The Kuril Islands

Trip code: SOV003
Expedition Rating: Adventure Travel
Leaving: 03 Jun 2019 Starts: Korsakov, Russia
Returning: 17 Jun 2019 Ends: Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia

Hiking, Birding, Photography, Botany, Cultural, History, Cetacean watching

Stretching like a string of pearls from the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia  in the north to  Hokkaido, Japan in the south, the Kuril Islands are in our opinion more precious than pearls. Erupted up out of the ocean depths as the Pacific tectonic plate collided with the Eurasian plate, these islands are born of fire. They are a living example of the Ring of Fire”, many of the volcanoes are still active.  Geographers argue over just how many islands there are, it depends on your definition of an Island, but it is somewhere about 56.  Geographically, climatically, botanically and historically they can be divided into three groups, the southern, central and northern groups. 

Their political history is about as turbulent as their geological history.  They played a little known but important part in the battles for the Pacific during the Second World War. War relics abound.  Today the ownership of some of the Islands are disputed. At the Yalta conference in 1945 Russia was awarded the Kuril Islands.  Japan disagrees with the interpretation of the conference where it concerns a number of the southern Kuril Islands. 

Fortunately flora and fauna pays no respect to man-made political boundaries and these Islands, of which only five are inhabited are a treasure trove for the natural history enthusiast. Not only do they lie just west of the deep pacific trench with its rich upwellings, they form a boundary between the cold waters of the Sea of Okhotsk and the warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean they are also a natural corridor used by many migratory bird species which breed in the Arctic. 

We have lead many expeditions to these islands, we have landed on almost all the Islands at some stage, many of our colleagues and friends have or are undertaking research work in these Islands but we simply cant get enough.  We are returning on this special expedition to both revisit many of the places we have been as well as visit new places. We will be searching for evidence of the earliest inhabitants the Anui, and of the Japanese occupation which began as early as the 17th Century and then finally the Russian occupation. We will be visiting some of the extensive bird colonies especially ones like Yankicha Island, as well as looking for and photographing the many species of marine mammals (including but not limited by humpback whales, sperm whales, killer whales, fin whales, blue whales and many others) that make this region home. On some islands we will be able to see the geothermal activity - hot springs, fumaroles and geysers and finally we hope to get permission to climb some of the volcanoes. 



$6000.00 USDpp

Trip Info

Proposed expedition leader: Rodney Russ
Visas required: Russian

Requirements may vary depending on what passport you are travelling with. It is your responsibility to check to ensure you are compliant.

Trip Map

Map for trip: The Kuril Islands

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