Sunny Severo-Kurilsk.

And here we are again on the northern Kuril island of Paramushir. Most of our group of intrepid tourists spent this sunny summer morning climbing the slopes of the Ebeko volcano in search of adventure and an adrenaline rush, while the others stayed in the town of Severo-Kurilsk at the base of the volcano. Actually, most of those who stayed behind had already jogged struggled to the top last time in the pouring rain. You can also follow that link to read my impressions of the northern Kuril weather and climate. Anyway, for the smaller part of our group that wet and windy climb five years ago was still fresh in the memory, and we decided to stay and enjoy the creature comforts of town life. Here I’ll be sharing their photos, especially as this remarkable town is likely to be too difficult and too expensive to visit for many.

And here you have sunny Severo-Kurilsk:

// Nearly all the photos here and below were taken by Petrovich. After Ebeko, I was too exhausted to take any pictures.

The overall impression of the town is pretty positive, especially on a sunny summer day. There’s some construction work going on in the town, some of the new buildings look pretty decent – surprisingly good even. Many of the older buildings have been renovated, some haven’t. It’s all a bit higgledy-piggledy, with nice new builds and recently renovated homes standing next to wooden huts and derelict buildings.

For a comparison, you can look at my last story from here five year ago, written after a day spent on the volcano in the wind and rain.

Life here is largely defined by the harsh local climate. It’s not easy, to say the least, surviving in rainy/snowy/foggy/windy conditions for 367 days a year. At times, the town is inundated by mudflows. It’s not unheard of for a few meters of snow to fall overnight, so in the morning the locals have to leave their homes from doors on the second floor! Here are some two-story sheds, with doors on the upper floor for use in winter.

Then, of course, there are earthquakes, tsunamis and ash from the Ebeko volcano. In other words, this is anything but an easy place to live. The people have to be hardy and ready to help others at any time – it’s the only way you can survive here.

Translation of signs: Tsunami secure zone. Hazard: beware of falling snow/ice.

Translation of sign: This area is not safe during a tsunami. In the event of an earthquake, run to higher ground.

On this visit we were incredibly lucky with the weather. Perhaps we got the bonus day numbered 368 :) This is what the town looks like on a sunny day in the northern Kurils.

Well… actually there were Ainu people living here before the Cossacks came.

Plaque translation: In honor of Ivan Kozyrevsky and Danila Antsiferov, the pioneer Cossacks who first discovered the islands of Shumshu and Paramushir

WW2 is a whole story of its own.

All telecommunications are exclusively via satellite – no underwater cables. But you do get internet here.

The local motor transport :)

Only joking. There are quite a few normal cars here too. The roads are pretty decent in the town.

And they’ve even got one of these! Not bad…

Moving on. Some more pics from the town.

Translation of sign: To the fishermen of the North Kurils.

The VIKING fitness center

One day, there will be a promenade along the waterfront here with the locals strolling along, enjoying the sunshine and a (non-alcoholic) drink. But for now, there’s just some junk.

And to wrap up, here are two short videos from the glorious town of Severo-Kurilsk. Some drone footage:

And underwater go-pro-on-a-stick action right from the port:

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