Bering Sea expedition, 2015
I am trying to help organize a wildlife-viewing expedition to St. Paul and St. Matthew Islands in the Bering Sea next June. St. Paul has the world’s largest fur seal rookeries, very tame blue-phase Arctic foxes, and a beautiful endemic shrew, plus huge and uncommonly diverse seabird colonies and the last authentic Aleut villages. Uninhabited St. Matthew also has blue foxes, plus a walrus rookery, an endemic vole, and McKay’s bunting, one of the world’s most beautiful and difficult-to-see birds.
St. Paul is regularly visited by birders, but St. Matthew is virtually inaccessible. The tour can be run as either an 8-10-day boat trip from Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians, or a 3-day trip from St. Paul. I think the first option is better since airfares to St. Paul are brutal, while Dutch Harbor is cheaper to get to (by air or by Alaskan Ferry System with a possible stopover on Kodiak). Also, there is a possibility of seeing all kinds of interesting seabirds and mammals during the crossing, even a small chance of spotting a Steineger’s beaked whale, a North Pacific right whale, or a ribbon seal.
The cost of the boat trip is yet to be determined, but looks like it would be somewhere in 5-7k$ range.
I don’t expect anyone to sign up right away, but please let me know if you’d be interested in participating if the trip does happen.
There is a 13 day cruise going from Seward to Nome 8/1-8/13/2015 that might be an option. They stop at St Mathews and St Paul Islands (and lots of other places).
I did about the same cruise in 2007 and there were a couple tour groups aboard, a trip leader and 4-6 participants.
If a birder is considering it, I got 15 Alcids, a clean sweep I believe. Anyone with a pulse would be impressed with St. Paul.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Please keep me informed about this, it sounds like just my thing! I would be very keen to participate, at this stage not sure however whether I have the time free. Many thanks, Morten