The First Kamchatka Expedition of 1725-1730 required years of preparation and provided new geographical information for the Russians. Bering had entered the strait that now bears his name but had not reached the North American coast. However, the expedition had established basic facilities at the fishing port of Okhotsk, disproved the existence of Gama Land, and made an accurate guess that Asia and North America were distinct continents.
The Second Kamchatka Expedition of 1733-1743 had scientific as well as imperial intentions. After the Sv. Petr and Sv. Pavlov were separated in mid-July, Chirikov sailed east and Bering’s crew spotted mountains, naming the highest peak St. Elias. Between the 18th and the 20th of July, both Chirikov and Bering had, separately, reached North America. Bering, fearing diminishing supplies and poor sailing conditions for the rest of the voyage, granted German botanist Georg Stellar and other scientists who had come on the lengthy journey just one single day to work ashore. They stopped at other islands, interacting and making some small trade with the local peoples with the aid of an indigenous translator from eastern Siberia. On August 30, the Sv. Petr sat at anchor off the Shumagin Islands off the Alaskan coast, and in early September they sailed the south side of the Aleutians, trying to get back to Kamchatka before the winter set in.
Chirikov sailed the Sv. Petrov back to Kamchatka in October, but Bering and the Sv. Petr were immobile, as almost the entire crew had scurvy. Bering’s men landed on an island and, after Bering’s death, managed to build a small vessel from the wood of the Petr, which was too large to re-float and sail with the diminished crew. The ship’s carpenter had also perished with scurvy, but the sailors managed to craft a small vessel and made their way back to the Siberian coast when the winter passed.