerful and surreal. READ MORE

Wrangel Island Cruise - An Arctic Expedition

Written by 56th Parallel on 11th Mar 2015
Wrangel island cruise expedition with polar bear, Wrangel island tour

Travel to Wrangel Island, an area 140km off the northeast coast of Siberia that is separated from northern Alaska by the Chukchi Sea. For 10 frozen months of the year, this lonely wilderness is completely cut off from the outside world.

Reaching Wrangel and braving its polar climate is not for the faint of heart. Only the most dedicated nature lovers make the journey – but the rewards are without parallel. There is simply no better destination than to meet the wild denizens of the Arctic up-close, virtually undisturbed by human interference, and in numbers that will simply astound you.

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Kamchatka Photography Expedition

Written by 56th Parallel on 4th Feb 2015
Kamchatka Bears, Kamchatka photography tour

On this 2-week Kamchatka photography tour designed especially for landscape, nature and wildlife photography enthusiasts. Stay on the shores of the iconic Kurilskoye Lake and take part in some of the best brown bear photo opportunities as the bears gorge themselves during the annual salmon run. Hike to the summits of some of Kamchatka’s active volcanoes for thrilling shots of steaming vents, acid lakes, and smoking craters. Your aim is to return to “Earth” with images of alien landscapes and wild nature worthy of the pages of National Geographic. Our Kamchatka photography tour suits all the professional and amateur photographers, as well as active and adventurous travellers. No prior mountain climbing experience is required, but a decent level of fitness is strongly recommended.

Kamchatka Photography Tour HIghlights

  • Brace yourself for a bone-rattling journey on a Russian 6WD all-terrain vehicle on a road tracing the western coast of Kamchatka (complete with river crossing) to isolated Pauzhetka village. Pauzhhetka is a tiny settlement between the Sea of Okhost and Kuril Lake, surrounded on all sides by towering volcanoes
  • Fly to Kurilskoye Lake via helicopter for a two day shooting and photo workshopping season among the brown bears who gather at the lake in large numbers during the salmon season To get the best chance of heart-stopping close encounters and amazing photos ops, we’ll watch the bears on land and on boat, staying overnight in log cabins close to the lake shore
  • Russkaya Bay Cruise: Set sail from the capital of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and explore the wildlife-rich waters of Russkaya Bay and the Starichkov Island seabird capital. Try your hand shooting marine mammals including whales and seals and enjoy a lunch of freshly caught seafood

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Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Written by 56th Parallel on 11th Nov 2014
Lake Baikal Ice Adventure

Our Lake Baikal Ice Adventure tour takes place during late February and March. The beginning of spring in the Baikal region, at this time of year, the temperature climbs above zero, but the surface of the lake is still largely frozen, covered by solid winter ice so clear you can see rocks and other objects at the bottom of the lake as far as 40m below. During spring, Baikal receives few visitors compared to the summer high season, allowing you to feel an inspiring sense of isolation and communion with undisturbed nature during this handcrafted 6-day tour. Be amazed by the frozen beauty of the world’s oldest and deepest lake and experience real-life walking on water. We’ve included a few activities exclusive to the cooler months such as ice skating, ice rafting and ice golf to add a sprinkle of spills and thrills to this thoroughly enjoyable adventure.

Lake Baikal Ice adventure Highlights

  • Embark on an over-ice expedition by 4WD to Olkhon Island, the largest of Lake Baikal’s islands and the centre of shamanic energy for the Buryat people. Spend two nights on the island and discover pristine beaches, craggy capes and untouched Siberian forests 
  • While on Olkhon Island, participate in a round of special activities for Baikal’s ‘ice travellers’. Take your pick from ice golf, tube riding or ice skating, or just head out on to the ice for a once-in-a-lifetime photo shoot! 

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About 56th Parallel

56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

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