All righty. After a welcome time-out during our flight from Moscow to Petropavlovsk, it was over to our traditional first stop for some much-needed acclimatization – a nice little hotel in the village of Paratunka, made all the more nice by its having a piping hot spring water swimming pool! Just the ticket with nine hours of jetlag to cope with. And after a dip, time to eat like royalty (Kamchatka, being a peninsula surrounded by vast seas, sure knows how to serve up a fresh seafood spread fit for any king:). But I’ve told you about this arrival-ritual plenty of times before, so I won’t go over it all again here.
Moving on – and over to the marine theme; particularly – to the ship that was to take us around the Kurils for a month. And here she is!
Joke. Did I get you?! No, our ride sail for the month was a little more modest; familiar too: it was the Afina or Athens! Yep – the same vessel we toured the Kurils on back in 2014. Here she is, in all her glamour and splendor:
But before we embark, a brief few words about Petropavlovsk port – one of those ‘then and now’ things.
Five years ago the docks were rather run-down and unkempt. Trash strewn about, rusting metal (most of it scrap), and dilapidation: all rather depressing.
Well, I’m happy to report that things have turned around at the port. Have a look yourself: here it is five years ago ->
And here it is today ->
There are still some remnants of atrophy like the sunken boats, but they lift them up onto stilts to repair them. A regeneration project almost.
But enough shipwreck gawping, time we were off. So back to the Athens…
And we’re off!…
The recently repaired and refurbished seaport terminal of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky…
…These days cruising ships such as these stop off there:
The Three Brothers (Tri Brata) in Avacha Bay:
And out to the ocean…
And no sooner had the expedition started than the fun began. First up, a green bear (a Midori copycatbear, I think) appeared on deck:
Next – killer whales putting on a show for us!
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First orca sighting en route to the Kuril Islands, an archipelago that connects Russia and Japan. One of the most difficult places in the world to access, these waters are unprotected yet imperiled by plastic pollution. #FromKurilsWithLove With @taylorfreesolo @renan_ozturk @chrisburkard @e_kaspersky @tedhesser @rishisugla @_ryanhill_ @alejandroarango13 @povel @tomorrow_unlocked @kasperskylab
We all then had a lie-down on our bunks ahead of a long evening of new impressions – about which I’ll tell you in the next post…
All the photos from the Kurils are here.