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2016/2017 Expeditions

  Africa
  Antarctica
  Asia
  Australia & New Zealand
  Central & South America
  Europe, Russia & the Arctic
  North America
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Including the Trans-Siberian Express!
KAMCHATKA & Lake Baikal
July 24-August 8, 2016 - SOLD OUT

July 23–August 7, 2017

We invite you to join us as we explore the two finest natural areas in Russia, the Kamchatka Peninsula and Lake Baikal, and take the Trans Siberian Express from the Russian Far East across the vast taiga of Russia to Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

Kamchatka is two-thirds the size of California, and includes several active volcanic corridors. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Twenty-nine of its 300 volcanoes are active, including the tallest on the Eurasian continent at 4,835 meters. There are hundreds of glaciers and scores of healing mineral springs. On Kamchatka, we will:

  • Explore Petrpavlovsk, the capital, situated on lovely Avachinskaya Bay.
  • Discover the ethnic settlement of Sosnovka.
  • Fly by helicopter to see fabulous geologic wonders—geysers, steam vents, mud pots, and snow covered volcanoes, including the world famous Valley of the Geysers.
  • Discover a profusion of flowering plants, many with medicinal value.
  • Explore the moonscape at the base of Mutnovsky Volcano , and walk by cascading streams near Vilyuchinsky Volcano.
  • Discover the salmon capital of the world.

We then fly to Khabarovsk, on the Amur River, where we will board the Trans Siberian Express for an adventurous two and one-half day journey across the great Siberian taiga to Itkutsk and Lake Baikal. We’ll have Russian lessons on board the train and lectures, and enjoy the huge rushing rivers and vast taiga forests outside.

As we approach Irkutsk, the “Paris of Siberia,” we will round the southern tip of Lake Baikal which extends for hundreds of miles to the north.

The Russian “Galapagos Islands,” Baikal is the richest single location in Russia for endemism, a fabulous reservoir of unique flora and fauna. It is the oldest and deepest lake in the world, and stores nearly 20% of the freshwater on earth.

Our visit to Irkutsk will include striking gold-domed churches and traditional wooden homes with blue and green shutters. We will also meet scientists at the Irkutsk Botanic Garden, and enjoy a special visit there.

We then continue north to the Maloye More of Lake Baikal, the “small sea,” and ferry to Olkhon island, the largest island in the lake, which has a fine small museum, and is renowned for Shaman Rock. From Olkhon we will journey south by ferry to the village of Listvyanka near the outflow of the Angara River from the lake. Special visits to the Solar Observatory overlooking the Lake and Baikal Museum will be a treat.

Leading the expedition will be Dr. Victor Kuzevanov, the director of the Irkutsk Botanic Garden, and head of the public forum in Irkutsk. Victor is a treasured friend and expedition leader who will delight you. We hope you will join us!

Best regards,

Margaret M. Betchart
President
Betchart Expeditions Inc.
For AAAS, Sigma Xi, and ACS

$5,995 plus air

2017 Brochure (Requires an Adobe pdf reader to view)

Kamchatka
Photo courtesy of Jean-Bernard LePecq

Irkutsk Botanic Garden
Irkutsk Botanic Garden

 

 

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