Notes, comment and buzz from Eugene Kaspersky – Official Blog

August 29, 2014

Island No. 16: Simushir.

Here we are with more adventures on the Kuril Islands

Our expedition went like this: new day – new island. In all there were 18 days, and 12 islands (if we include Sakhalin). Each day it was a new route, new outstanding views, new fantastic experiences.

The day would normally start with our motorboats landing on a new, unknown shore. Sometimes that was easy, other times it was Saving-Private-Ryan-opening-scenes; almost. The sea got choppy, the weather got rainy and windy, and the adrenalin got pumping – as did the cortisol. On those days just making it to shore resembled no less than a hugely heroic deed, so we ended such days with similarly hugely heroic festivities once camp had been struck.

But on the clear days – the landings plus the ensuing day spent onshore were easy and unforced. The day on Simushir was one such day.

Simushir, Kuril Islands

The going on this day was so easy it allowed us to up the tempo a bit: quick landing, quick marching, quick evacuation and quickly onwards on our journey. The climb to the highest point was about 400 meters, wading through the already familiar Kuril tundra – moss, grass, overgrowth and sweet… empetrum!

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

In some places the clumps of empetrum were so dense that green knolls became almost black with the abundance of berries. Alas, we had little time for such botanical beguilement – a storm was expected that evening so we had to hop over to the next island on our planned route before the sea got too rough.

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

The need to look sharp meant we got up to the peak of the Zavaritski Caldera in no time at all.

Upon landing there was a thick mist all around so there wasn’t much to look at. However, half-way up all of a sudden the mist lifted completely. Naturally this led to several gigabytes of photos and vids taken lickety-split.

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril IslandsUK mod parka + US baseball cap + remote far-eastern volcanism. Eclectic

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril IslandsWhat goes up, must go back down

The views from the top are breathtaking. There are volcanic calderas in calderas in calderas in calderas, steep multicolored slopes down to the lake below in the middle… oh such charming natural beauty. The diameter of the smallest ring is approximately three kilometers. Next time, when not so hurried, we’ll have to run round it, to take in the sublime scenes properly.

Simushir, Kuril IslandsSource

As mentioned, we were expecting bad weather that night – a typhoon no less. I wonder if it was the one I experienced in Hong Kong a few weeks earlier. But we boarded the boat in good time, dashed across the Bussol Strait, and hid in one of the bays of Urup island (where next day we caught loads of fish and colored our skins yellow by bathing in sulfuric springs!), and the typhoon shot past us unnoticed.

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Afterwards, the news was full of stories of hurricane wind, flooding, and other stormy unpleasantness around the Sea of Okhotsk, but we didn’t see any of it. I say ‘afterwards’ as there’s no radio, TV or cell coverage along most of the Kuril ridge, and we refused to partake in satellite dish or Internet connection undertakings. Let’s face it, an expedition around the Kurils needs to differ just a little from a Caribbean cruise! No restaurants, no bars, no piers or moorings in pretty tropical port towns, no beaches, no pina coladas! And no radio, TV or Internet too!

I have to admit that some of us were going cold turkey with such a shutdown of modern media and communications, but we made up for that: choppy seas, wild islands, harsh climate, radiant scenery, tubs of grub, and sing-alongs to the strum of a guitar… Yes, that’s back-to-basics style :).

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

Simushir, Kuril Islands

What else is there that we didn’t get round to seeing?…

1. Brouton Bay, in the northern part of the island.

They say that a military-naval base was planned to be constructed here. For that they had to deepen the bay (it was practically blocked by the caldera of an old volcano). And to widen the way through a million tonnes of TNT were used to blast through the rock! At least that was the story as told by the locals.

Btw, they never did get round to opening the base; however, the entrance to the bay – probably from back then – is now surrounded by two capes – with the aptly corresponding CCCP names – Soviet Cape and Sentry Cape!

2. On the island besides the Zavaritiski Volcano there are two other very charming places – Prevo Peak (1360m) and Milna Volcano (1539m).

Alas, we had only one day on Simushir, since the democratic majority voted for heading over to Zavaritski. Never mind – that’ll leave us something to check out next time we’re here on the island :).

Simushir, Kuril Islands

All the photos are here.

Back soon folks. Next up – Iturup!…

comments 1 Leave a note

Carolyn Coleman-Grady

Wow, this is amazing. Beautiful photos. I truly admire y’all’s adventurous hearts. Exploration of this great earth. Thanks for sharing. I can not wait to see what is next.

Reply to conversation
Trackbacks 2

Atsonupuri火山:火山中的阿斯顿•马丁 | Nota Bene | Eugene Kaspersky Official Blog China

Shikotan – Kuril De Nueva Zelanda | Nota Bene | El blog oficial de Eugene Kaspersky en español

Leave a note
May 15, 2015

A province by the sea.

“Should you happen to be born in an empire, It’s best to live in a remote province by the sea.” – Joseph Brodsky, Letters to a Roman Friend Top of the day to you all, dear readers of my blog. Been away for a bit. Over the May holidays I was lucky enough to spend […]

May 11, 2015

The aquapark in Atlantis: not to be missed.

Beach-resort holidays (‘vegging out’) are not my thing. At all. Sand, sun-loungers, parasols, ‘refreshing’ drinks and sunblock – I can survive that torture for two or three hours tops. Then I have to start strolling along the beach, sometimes a few kilometers at a time, oftentimes with camera. It beats lounging about any day. You […]

May 7, 2015

AV boost: exorcising the system-straining ghost.

Around the turn of the century we released the LEAST successful version of our antivirus products – EVER! I don’t mind admitting it: it was a mega-fail – overall. Curiously, the version also happened to be mega-powerful too when it came to protection against malware, and had settings galore and all sorts of other bells […]

May 5, 2015

Four tickets to Aogashima – part 2. Hachijo-jima.

A summary of part 1: 07:00. Flight from Tokyo (Haneda) to Hachijo-jima, then a tight connection – helicopter flight to Aogashima, a day there trekking and climbing about, and looking at and taking pictures of every nook and cranny. Beautiful! The next morning I had a vague sense of déjà-vu: waking up at the impossible […]

April 30, 2015

Four tickets to Aogashima.

The other day as I was browsing the Internet I came across a story about a most unusual place in Japan. It’s hard to get to but really worth the effort as it’s both beautiful and interesting. It’s the island of Aogashima, several hundred kilometers south of Tokyo, on the border between the Philippine Sea and […]

April 29, 2015

“Everybody be cool, this is a robbery.”

Startups – affairs that are risky and slow to build up momentum. They call for big cash, a knack for seeing into the future, and a nose for where the big returns on investment are. They take years to really get going; only one in twenty (or even more) doesn’t die a premature death. Traditionally, venture […]