Kamchatka, Russia

Kamchatka, Russia

sail to Russia’s Far East is to bid farewell to the modern
world and say hello instead to active volcanoes, hungry grizzly
bears and
playful orcas
. This part of the planet is so
and remote that only the vicious Bering Strait lies
between the end of the land and Alaska.

We embarked on a month-long voyage with L’Austral, a new
high-tech expedition ship owned by Ponant, the luxury French cruise
company. The unknown region of Chukotka was on our itinerary, along
with the Kuril islands, Sakhalin and the Kamchatka peninsula. If

on a world map looks a bit like an animal on the run
with its tongue sticking out, then Kamchatka is the tongue. This
1,250km stretch of land is caught between the Pacific and the Sea
of Okhotsk.

There are few people here, and nature is at its most grand and
impressive. The peninsula has one of the most dynamic landscapes in
the world – home to glaciers and more than 300 volcanoes, of which
29 are active.

While our ship took care of our every need – we were offered
plates of salmon caviar and cups of vodka – Kamchatka itself proved
to be a rugged land of adventure. Our expeditions involved
scrambling across craggy rocks to visit indigenous settlements,
keeping a watchful eye out for whales, walruses and bears along the

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