Seward (Anchorage, Alaska) to Nome (Alaska)
19 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Sweward (Anchorage, Alaska)
Departure 8:00 PMIt 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 Semidi (Alaska)
This stunning and nearly uninhabited archipelago is home to some of the largest populations of native and undisturbed wildlife in the United States. There are 2.5 million birds here, almost half the breeding seabirds of the Alaska Peninsula. Large numbers of seabirds including Ancient Murrelets, Parakeet Auklets, Horned Puffins, Northern Fulmars and jaegers, and over a million murres are on hand here. The surrounding sea is home to sea otters, sea lions, seals, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins and whales.
Day 5 Chignik (Alaska)
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 running along 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. A few small waterfalls cascade down the surrounding mountains, and eagles can be seen as Hump Salmon (also called Pink Salmon when out in the ocean) swim up the river to spawn.
Day 6 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. Great Horned Owls nest near the church and in the bay kittiwakes, Double Crested and Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murres and Tufted Puffins can be seen.
Day 7 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 8 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 9 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 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 Date Line, Lose a Day
Day 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 Day At Sea
Day 17 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 18 Proliv Senyavina (Hot Springs), Yttygran Island
To the Proliv Senyavina Hot Springs. We will go ashore by Zodiac, will enter a small lagoon and hike across tundra and some rolling hills to reach a stream with some hot springs. You can choose to either enter a small pool prepared by the local fishermen, or to go into the stream.
Yttygran offers a unique natural history experience on this voyage. An array of bowhead whale bones and rock arrangements is stunning – it is a place of great archaeological importance combined with natural beauty. An early morning landing will add to the magic and mystery of the place due to the soft hues and the muffled light conditions. For the more energetic passengers a hike up the steep nearby hill provides an excellent leg stretch.
Day 19 Date Line Gain a Day
Day 19 Nome (Alaska)
Arrive 8:30 am
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. When the map was recopied, another draftsman thought that the “?” was a C and that the “a” in "Name" was an o, and thus a map-maker in the British Admiralty christened "Cape Nome." The area has an amazing history dating back 10,000 years of Inupiaq Eskimo use for subsistence living. Modern history started in 1898 when "Three Lucky Swedes”, Jafet Lindberg, Erik Lindblom and John Brynteson, discovered gold in Anvil Creek…the rush was on! In 1899 the population of Nome swelled from a handful to 28,000. Today the population is just over 3,500. Much of Nome's gold rush architecture remains.
All This Included
Travel in the wake of Vitus Bering and drink in the startlingly beautiful landscapes of Alaska and the Russian Far East: massive glaciers, evergreen forests, serrated peaks and placid fjords. Absorb the culture of a region where the similarities of both nations become clear. Yet it is the stunning wildlife here that is the most compelling: from brown bears to bald eagles these are the true stars of the show.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Explorer
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