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Heritage Expeditions has launched a new cruise to the Sea of Okhotsk, a remote and virtually unexplored region in the Russian Far East.

The addition to the cruise line’s 2012 program was, until recently, the domain of the Soviet Pacific Fleet and completely off-limits to Westerners and Russians alike.

The region is considered one of the richest environments in the world for marine mammals and is known to regularly harbour endangered species such as Western Grey Whales, Bowhead Whales and Killer Whales. Higher altitudes are populated by a myriad of birds, including the rare Steller’s Sea Eagle and, on land, wild Brown Bears patrol salmon-rich rivers, surrounded by forests, tundra, volcanoes and stunning wildflowers.

The voyage will follow in the wake of Vitus Bering, a 17th-century explorer who chartered the coasts of the early Russian Empire.

What do you know about the Russian Far East?