Why the Kuril Islands Are the Perfect New Destination for Adventurous Seafarers

The archipelago is one of the last places boasting land less trodden.

A lust for adventure. A need to explore. These are the drivers behind an increase in experiential travel. For yachties, this has been manifested in overnight camping in Antarctica, whale spotting in the Norwegian fjords and fly-fishing in the wilds of Patagonia. But for those who truly seek to push the boat out, the Kuril Islands more than deliver. Stretching approximately 800 miles northeast from Hokkaido, Japan, to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, this volcanic archipelago—flanked by the Sea of Okhotsk to the west and the North Pacific Ocean to the east—is one of the last outposts of a land less trodden.

The landscape is awash with virgin forests, rocky shores, wide rivers and snow-capped peaks, ideal for heli-fishing in salmon streams and heli-skiing from summit to sea. Both lavish expedition vessels La Datcha and Sherakhan are planning to pass through as part of their upcoming world tours. Says Nick Davies of Cookson Adventures: “It’s an alternative to North Alaska or Svalbard for explorer destinations, and it’s an easy flight from Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong or Beijing.”

Further south, the warm waters off Phuket are attracting large yachts—such as Talisman Maiton and Titania—and passengers keen to experience island-hopping alternatives to the Caribbean. Similarly, following the old Spice Trade Route from Burma to Borneo promises a journey of discovery, from centuries-old port towns to World Heritage Sites to venturing up jungle rivers to spot orangutans in the rain forest.

Lanzarote, Canary islands

Sunset over Lanzarote. Kotangens/Fotolia

Offering somewhat more infrastructure is Lanzarote. Located 85 miles from North Africa, this member of the Canary Islands is busy carving out a niche as a superyacht destination. But year-round sunshine, exotic landscapes and water sports are not the only reasons to visit. Perfectly placed en route between Europe and the Caribbean, the island offers improved marina and shipyard facilities that can now accommodate yachts up to roughly 360 feet. In 2015, Lanzarote was also one of the first to receive Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification as a sustainable destination. Anchors aweigh.

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