Somewhere far away at the edge of the world, a handful of islands is scattered in the cold and harsh OkhotskSea. Astonishing, mysterious pieces of land. Rocky and inaccessible, and, at the same time, mop-headed and reminiscent of animals sleeping in the ocean. The islands are located about 300 km (186 mi) away from the mouth of the Amur river. They separate the Tugursky bay and the Udskaya bay from the sea of Okhotsk, and form another sea inside – the Shantar sea, small, but treacherous. There are more than 15 islands there, all of different size, some islands being just stand-alone rocks. Big Shantar (1790 sq km / 691 sq mi) is the largest one; Feklistov (393 sq km / 152 sq mi), Small Shantar (112 sq km / 43 sq mi), and Belichiy (70 sq km / 27 sq mi) are smaller. And the others (Prokofiev, Kusov, Ptichiy,Yuzhniy, Sredniy, Utichiy, Sukhotin, etc.) are one smaller than the other.
There was a time when the Shantar islands were inhabited, now there is no one except for the weather station employees. There is, however, plenty fish in the rivers and lakes, bears wander on the riverbanks, bird colonies clamor; whales, orcas, and legions of seals swim in the sea.
The coastal line of the islands is a real open-air geology museum. One can often see rocks colored in pink, red, green, and yellow along the coast – this is where jasper, marble, and other rocks surface.
The Shantar archipelago has recently become a national park. As a result, strict rules for visiting the islands have been introduced. For example, catching rare rainbow trout is now prohibited as is any hunting. However, this gives one hope that the archipelago’s flora and fauna will be preserved in their natural state.
Fishing is very diverse here. There is lenok, arctic and white-spotted char, and rudd in the rivers running on the islands. Pink salmon comes here in large numbers for spawning. In the coastal waters one may catch gobies of formidable appearance, perch, cod, European plaice, halibut, and crabs.
Day 1. 17:10: Departure from Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow to Khabarovsk.
Day 2. 7:50: Arrival at Khabarovsk, breakfast, purchasing additional necessary items. Overnight transfer to the Briakan settlement (700 km / 435 mi) in a comfortable bus.
Day 3. Helicopter transfer to the Ongachan bay (260 km / 162 mi). Setting up a campside. Whales, orcas, and beluga whales come here for food and rest.
Day 4. Trip to the harbors of the Tugursky peninsula. Fishing in the river mouths. Return to the base camp in the Ongachan bay.
Day 5. Guided tour of the islands Ptichiy, Utichiy, Big Shantar. Fishing in the mouth of the Big Anaur river. Visit to Small Shantar. Return to the Ongachan bay.
Day 6. Travel to Big Shantar across the Opasny (“Dangerous”) channel, visit to Belichiy island. Lunch at the Karpina lake. Camp at Big Shantar, at the Pankov bay.
Day 7. A guided tour around Prokofiev island, visit to the chapel, fishing in the river arm. Overnight stay at the Pankov bay.
Day 8. Sea fishing near the coast of Big Shantar. Overnight stay at the Pankov bay.
Day 9. Severny cape – Samotsvetnaya bay – Feklistov island – the Ongachan bay. Overnight stay.
Day 10. Travel to Ulbansky bay.
Day 11. Fishing in the rivers Syran and Ulban.
Day 12. Helicopter transfer to Briakan (180 km / 112 mi), bus transfer to Khabarovsk.
Day 13. Extra day in case of non-flying weather.
Day 14. 10:05: Departure to Moscow. 10:05: Arrival at Sheremetyevo.
Team Gorky provides:
Bus transfer Khabarovsk – Briakan – Khabarovsk, helicopter transfer, 7.5m speed boats (“RIB”, up to 50 km/h), motor fuel, camping equipment, meals, GPS navigator, walkie-talkies, insurance, first aid kit, guidance from local guides and the guides of Team Gorky.
Not included: Airfare to Khabarovsk and back, accommodation and meals in Khabarovsk, alcohol during the entire trip, incidentals.