About 200 foreign tourists visited the Commander Island Nature and Biosphere Reserve in the end of last week. On June 21st cruise ship Professor Khromov with whale watchers from the United Kingdom entered Nikolsky Roadstead near Bering Island. The next day French liner Le Soleal brought travellers from Europe and the USA.
The tourists went to the visitor center of the reserve and to other attractions of Nikolskoye Village – the only inhabited village on the Commander Islands.
This time Professor Khromov, owned by New Zealand company Heritage Expeditions, came with travellers inspired by a famous British zoologist, whale watcher and nature lover Mark Carwardine.
They started their journey on Sakhaline and continued through habitats of humpback and sperm whales. In the water area of the reserve they hoped to find Baird’s beaked whales and northern right whales. Mark Carwardine said that they had a success.
Foreign tourists in Nikolskoye Roadstead bay, Bering Island
“The Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve lived up to our expectations. It is the best place to watch Baird’s beaked whales. We will recommend everyone, interested in whales, to visit this place and will organize a new expedition here. We know that the water area around the islands is protected and believe that protection is very necessary”, he said.
A right whale in the water area of the Commander Islands Reserve. Photo by The Field Ecologist
The watchers even had the luck to spot the northern right whale. There are only 430 of them on the planet. The Field Ecologist shared a post on their Facebook page and told that the session took two hours, as the whale went from the deep water part of the Pacific Ocean to a shallower bay of Medny Island (a part of the Commander Islands Archipelago).
The other ship – Le Soleal – also started its way on Sakhalin. Irina Nekrashevich, vice-president of Pacific Network company (representative of the foreign ship owner), said that many tourists are interested not only in whales, but also in birds and other marine mammals, which can easily be seen on the Commander Islands.
Cruise ship Le Soleal in Nikolskoye Roadstead, Bering Island.
“Before Bering Island we travelled near Medny Island and landed in Peschanaya Bay. The weather was favorable and the tourists had wonderful impressions. The Nikolskoye part of the program is planned to last for 3,5 hours, during which we visit the Commander Islands Reserve office, Aleutian Local History Museum, local church and have a short excursion around the village”, she said.
Tourists in the souvenir shop of the Commander Islands Reserve visitor center.
Tourist season on the Commander Islands, which are included in the Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve, lasts from the beginning of June to the end of September. As a rule, the first tourists to come are those, who have taken expedition tours on cruise ships. The next visit of such cruise liners is to be in the end of June and beginning of July.