Dates & Prices

Islands of Fire and Whales

- 14-days sailing expedition to the northern Kuriles Islands -

Atlasov Island with its volcano
Atlasov Island with its volcano
Our expedition vessel (18m long / 4.5 m wide schooner) which comfortably carries 8 passengers plus crew
Our expedition vessel (18m long / 4.5 m wide schooner) which comfortably carries 8 passengers plus crew
Planned itinerary of the Kurile Islands cruise
Planned itinerary of the Kurile Islands cruise
Ebeko volcano eruption (photo: L Kotenko)
Ebeko volcano eruption (photo: L Kotenko)
Kurile Islands panorama
Kurile Islands panorama
Pilot tour 14-28 July 2019 + second tour 15-29 Aug 2019 sign up now!
While the pilot tour is now booked out (one spot available on wait list), we can offer a second date 15-29 Aug, which could be combined with the Kamchatka volcano tour.
The Kurile Islands stretching from Japan to Kamchatka are formed by very active volcanoes, which however are rarely visited by people.
We plan to charter a small expedition vessel that accommodates up to 8 people and spend 12 days sailing between the northern group of volcanoes, and try to approach and observe some of the most active volcanoes in the chain.
  • Visit some of the world's most active and rarely visited volcanoes
  • Very small group size
  • Amazing wildernesses and breathtaking land- and seascapes
  • Untouched volcanic features from close
  • Large calderas and impressive stratovolcanoes
  • Abundant sea and bird life
  • Expedition style
  • Accompanying Russian and German volcanologist team

Kurile Islands expedition

The exact itinerary during the expedition might need to be adjusted depending on weather, sea, volcanic and other unexpected conditions as well as the time-table of the public ferry from Petropavlovsk to Severo-Kurilsk.
Day 1: (14 July 2019) Arrival in Petropavlovsk
Arrival and meeting in Petropavlovsk. Final preparations, shopping, visit the city center, group dinner
Acc.: hotel in Petropavlovsk (D)
Day 2: (15 July) Overnight ferry to Severo-Kurilsk
Free half-day for sightseeing etc in Petropavlovsk town.
In the evening, we board the passenger ferry which takes us to Severo-Kurilsk the next morning.
Acc.: on ferry (B, D)
Day 3-11: (16-24 July) 10 days sailing expedition
We have the our expedition vessel for up to 12 days / 11 nights on board to sail around the islands and visit several volcanoes and places of interest. The itinerary will be mainly a function of weather and sea conditions, but should also be able to be adapted in case of ongoing eruptions on one of the islands.
The planned itinerary should be as follows:

D1: Board our expedition vessel and start sailing to Onekotan Island (overnight).
D2: Arrival and land on Onekotan Isl. Excursion to the caldera lake Chernoye. Fishing opportunities. Overnight sail to Shiashkotan.
D3: Arrival on Shiashkotan in Zakatnaya Bay, excursion to nearby thermal springs. Return to the ship. Anchorage.
D4: Daytime sailing to Simushir Island. Along the way, there is a great chance of meeting sperm whales, killer whales, seals, sea lions. Overnight anchorage in the Bay of Urataman caldera volcano.
D5: Landing, excursion to the former submarine base, collection of sea urchins, fishing for cod. Overnight in the bay of Urataman volcano.
D6: Sail to the island of Ushishir. If the weather permits, landing in the Kraternaya Bay (thermal springs, bird bazaars, arctic foxes). Sail to Shiashkotan island.
D7: Sail to Paramushir island. Overnight in the Shelekhov Bay.
D8: Sail to Atlasov Island (Alaid volcano). Land on the shore. Climb the Takeeti cone (147 m). Return to the ship. Overnight in Cormorant Bay.
D9: Spare day
Acc.: shared cabins on board (B, L, D)
Day 12: (25 July) Return to Severo-Kurilsk
During the last day of sailing, we return to Severo-Kurilsk, where we spend the night in the hotel as at the beginning.
If we don't need this day as spare day, we sail to Shumshu Island and land near Chakonchi, where we can visit an open air museum in the area of the last battle of WWII before returning to port.
Acc.: hotel (B, L, D)
Day 13: (26 July) Full day on Paramushir Island - Ebeko volcano
A full day is planned for Paramushir Island and frequently active Ebeko volcano. Although it can also serve as extra spare day on board the vessel in the archipelago, we plan to spend the last 2 nights in a basic hotel in Severo-Kurilsk and use the time to approach Ebeko volcano and other nearby places of interest.
Acc.: simple hotel (B, L, D)
Day 14: (27 July) Return to Petropavlovsk
Ferry back from Severo-Kurilsk to Petropavlovsk (over night)
Acc.: night on ferry (B, L, D)
Day 15: (28 July) Arrival in Petropavlovsk, end of expedition
Arrival in Petropavlovsk, transfer to airport or extension program, end of expedition
Acc.: none (B)

Arrival info:

The tour starts and ends in Petropavlovsk (Kamchatka).

Tour code: RUS_KUR
Tour type: Expedition: geology & volcanism - photography - adventure
Difficulty: Custom (variable)
Group size: 5-6
Duration: 15 days / 14 nights


14-28 Jul 2019
15-29 Aug 2019

Price (p.p.): 5900 EUR (if 6 part.) / 6300 EUR (if 5 part.)


  • All transfers to / from Petropavlovsk
  • Boat charter for 9 days / 8 nights
  • Boat crew incl. cook
  • Full board incl. drinking water, tea, coffee
  • Camping & safety gear (incl. satellite phone)
  • Accompanying volcanologist from the Institute of Volcanology in Petropavlovsk specialist for the Kurile Islands
  • Accompanying volcanologist from our team (Dr. Tom Pfeiffer)

Tour guide:

Normally, volcanologist Dr. Tom Pfeiffer accompanies this tour. Tom has been traveling to volcanoes and documenting volcanic activity for over 20 years. His science background includes a PhD thesis about Santorini and Vesuvius volcano and he has worked at the Hawai'i and Vesuvius volcano observatories before founding VolcanoDiscovery in 2004 and the new brand Volcano-Adventures in 2015.
Tom speaks German, English, Italian, French, Greek and Danish fluently as well as some Spanish where needed.
Volcanologist Dr. Tom Pfeiffer on Santorini

Important note:

- A decision whether the tour can run or not must be made in November 2018. If you're interested in joining, you will need to sign up by end of Oct 2018.
- Returning customers of VolcanoDiscovery will have priority on this expedition.
- Deposit modalities: We will first ask you a small deposit of 500 EUR at time of sign-up; by end of Oct, we will need to ask for an additional 3000 EUR deposit, as we will then need to pay a deposit for the boat charter. At this stage, your deposit becomes non-refundable unless there is someone else willing to take your spot. Rest payment is then due by 6 weeks prior to the trip.
- The indicated per person price (at 6 participants) is the sum of 1000 EUR + 360,000 RUB and based on an exchange rate of 70-75 RUB/EUR. If this exchange rate falls above / below this window, the per person EUR price will be be adjusted accordingly, 6 months and 2 months before the start.
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