Kamchatka: hits and hints.

[24.07.11-07.08.11]

Kamchatka sounds as far as it is. My plane flew 8 hours eastwards to the wild Russian peninsula.  This land of volcanoes hit and surprised me. Those are Kamchatka’s hits, that amazed and shocked me at the same time.

1) Volcanoes

The first volcano ”in action” I ever saw was Karymskij. I was flying on a cargo helicopter MI-8 on the way to Valley of  Geysers and suddenly noticed a pipe of smoke coming from the crater. Our instructor advised me to open the window for making a picture. This is something you can’t do in touristic helicopters. He also told, that Karymskoe lake on a background was widely inhabited with fish till the 1996. On the bottom of the lake a crater awaked and boiled the water. And as a joke instructor added, that it was the biggest fish soup in the world (about 100,ooo fish).

For visiting one volcano per day in Kamchatka you probably would need 300 days! They are everywhere, they are all totally different: active, extinct, sharp, gigantic or covered with snow…  They frame the towns, face the Pacific ocean and attract tourists from different corners of the Earth. The volcano on a photo, which looks like a plate with milk, is called Malyj Semyachik.

Photo by Natalia MaiborodaMutnovskij volcano is quite a popular destination, but I strongly recommend you to join the group with experienced instructor. It took us almost the whole day to go to the crater and back. A long and tricky snowy path lead to local Mordor, where eyes fill in with tears either due to smelly gases or unbelievable view. For me it was both.

2) Public transportation.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda Transportation in Kamchatka is a matter of concern. Due to isolation from the mainland and absence of roads, the only comfortable (expensive) way to get somewhere is by helicopter. There is an alternative – going by foot, but mind the distances. If you prefer to save 1000 $ and chose hiking, in one month you might get to the Valley of Geyser.

3)  The Valley of Geysers.

Photo by Natalia MaiborodaBeing the second largest concentration of geysers in the world, the Valley  is definitely a miracle. As I mentioned before, there is only one reliable way to get there – by helicopter with travel agency. It also makes sure  that Kronotsky Nature Reserve allows you to enter. I’m going to talk more about this natural wonder in my next post. Just a small hint: geysers still work after the tragic 2008 mudflow, which damaged the Valley dramatically.  All geysers have their own cycle of eruption, but to see the most spectacular one, you need to wait for 5-6 hours. Velikan geyser (Giant) is the highest in Valley (making the show on the pic above).

4) Death Valley.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda Only few km away from famous Valley of Geysers, another valley hides – less well-know. Its scary name is due to its frightful reputation. Once locals found here dead birds and animals and beat an alarm. Later scientist blamed poisonous gases. Believe me or not, but 15 min here caused me a headache.

5) Do you want some bear?

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda It doesn’t matter what your answer is, cos bears in Kamchatka are guaranteed! They are the main inhabitants in peninsula, especially in wild places (basically everywhere in Kamchatka:)).

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda This was the first bear I saw in Kamchatka – a lady with 4 (!!) babies (not all of them are on the photo). I was scared, even being in a group of 10 people and having hand flare.  I remember that in a situation when person is between the bear and her children, the animal will kill the person.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

But normally bears don’t touch, if you are far and peaceful. This man was eating grass the whole day just like a cow, blocking the way to the our WC.

6) What is a real protection here.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda That is why walking in a huge protected area of Kronotsky Nature Reserve is forbidden without permission and personal weaponed instructor. Besides, they advised us to have waterproof cloth and shoes, mosquito net and  hand flare. That’s what is called Kamchatka fashion:)

7) Mosquitoes.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda After I hiked 20 km from Valley of Geysers to caldera of Uzon, the only dream I had was to take my jacked and mosquito net off. It would also be not a bad idea to watch the evening sky in the heart of extinct volcano. Romantic!  Gosh, I didn’t see any sky ‘cos of hundreds of bloodsuckers. And forget about repellent – it doesn’t work here!

Photo by Natalia MaiborodaBut in the rare moments, when mosquitoes are not such aggressive, caldera Uzon is amazing! Together with the Geyzernaya caldera it hosts the largest geothermal field in the Kamchatka Peninsula.

8 ) Kluchevskaya Sopka.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

The most impressive volcano I ever seen was Kluchevskaya Sopka – the highest in Eurasia (4,750 m). It erupted last year. It’s in the middle in this photo, standing much farer than its neighbors to us. The temporary bridge on the left is made for workers, who erect the motorway over Kamchatka river. By now it’s possible to reach the other bank with a ferry only.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

Just nearby stands Tolbachik volcano. I am trying to reach the 3682 м high.

 9) Roads.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

When an asphalt ends – all fun begins. In Kamchatka they have good roads only in a small part on the south between the capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskij and Elizovo (where airport is). Welcome to dirt roads!

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

To nearby touristic places you can drive in so-called military track. Travel agencies normally supply with such transportation. In other places you should walk by foot. Hiking is difficult, but much more pleasant than anti-cellulite shaky drive.

10) Snow in summer.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda It is quite normal to find snow in August. This year we were lucky to manage an excursion to Mutnovskij volcano. A week ago, on the 1st of August, the level of snow was so hight, that tracks couldn’t make it.

Photo by Natalia MaiborodaPeople as well.

11)  You said bye? I say Bay.

Photo by Natalia Maiboroda

Avacha Bay is the first sight people usually catch while landing and the last view while departing from Kamchatka. To believe local guides, it is the second largest bay in the world and also it can accommodate all the world’s fleet.  While no one decided to prove this by welcoming every ship, I took a chance to order 5-hours boat trip. From the ocean side all domestic volcanoes surrounding Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskij look even more spectacular. The land of volcanoes, you are too wild and too beautiful. Bye!

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25 thoughts on “Kamchatka: hits and hints.

  1. Beautiful collection of wallpapers!)) No doubt which one gonna be favourite among the readers)))

  2. Really amazing! And you have really sold me the idea to go there because before I hadn´t even consider going. Looks and sounds amazing. Did you make an episode about this trip?

    • maiboroda says:

      Nice to hear this! Especially, from a person from Iceland:) I would say that Kamchatka is a gigantic copy of Iceland, inhabited with bears. I didn’t film this trip, it was a vacation. You have me to ask recommendations before going there:)

  3. fripulEric says:

    Wonderfull ! I wish i could go there one day !

  4. Daria Golub says:

    This post is awesome! But for now I’m quite happy just to read about these beautiful places. One should be in good condition to keep balance with mosquitoes, bears, long hiking and shaky driveng 🙂

  5. Jeffrey Muscat says:

    Thanks nataly!!!

    Amazing pictures… you are so luck to get to visit such places…. keep it rolling!!

  6. Aleksandr Vydolob says:

    Lucky you, Natalka! Fantastic scenery!

  7. Great pictures, thanks! Amazing place, really would like to plan its visit in my own

  8. ultimathule says:

    Good job! You are a real жабка-мадрівниця:=)))

  9. Nice shots Natasha! Amazing landscapes!

  10. Vincent says:

    Thank you for this wonderful work ! I see you are carrying on well with your job and talented discovering-the-planet skills.

    I wish I travel with you again !

    Best luck
    Vincent from France

  11. Jean-Yves says:

    Wonderfull landscapes !!! For us, New-Zeland is the “end of the world”, but finaly, Kamchatka is also 😉
    Hope you’re fine?
    Bizous

  12. Milan Lausevic says:

    What to say ?
    Really great, just keep walkin’ 🙂
    Cem from Belgrade

  13. What’s more beautiful, the scenery or the girl? That’s corny, I know…

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