Friday, July 26, 2013

Bering Island, Part I....................

June 4, 2013 - 8:00 AM 
Bering Island, the Commander Islands (or Komandorski Islands)
Temp. 8C/46F
Light SE Breeze

Caledonian Sky approaches its anchorage off 
Svero Zapadnyi Cape.

Click photos to enlarge

By 9:00 AM we were settled in the Zodiacs for a cruise 
of the wildlife-rich part of the coast of 
Bering Island and its offshore isles.
The early morning fog, chilling the air, soon 
dissipated and we were astounded by the sight 
and sound of thousands of pairs of nesting seabirds 
on the cliff ledges...

....and several groups of amorous sea lions.

We returned to the ship for lunch and repositioned to the 
point where we could navigate the zodiacs to land for 
an afternoon visit to Nikolskoe Village, a remote community of 
approximately 500 people on Bering Island. 

Above, the older section of the village.................

...the newer buildings and the church.........there 
is a small military base also which we were 
not permitted to photograph - it was just a long 
building painted green!

Pic via Paula ~ photographer of stars her friends.

Can you believe, yet another pic of me sitting on the 
ground and fiddling with my footwear!  
This was a dry landing at long last, and as the 
weather became quite warm and sunny, 
I changed out of my clunky grey Ugg wellies and into 
lightweight Puma walkers, it felt so good.....
especially as we were off to a special concert 
being held in our honor!

The people of the village had prepared a colorful 
outdoor welcome concert and informal tour of 
the community, including the excellent museum. 
We were told that only two tourist ships come each 
year and we were the first of the season.
The elderly lady above and below, obviously a 
village matriarch, started the entertainment 
with a mournful song, long and mesmerizing, 
and of course we had no idea what it was about, 
but we applauded her effort.

Here the same woman introduced a very young child 
who also sang for us - how lovely that the 
young ones are learning the old 
songs and dances........... the pre-teens....

.....older girls....

 .....and of course the gentlemen who were awesome 
and appeared to enjoy themselves......

 ......and the ladies having fun dancing in the sun.

Blue roof of the museum in background.

It was a long but wonderful concert, quite memorable for 
many reasons - one being the fact that Bering Island 
apparently only experiences about 5 days of sunshine annually -
usually being socked in by fog and mist - and fortunately 
we hit the first of those five this year for our visit!

Next time - a walk through the old village, and those 
cute 'Bering Boys' who sailed with us on their ocean.


  1. Mary,
    5 days of sunshine annually? I will now stop complaining about the weather here in DC!! I really admire the villagers of Nikolskoe. Life must not be easy on this beautiful but stark island. Once again, stunning photos, Mary.

  2. What an amazing experience...and to have sun to boot!

  3. Just thinking of living in such isolation gives me the shivers. I don't think I could do it!
    The photo of the zodiacs against the sky and the ship gives a sense of just how remarkable your trip must have been!

  4. The peoples of Bering Island must be so resilient and made of very strong characters - you can see it in the face of the village matriarch. I wonder if the youngsters will stay now the world has moved on so much? How lucky were you? - 5 days sunshine a year.

  5. What a treat to be honored guests at this concert. I love seeing their costumes and the different generations. Then to have sunshine too, my goodness that is wonderful!

  6. How lucky that you got sunshine! Aren't those outfits neat looking? And you got some great photos of wildlife too!


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