The Sea of Okhotsk - with National Geographic

15 days / 14 nights
    Expedition
    The Sea of Okhotsk - with National Geographic

    Cruise Asia, Russia

    from 26 June 2020 to 10 July 2020
    15 days / 14 nights

    Departure Port : Otaru, Hokkaido
    Arrival Port : Petropavlovsk-Kamtchatski

    Ship : LE SOLEAL

    • Ref : S260620

    In partnership with National Geographic Expeditions.  

    PONANT invites to you to enjoy a unique experience in the Russian Far East, discovering the highlights of the Sea of Okhotsk. Set sail for a 15-day expedition cruise aboard Le Soléal, and fall under the spell of this unique unspoiled and little-visited region, home to rich wildlife on land as well as in the sea.

    You will board your ship in Otaru, Japan, before charting a northern course. A few kilometres off the coast of Sakhalin Island, you will call at Tulenyi, a small strip of land where Steller sea lions enjoy to bask.

    You will then sail the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk. Covered with ice for a large part of the year, if luck is on your side it is possible to see ribbon seals, a rare species that is found only here.

    After discovering Iony Island, a refuge for many sea birds, do not miss the visit to Okhotsk and Magadan, two fishing towns at the heart of a region where the sea is teeming with fish.

    Le Soléal will then reach the coast of Kamtchatka, a peninsula of spectacular volcanic landscapes, where you may have the chance to observe the Kamtchatka brown bear.

    We are privileged guests in these remote lands where we are at the mercy of weather, ice, tidal and current conditions. Landings on certain sites and the observation of certain wildlife cannot be guaranteed. They vary from day to day, making each PONANT cruise a unique experience. The Captain and the Expedition Leader will make every effort to ensure that your experience is as rich as possible, while complying with the safety rules and instructions imposed by the AECO. 

    • Free parka Free parka
    • Naturalists Naturalists
    • Free boot rental Free boot rental
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    Highlights

    • A cruise in partnership with National Geographic Expeditions offering enrichment with a National Geographic Photographer and an Expert onboard.
    • Outings and shore visits in Zodiac® inflatables with a team of experienced naturalist guides.
    • A cruise to the heart of the pristine lands of the Russian Far East, discovering a breathtakingly beautiful natural region and the wildlife that lives there.
    • Magadan, a gulag during the time of Stalin, is a prime site for observing cetaceans.
    • Abundant and varied wildlife: many marine birds, Steller sea lions, fur seals, whales, ribbon seals, Arctic ground squirrel, the Kamchatka brown bear.
    • Landscapes: uninhabited islands, mountains, forests, volcanoes, ice floe.
    • Encounters with local populations.

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    Staterooms & Suites

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      LE SOLEAL

      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL
      • LE SOLEAL

      LE SOLEAL

      Designed in 2013 and loyal to the PONANT spirit, Le Soléal like her sisterships embodies the subtle alliance between luxury, intimacy and wellbeing which is Ponant’s signature. The elegance of her exterior and interior lines and her intimate size (only 132 staterooms and suites)make this a rare and innovative yacht on the cruise market. 

      Interior Design

      With her fluid lines and a modern colour scheme combining natural wood with shades of grey and white, Le Soléal presents references to a nautical theme.

      Port of call & excursions

      26 June 2020 – Korsakov

      Otaru, Hokkaido

      Embarkation 26/06/2020 from 16H00 to 17H00 . Departure 26/06/2020 at 18H00 .

      Boasting an outstanding setting of natural beauty, bordered by the Sea of Japan on one side and Mt Tengu on the other, Otaru is a lively harbour town. This old industrial capital has kept from its past glory buildings in 19th-century brick as well as its canals, formerly the main means of transportation. They give this Japanese town a striking appearance, especially when covered in snow. Magnificent vistas abound - itメs up to you to put them in order of preference. Shukutsu Observatory, overlooking out over the vast Bay of Ishikari, is just one of them.

      27 June 2020 – Korsakov

      27 June 2020 – Korsakov

      Arrival 27/06/2020. Departure 27/06/2020.

      Korsakov is a fishing port town located in the southern part of Sakhalin Island. Sakhalin is the largest island in Russia, just north of Japan, covered with dense forests, mostly coniferous. Wildlife on the island consists of Kamchatka brown bears, arctic foxes, sea otters, and sables as well as reindeer in the north and several species of whales. This city offers a mix of Russian and Japanese structures. During your visit, you can go up the hill for a great view over the harbour or take a trip to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to learn about the local history and folklore as well as discover some of the island’s diverse flora and fauna. The visit to this lively town is a sign that this region is currently booming. 

      28 June 2020 – Tulenyi

      28 June 2020 – Tulenyi

      Arrival 28/06/2020. Departure 28/06/2020.

      Tulenyi (sea lion in Russian) is a small uninhabited island that is barely two kilometres long, 19 metres large, and full of wildlife, particularly auklets, northern fur seals and Steller sea lions. This island serves as a rookery to one of Russia’s largest sea lion colonies. Approaching the island by Zodiac® can be a spectacular sight, as the highly sociable animals rush to the water to welcome visitors.

      29 June 2020 – Nabilskiy Bay

      29 June 2020 – Nabilskiy Bay

      Arrival 29/06/2020. Departure 29/06/2020.

      Nabilskiy Bay is located on the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island. In this area, fishing is one of the most typical activities, although the exuberant nature offers you some very nice hikes and you can also visit some archaeological sites.

      30 June 2020 – Piltun Bay

      30 June 2020 – Piltun Bay

      Arrival 30/06/2020. Departure 30/06/2020.

      Piltun Bay, in the north-east of Sakhalin, is an important site for the highly endangered Western Grey Whale. It also attracts a wide variety of seabirds. While ashore, try to spot some Aleutian terns and Steller’s sea eagles, which spend the summer on Sakhalin Island after having wintered in Japan in the Shiretoko Peninsula.

      1 July 2020 – Iony Island

      1 July 2020 – Iony Island

      Arrival 01/07/2020. Departure 01/07/2020.

      Another spot of this biologically rich area is Iony Island, which lies in the middle of the Sea of Okhotsk. Although very small in size, it’s a paradise for wildlife. Bird species such as guillemot, kittiwakes, or aukllets, and a huge amount of Steller’s Sea Lions occupy the few rocky beaches.

      2 July 2020 – Okhotsk

      2 July 2020 – Okhotsk

      Arrival 02/07/2020. Departure 02/07/2020.

      Okhotsk is a little bustling town located where the Okhota River meets the Sea of Okhotsk. This town is the centre of commercial fishing in the region. During your cruise, while at sea or your ports of call, don’t miss the chance to discover the richness of its fauna: ribbon seals, numerous bird species, grey whales, Steller’s sea eagles, brown bears, sea lions, seals have wonderful surprises in store for you in this remote and unspoiled part of the Russian Far East.

      3 July 2020 – Magadan

      3 July 2020 – Magadan

      Arrival 03/07/2020. Departure 03/07/2020.

      The coastal town of Magadan is surrounded by wild landscapes with endless pine trees and vast rushing rivers. During Stalin’s reign, a lot of people were sent to the area of Kolyma to work in labor camps under extreme conditions. The monument of the “Mask of Sorrow” symbolizes eternal grief for the losses during the Soviet era. Magadan has now become one of the major ports of Eastern Siberia and is sometimes called “the Saint Petersburg of the Far East” due to its architectural unity and its sumptuous orthodox cathedral with golden domes.

      3 July 2020 – Zavyalov Island

      3 July 2020 – Zavyalov Island

      Arrival 03/07/2020. Departure 03/07/2020.

      Zavyalov Island is a relatively large mountainous island located in northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, close to Magadan. Visiting this uninhabited island might give you the chance to get up close with some of the area's wildlife, including seabirds and sea lions. 

      4 July 2020 – Sailing along Krutogorova River

      4 July 2020 – Sailing along Krutogorova River

      Arrival 04/07/2020. Departure 04/07/2020.

      During your expedition, sail along the peaceful Krutogorova River. The Krutogorova River displays an extremely complex interconnection with a floodplain throughout boasting a freshwater way or a whole host of marine wildlife.

      5 July 2020 – Atlasovo

      5 July 2020 – Atlasovo

      Arrival 05/07/2020. Departure 05/07/2020.

      Head south to the Kuril islands, a vast chain of volcanic islands separating the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. These islands offer a fascinating primitive ad authentic beauty. Atlasovo Island is named after the Russian explorer Vladimir Atlasov, and it was the first of the Kuril Islands to be discovered. It offers many black sand beaches, rocky and lush coastlines, and a volcano that has inspired many legends.

      6 July 2020 – Antsiferov Island

      6 July 2020 – Antsiferov Island

      Arrival 06/07/2020. Departure 06/07/2020.

      Antsiferov Island is a remote, uninhabited island in the northern Kuril Islands chain. 
      The volcanic island is home to a wealth of rich wildlife including Steller sea lions, northern fulmars and tufted puffins.

      6 July 2020 – Ostrova Ptich'i, Sakhalin Oblast

      6 July 2020 – Ostrova Ptich'i, Sakhalin Oblast

      Arrival 06/07/2020. Departure 06/07/2020.

      7 July 2020 – Kambalnaya Bay

      7 July 2020 – Kambalnaya Bay

      Arrival 07/07/2020. Departure 07/07/2020.

      Kambalnaya Bay possesses luscious green landscapes alongside fresh water making it an ideal spot for Kamchatka brown bears. You may be lucky enough to catch adult bears and their cubs during your expedition cruise to the Sea of Okhotsk.

      8 July 2020 – Vestnik Bay

      8 July 2020 – Vestnik Bay

      Arrival 08/07/2020. Departure 08/07/2020.

      Vestnik Bay is the perfect stopover to witness local wildlife. From tufted puffins to guillemots, arctic foxes and Kamchatka brown bears, there is a wealth of wildlife in the forested areas that surround the bay and the rivers are brimming with salmon.  Part of the protected South Kamchatka Nature Park, one of the six protected areas that make up the Volcanoes of Kamchatka nature park listed as UNESCO World Heritage. This nature park also serves to protect the traditional way of life of the Evenks, the local indigenous population. Head to shore aboard a Zodiac inflatable and, from land, enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Kamchatka landscapes and the Bering Sea.

      9 July 2020 – Petropavlovsk-Kamtchatski

      9 July 2020 – Petropavlovsk-Kamtchatski

      Arrival 09/07/2020 early morning. Departure 09/07/2020.

      Petropavlovsk, the oldest town in the Russian Far East, was established in October 1740, when the ships Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul, captained by Vitus Jonassen Bering, the Danish explorer working for the Russian Navy, first entered the bay. The Military Glory Museum, found in the town centre, is the most important in all of northern Russia. Keep your camera at the ready, though, as nearby is the picturesque Petrovskaya Hill, which also has some surprises in store for you - don’t forget to admire the sumptuous views across the Bay of Avacha from its summit. The bay’s circular shape creates a natural protection against the impetuous wind, all the while providing ships with easy access into port. 

      10 July 2020▸9 July 2020 – Petropavlovsk-Kamtchatski

      Petropavlovsk-Kamtchatski

      Disembarkation 10/07/2020 at 07H00 .

      Petropavlovsk, the oldest town in the Russian Far East, was established in October 1740, when the ships Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul, captained by Vitus Jonassen Bering, the Danish explorer working for the Russian Navy, first entered the bay. The Military Glory Museum, found in the town centre, is the most important in all of northern Russia. Keep your camera at the ready, though, as nearby is the picturesque Petrovskaya Hill, which also has some surprises in store for you - don’t forget to admire the sumptuous views across the Bay of Avacha from its summit. The bay’s circular shape creates a natural protection against the impetuous wind, all the while providing ships with easy access into port. 

      Formalities

      • The information below is current but subject to change at any time without advance notice from government authorities. Please consult your respective government agencies for visa and health information.

      • Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of your trip. Passport must contain at least two completely clear, blank, unused visa pages for each visa required, not including any amendment pages. Visa pages with stains or ink from other pages in the passport are not usable. Guests who deviate from the scheduled embarkation or disembarkation port should research the foreign entry requirements for the port country. Due to government regulations, regrettably, Ponant will have to deny boarding to any guest who fails to obtain the appropriate travel documentation for this trip.

      • Warning about the use of drones: the use of drones aboard PONANT ships, whether they are sailing at sea, at a port of call or anchored, is strictly forbidden. The use of drones on land in the Arctic and Antarctic regions is also strictly forbidden by international polar regulations. In other regions, it may be possible to use drones on land if permission has been obtained from the relevant authorities of each country and each region travelled through, as well as a pilot’s licence that should be obtained from your home country. Passengers are responsible for obtaining these permits; they should be able to present them at all times. Passengers who do not obtain these authorisations expose themselves to the risk of legal proceedings.

      • Russia: an individual Russian visa (single-entry tourist visa type) must be obtained prior to your cruise.
        A copy of your passport (photo page) must be sent to PONANT at time of booking of your cruise, this in order to prepare the « letter of invitation » necessary to obtain your visa.
        A copy of your visa must be sent to PONANT at the very latest 70 days prior to your cruise date.
        Please note : in case PONANT does not receive a copy of your Russian visa by the deadline, the immigration procedures specific to the areas visited won’t be obtained for your embarkation.

      Theme

      Polar Expedition

      Polar Expedition

      Discover the unique concept of PONANT polar expedition cruises: explore the world’s extreme regions while enjoying luxurious comfort and service.

      A luxury expedition voyage

      Choosing a PONANT expedition cruise means choosing a state of mind: the alliance of elegance and authenticity, of exploration and comfort, of adventure and refinement… The comfort of your ship and your stateroom, personalised and attentive service, refined gastronomy: a very special atmosphere that we take great care to maintain. In the heart of the ice floes of the Arctic and the Antarctic, our luxurious services will ensure that your expedition cruise is an unforgettable experience.

      PONANT, polar specialists

      With almost 20 years of experience in the extreme regions, PONANT, the world’s number 1 polar cruise company, is a real polar specialist. PONANT will take you to the most remote regions in total safety: our Captains and crew are professionals, specially trained to sail in icy waters. Our latest-generation fleet has the most modern technology to guarantee both your safety and respect for the regions visited. The size of our ships means we can get as close as possible to areas that are difficult to reach, offering a privileged access to preserved sites. Our flexibility enables us to adapt to the surprises inherent to these expedition itineraries.

      Professional expedition teams, varied activities

      After scouting missions in the field, our Expedition Leaders and their teams of naturalist guides design exceptional itineraries in the polar regions. During the cruise, they organise daily outings and shore visits in Zodiac® dinghies and hikes on land so as to get as close as possible to nature and wild fauna. In the Arctic and in Alaska, the close relationships that our teams have been able to build with the local communities will enable you to understand the life of these peoples of the Far North, and to share it for a few hours. On board, the naturalist guides will share their knowledge during various conferences on fauna, the history of the great explorations, geology and climatology…

      Guest(s) Lecturer(s)

      Erik Orsenna

      Erik Orsenna

      Erik Orsenna is an economist by training. He was cultural advisor to former President François Mitterrand and sat on the Conseil d'État (State Council).

      Winner of the Goncourt Prize for L’exposition coloniale in 1988 (Seuil), he has published a dozen novels, including Mali, ô Mali (Stock, 2014) and L’origine de nos amours (Stock, 2016). He is also author of several biographies including La vie, la mort, la vie - Louis Pasteur, 1822-1895 (Fayard, 2015) and La Fontaine : Une école buissonnière (Stock, 2017). 

      For more than a decade, Erik Orsenna has been exploring the many facets of globalisation through his works on cotton, water and paper. In 2017, he published his 4th “little handbook on globalisation”, Géopolitique du moustique (Fayard).

      Actively engaged in promoting a circular economy and sustainable development and author of L’Avenir de l’eau (Stock, 2008), he chairs an international think-tank on the future of our great rivers, IAGF (Initiatives pour l’Avenir des Grands Fleuves) launched on the initiative of the Compagnie Nationale du Rhône.

      Passionate about entrepreneurship, Erik Orsenna supports two forward-thinking companies: Carbios (organic recycling of plastics) and Greenflex (energy efficiency).

      Language spoken: French

       

      Photo credit: Bernard Matussière

      Andrew Evans

      Andrew Evans

      National Geographic Expert

      Author, travel writer, and TV host Andrew Evans has completed some 50 assignments for National Geographic, reporting live from all seven continents and more than 100 countries. For years a contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler magazine and its “Digital Nomad,” Andrew holds degrees in geography and Russian foreign policy and is fluent in Russian and French. He is the author of five books, including two bestselling guidebooks, and his award-winning memoir The Black Penguin, which the New York Times picked as one of “Summer’s Best Reads.” Andrew has received four Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers. He will share his knowledge of the geography, history, and culture of Cape Verde, the Bijagos, and the Kurils on upcoming National Geographic expeditions with Ponant.

      Spoken Languages: English, French (fluent), Russian (fluent), Spanish (conversational), Arabic (basic), Icelandic (basic), Swahili (basic)

       

      Photo credit: All rights reserved

      Jasper Doest

      Jasper Doest

      National Geographic Photographer: Jasper Doest

      Dutch photographer Jasper Doest specializes in conservation issues and wildlife photography, emphasizing the beauty and fragility of our planet. After an ecology major specializing in Arctic ecosystems, Jasper decided to become a photographer in order to bridge the gap between the human and the natural world. As a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, his photographs have received multiple awards and appeared in numerous publications, including National Geographic, GEO, and Smithsonian. Jasper's photographs of Japanese macaques, popularly known as "snow monkeys," received recognition in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and appeared in the October 2016 issue of National Geographic magazine. Doest recently received a World Press Photo award for the continuation of his work in Japan.

      Spoken Languages: Dutch (Native), English (Fluent), French (Basic), German (Basic), Japanese (Basic)

       

      Photo credit: All rights reserved

      Possibility of withdrawal in case of force majeure.

      Important information

      Expedition programmes include activities such as Zodiac® outings and landings (sometimes with "wet landing"), moderate walks to more active hikes, all accompanied by your expedition team of naturalist guides.

      Ports of call, visited sites, outings and landings will depend on weather conditions, position of ice, winds and the state of the sea. These can force a change of plans at any time. The Captain and the Expedition Leader may at any time cancel or stop any activity, or even modify the itinerary. The final itinerary will be confirmed by the Captain, who will take into account the touristic quality of the sites and above all, the safety of the passengers. His decision will be based on advice from experts and authorities.

      Travelling to polar/isolated regions is an exhilarating experience in remote areas: please remember that you are far from modern hospitals with full medical facilities, thus evacuation is extremely expensive. Without adequate medical coverage, all expenses will have to be immediately paid with your personal funds. We urge you to subscribe to full coverage insurance, choose your insurance company very carefully, be extremely vigilant and ensure your insurance is fully comprehensive, especially if you are insured by your credit card. PONANT offers an insurance contract with extensive guarantees, please contact us for more information.

      Clothing tips:

      • A PONANT polar water-resistant parka is offered on board for all departures with the logo “Free Parka” (no children sizes, in case of consecutive cruises, only one complimentary parka).
      • Half calf rubber boots with non-slip soles, which will allow you to go ashore in 20 cm of cold water, keeping your feet dry for walks and visits on steep paths. Boot rental will be offered onboard (for adults only) on Expedition cruises where the logo “Free Boot Rental” appears. Book your boots up to 7 days prior to departure, on our dedicated website https://boutique.ponant.com/, boots section. You will find them on board after embarkation. For more information, please contact us.
      • Comfortable trousers: classic Winter trousers, warm cotton tracksuit, wool leggings
      • Waterproof and windproof over-trousers – MANDATORY
      • Winter trousers with waterproof over trousers are the ideal combination: water-resistance and comfort of trousers are essential
      • Pullover, sweat-shirt or fleece jacket
      • Woollen or thermolactyl Thermal underwear
      • A warm hat, woollen ear muffs or fleece ear muffs, fleece or woollen neck warmer (avoid scarves that do not stay in place)- MANDATORY
      • Wool or silk glove liners, water-resistant and supple gloves
      • Thick warm socks (ideally woollen)

      Accessories:

      • Small waterproof backpack (to protect your camera from water).
      • Binoculars (strongly recommended for wildlife viewing).
      • Highly protective sunglasses.
      • Walking poles (highly recommended).

      Do not hesitate to visit the online PONANT store which offers a selection of equipment and accessories adapted to our destinations, at the following address: https://boutique.ponant.com

      Benefits of the PONANT store:

      • Advice on equipment from our experts to help you prepare for your polar expedition
      • A wide range of technical equipment for polar expeditions, approved by our experts
      • Two delivery options: delivery to your home or directly to your cabin on board the ship
      • Duty Free shopping for cabin delivered items
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