Seward (Anchorage, Alaska) to Nome (Alaska)
17 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Sweward (Anchorage, Alaska)
It is hard to believe that a place as beautiful as Seward exists. Surrounded on all sides by Kenai Fjords National Park, Chugach National Forest, and Resurrection Bay, Seward offers all the quaint realities of a small railroad town with the bonus of jaw-dropping scenery. This little town of about 2,750 citizens was founded in 1903, when survey crews arrived at the ice-free port and began planning a railroad to the Interior. Since its inception, Seward has relied heavily on tourism and commercial fishing.
Day 2 Holgate Glacier (Alaska), Chiswell Islands (Alaska)
Kenai Fjords National Park’s famous Holgate Glacier is a spectacularly active river of ice. The surrounding glaciated landscape paints a dramatic portrait of the rugged mountains in contrast to the cold blue ice of the glacier. On approach, the waters leading up to Holgate Glacier may be peppered with bits of ice and the crackling noise of ancient air bubbles being released from small bergs. Periodically loud cannon-like blasts emanate from the glacier, and some are accompanied by calving events off the ice front.
The Chiswell Islands are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, and deservedly so. Small bays, inlets and sea cliffs are populated by innumerable seabirds including Black-legged Kittiwakes, Pelagic Cormorants, Horned and Tufted Puffins, as wells as guillemots, auklets and murrelets. The Chiswell Islands are blessed with towering cliffs and sea caves offering up spectacular scenery and a Steller sea lion rookery that bustles as the marine mammals commute to feeding grounds, socialize, and care for their pups.
Day 3 Kodiak Island (Alaska)
Today, commercial fishing is king in Kodiak. Despite its small population—about 6,475 people scattered among the several islands in the Kodiak group—the city is among the busiest fishing ports in the United States. The harbor is also an important supply point for small communities on the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Peninsula.Visitors to the island tend to follow one of two agendas: either immediately fly out to a remote lodge for fishing, kayaking, or bear viewing; or stay in town and access whatever pursuits they can reach from the limited road system.
Day 4 Aghiyuk Island (Semedi Islands), Chignik (Alaska)
The dramatic rock formations of Aghiyuk Island jut out of the water as one of the dramatic Semedi Islands. The Semedi Islands are part of Kodiak Island Borough and are located southwest of Kodiak Island, about half way between the Alaska Peninsula mainland and Chirikof Island. Along with Choiet Island, Aghiyuk is one of the largest islands of the group, all of which are uninhabited. Part of the Alaska Peninsula unit of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Aghiyuk is a great destination for spotting the beautiful black and white Horned Puffins.
Chignik is a fishing village on the Alaskan Peninsula and home for just under 100 year-round inhabitants. Most of the houses in the community are connected by a boardwalk that fringes a local stream and neighborhood kids can be seen riding their bicycles back and forth on its length. In the summer months the population doubles, as the fishing gets better and the town supports a couple of fish-processing plants. Chignik is a remote outpost at the doorstep of the Aleutian Island chain and offers up a true taste of Alaskan outback life.
Day 5 Unga Island
The Aleutian island of Unga holds an ancient petrified wood forest and a more recent ghost town that was the site of a small gold rush in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The village was eventually abandoned in the 1960’s and now has a somewhat somber appearance. Many of the houses have collapsed and are overgrown with brilliant fuchsia fireweed wildflowers. From a distance the church looks intact, but up closer it is apparent that the roof is standing on the ground, and the walls have completely collapsed.
Day 6 Dutch Harbor
The crumpled peaks, and tranquil scenery, of Dutch Harbor belies its history as one of the few places on American soil to have been directly attacked by the Japanese - who bombed the significant US military base here during the Second World War. Located on a string of islands, which loops down into the Pacific from Alaska, a visit to this Aleutian Island destination offers comprehensive military history, and extraordinary ocean scenery. Hike the volcanic, gloriously green landscapes, and look out for wonderful wildlife, like bald eagles, as they survey the surroundings.
Day 7 St. Paul Island (Alaska)
The city of Saint Paul is located on a narrow peninsula on the southern tip of St. Paul Island, the largest of five islands in the Pribilofs. These islands are located in the middle of the Bering Sea between the United States and Russia. St Paul’s lies 240 miles north of the Aleutian Islands, 300 miles west of the Alaska mainland, and 750 air miles west of Anchorage. The city of St. Paul is the only residential area on the island. The first non-natives to ‘discover’ St. Paul were Russian fur-traders in the late 1780’s, led by the navigator, Gavriil Pribylov.
Day 8 Hall Island (Alaska)
Hall Island is one of the most remote islands in Alaska. Every summer this small rock island, in the middle of the Bering Sea, comes alive as about a million seabirds gather to breed and nest. They cling shoulder to shoulder on every available rock ledge. The most common seabirds include blacklegged kittiwakes, common and thick-billed murres, auklets, cormorants and northern fulmars.
Day 9 Date Line, Lose a Day
Day 10 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 11 Anadyr
Anadyr is the administrative center of Chukotka Autonomous Region and home to approximately 13,000 people. Like many northern towns that have short summers and very long winters, Anadyr is painted in all colors of the rainbow to lift the spirits of its inhabitants in winter. Under Governor Roman Abramovich, the well-known oligarch, big money had been invested to develop and revive local infrastructure and industries that had collapsed with the break-up of the Soviet era.
Day 12 Gabriela Bay, Cape Navarin
Gabriela Bay is located south and west of the Bering Strait along the coast of the federal subject Russian state of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug (population ~52,000). The bay abuts wetlands that dot the coastline, which in warmer seasons are lush with wildflowers like dwarf azaleas and forget-me-nots that can completely cover the tundra in their peak. While animal sightings are not guaranteed, visitors may keep an eye peeled for occurrences of walruses, brown bears or beluga whales.
Day 13 Anastasiya Bay
A U-shaped bay on the Bering Sea, Anastasia Bay appears to be carved out of the mountainous cliffs that make up the land that surrounds the tundra-like Koryak Mountains in Kamchatka Krai, Russia. The rare visitor comes to the bay hoping to walruses and seals, and birders search for Slaty-backed Gulls, Pelagic Cormorants, Horned Puffins, Tufted Puffins, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and White Wagtails, White-fronted Geese, Bean Geese and Whooper Swans.
Day 14 Peter Bay, Bogoslav Island, Pavel Bay (Natalii Bay)
Peter Bay is a small inlet at the foot of the Koryak Mountain range well north of the Kamchatka Peninsula. At the entrance of the bay is a Largha seal haul-out site and a small hidden lagoon flanked by the ocean and the bay. The southern end of the bay has several small lakes that are dammed behind a moraine ridge; the remnant of an ancient glacier. The lakes feed a spectacular waterfall. The western and eastern sides of the bay have steep cliffs that seabirds favor for nesting sites. Their busy comings and goings from nest to ocean feeding grounds punctuate this Far Eastern Russian location.
Six nautical miles south of the entrance to Natalii Bay are the spectacular sea cliffs of Bogoslav Island. The small island rises to 424 meters (1,391 feet) above sea level and is a perfect place to spot Pigeon, Brünnich’s, and Common Guillemots, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Harlequin Ducks, Horned Puffins, White Wagtails, Pelagic Cormorants and Slaty-backed Gulls. Walrus can also be seen at a nearby haul-out.
Due west of Bogoslof Island, a mountain of 787 metres (2,582 feet) marks the entrance to Pavel Bay. Brown bears often walk along the slopes of the bay as it winds towards low-lying tundra dissected by tumbling mountain streams. This bay and others close by are used by nomadic reindeer herders who follow the cycles of life in Kamchatka. The people herd hundreds of reindeer over great distances from their inland grazing areas down to the coast. Here the reindeer graze on the salty coastal grasses that supplement their diet.
Day 15 Day At Sea
Day 16 Cape Kuyveveem
Like bookends, towering cliffs composed of light-colored granite and streaked by darker rock stand on each side of a large sheltered bay in the spectacular scenery of Cape Kuyvyveen. The sandy beach lies at the head of the bay with rolling tundra behind. The sheer granite rocks, distinct basalt caves and arches of the cape are home to thousands of Tufted Puffins that nest in rocky crevasses. Despite the cliffs on either side of the bay being quite close together, the adjacent terrains are slightly different and each attracts different species of birds.
Day 17 Date Line, Nome (Alaska)
Nome is located on the edge of the Bering Sea, on the southwest side of the Seward Peninsula. Unlike other towns which are named for explorers, heroes or politicians, Nome was named as a result of a 50 year-old spelling error. In the 1850's an officer on a British ship off the coast of Alaska noted on a manuscript map that a nearby prominent point was not identified. He wrote "? Name" next to the point.
All This Included
When Vitus Bering left to see whether a land bridge existed to the New World, he could not know that his expedition would open up an area rich in wildlife and spectacular scenery. For the adventurous traveller, this is one of the world’s great journeys that beckons nature lovers and the intrepid explorer within – a rare change to spot Northern fur seals, Brown bears, walrus plus huge colonies of seabirds.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Explorer
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