Pet a whale

Khabarovsk (Krai)

Russia Beyond
Russia Beyond
Every year, only a few hundred lucky people come to Shantar Islands National Park to watch whales. This is not only due to the high price, but also to the inaccessibility of the archipelago.

It is only possible to get here from June to September, when the navigation in the Sea of Okhotsk opens and the area becomes free of ice. But, even in this period, it is not easy to get there: fog, strong winds and frequent storms are insurmountable obstacles for some groups.

However, those who have had a chance to land on these little-known shores, categorically declare: if there is the slightest chance to arrange a whale photo hunt, they should definitely take advantage of it!

The water area around the Shantar Islands is called a nursery for whales for a reason. There is almost no ship navigation and plenty of plankton, while the shallow waters near the coast are ideal for giving birth and raising offspring.

Not so long ago, however, these bays posed a great danger to marine mammals. Up to two centuries ago, there was active whaling here: enterprising sailors from all over the world could kill up to fifty animals in a day in pursuit of profit. Ironically, the whales were saved from complete extinction by… oil and petroleum products. Cheaper kerosene replaced whale oil, which was used to make candles and celluloid replaced natural whale beard, which was used to make furniture, brushes, carriage bodies, wigs and other utilitarian items.

Unfortunately, the population of marine mammals in this part of the Sea of Okhotsk has not recovered so far. However, National Park status and regulated tourism flow should make these waters a comfortable place for whale families at a time when they are most vulnerable! 🐋 🐋 🐋

How to pet a whale?

🐋 We don’t recommend to get to Shantar Islands from Khabarovsk by yourself. Experienced guides will not only help you with transfer and accommodation, but will do everything for you to see whales. Particular attention will be paid to safety: they will tell you how to behave in the water or underwater.

Cost of the tour can be high (from 180 thousand rubles per person), but remember, it includes everything: you will be brought to the archipelago, accommodated in a house, fed with local delicacies and even take part in fishing! Of course, they take you to whales: locals know very well, in which bays these sea giants like to "stroll" 😎

🛥 You can use a catamaran, motorboat and even sap boards to watch whales. And if you are an experienced diver and are not afraid of cold water, then scuba gear and flippers are at your service.

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