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Monday, October 6, 2008

Aurora Expeditions unlocks the secrets of the Russian far east

Few places remain such a closely guarded secret as the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. Hidden from the world for most of last century due to its strategic military location, even Russians needed special permission to visit the region prior to 1990.

Behind this secret curtain, nature has flourished, resulting in a vast and pristine wilderness described by Lonely Planet as ‘one of the world’s most beautiful regions’.

Fire-spitting volcanoes cloaked in ice dominate the landscape; remote indigenous tribes live as they have done for centuries, while rivers filled with salmon attract the highest concentration of brown bears on the planet. Teeming with an astounding diversity of wildlife including whales, sea lions, otters and birds, against a backdrop of wildflower-filled meadows, verdant valleys and towering mountain ranges - the Russian Far East is an adventure lover’s dream.

Australian-owned expedition cruising company, Aurora Expeditions, invites you to uncover the majesty and mystery of this remarkable region on one of its three voyages departing in 2009.

Travelling aboard the ice-strengthened 100-passenger Marina Svetaeva, the three expeditions will explore secluded islands and sites that would be impossible by any means other than by ship.

The 14-day ‘Ring of Fire’ expedition to the Kuril Islands and Kamchatka departs on 11 July 2009 from Sakhalin Island in Russia and travels through the islands that lie like stepping-stones between Japan and Russia ending in the town of Petropavlosk.

The second 14-day ‘Bering Sea Explorer’ expedition to Kamchatka and Chukotka departs from Petropavlosk in Russia on 24 July and visits the Commander Islands, Karaginsky Island, the Chukotka Coast and Arakamchechen Archipelago, and some of the least visited wilderness areas on Earth.

The final 13-day ‘Arctic Ocean Discoverer’ voyage explores the Bering Straight and remote Wrangel Island, travelling high above the Arctic Circle where few have ventured. The voyage departs on 6 August 2009 and begins and ends in Nome, Alaska.

Prices for all three voyages start at US$5,490 per person and include accommodation and use of all public areas on board the ship, all meals, guided shore excursions, lectures with expert naturalists and historians, and all port taxes. Sea kayaking is an additional option.
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