Whale Watching in Russia: Where Can You Spot Whales in Russia?
It is not rare for whales to pass through the waters which surround Russia, and in some regions of Russia a profitable tourism industry surrounding whale spotting has been created. Due to the size of Russia’s territory, the species of whales that can be seen vary to a great extent, but include humpback whales, blue whales and beluga whales. But where exactly can whales be spotted in Russia?
Kamchatka is a peninsula in Russia’s Far East. If you are lucky, it is possible to see whales from the Eastern coast of Kamchatka, which meets the Pacific Ocean. The species of whale that you are most likely to see there are Pacific grey whales and humpback whales, but blue whales and sperm whales can also be found there. The season to spot them is from May to August, as in Winter grey whales and humpback whales migrate to warmer climates, often in the waters surrounding Mexico and Hawaii.
Shantar Islands (Шантарские острова)
The Shantar Islands National Park is a group of 15 islands located in the Sea of Okhotsk in the Russian Far East. Bowhead, grey and beluga whales can be seen from the islands, and they can best be spotted from July to August. Ongachan bay is considered one of the best places in the world from which to spot whales, as it is possible to see them from the shore, without needing to step foot on a boat. Many whales head to this bay in search of food, and sometimes they are just a few metres from the shore.
Solovetsky Islands (Соловецкие острова)
With an area of the Solovetsky Islands being called Beluga Cape, it is not surprising that some successful whale watching can be done in this area. The Solovetsky Islands are an archipelago located in the White Sea. From June to August, beluga whales can be spotted from Beluga Cape, which is on the western tip of Bolshoi Solovetsky Island, at low tide. Here a very unique experience can be had, as Beluga whales come here to give birth, and they can be seen from the shore without having to board a boat: this is the only place on earth where this can be done. The beluga season on these islands is from mid-June to mid-August.
Kola Peninsula (Кольский полуостров)
The Kola Peninsula is located in the extreme northwest of Russia, bordering Finland. The city of Murmansk is located on the peninsula’s territory. In May the surrounding seas, the Barents Sea and the White Sea, become home to many types of whale, with the most common being sperm whales and minke whales. They arrive here in May as this is the spawning season for cod in the Barents Sea. The chances of seeing them at this time of year are therefore very high, especially in certain areas of the peninsula, including the Kildin Islands.
Covering such a huge area, Russia is home to many natural marvels, with the presence of whales being just one of them. To learn more about the nature that Russia has to offer, you can read our blog post ‘The Seven Wonders: close-up of Russian nature’.
Leila, currently studying at Liden & Denz St. Petersburg