Kiersten Rowland

Adventures, Travel & Photography

The Kamchatka Expedition Part 6 - Last few days in Russia

28 October 2014

Reading time: 5 mins

Autumn is arriving here in Spain and another expedition is fast approaching so I thought it’s about time I finished this Kamchatka blog before the Patagonia expedition arrives.

Back to the centre of migration
Back to the centre of migration

24th April

Richard’s birthday today and we have to go back to Petropavlovsk to the Centre of Migration for him to get his finger prints taken which they forgot to do last time. Elena arrives and we all head off for a tourist day in Petropavlovsk. It’s a grey drizzly day. We get the local bus into Yelizovo, then swap buses to get to Petropavlovsk. First stop is the Centre of Migration where Richard not only gets his finger prints taken but also his palm print!!! Next we head to an Orthodox Church to have a look at. We take some fun photos outside. Then on to the tourist shops. Boys want Russian hats, me and Jules want Kamchatka t’shirts. I was shocked on entering one shop as it was full of stuffed wolves, bears, wolverines, moose, and fox, the furs of the wolves, bear, wolverine and fox also. Made me feel ill. I never understand hunting, especially in place like Kamchatka that has such wonderful wildlife and untouched land, surly you can make more money bringing tourists to see these animals alive rather than shoot them and get them grotesquely stuffed? If hunting is allowed to continue the way it does in Kamchatka then they can kiss their wildlife and the tourists goodbye. I believe due to hunting that Kamchatka has no big old (30/40 years old) brown bears left because they have all been killed!!

Messing around. Photo courtesy of Martin Hartley
Messing around. Photo courtesy of Martin Hartley

We go for lunch in a cafe and meet up with Igor to discuss the plans for the rest of our stay. Once again the weather is not good but there maybe a small window at the weekend for a 2 day ascent of another volcano. We head home having brought nothing from the tourist shops. Warwick and Elena are cooking dinner, a roast, we are having a small party for Richard’s birthday. Igor came over and gave us a slide show, he had the chance to fly in a helicopter over Tolblachik during it’s eruption. Richard didn’t want a birthday card, so he got an Easter card instead that everyone signed, he also had a cake! So it was the usual drink lots, eat lots and have vodka shots. Andre played his bayan with incredible passion (it’s a type of chromatic button accordion developed in Russia). This was our last night as guests at Andre’s house, tomorrow we move to Marthas.

Celebrating Richard's birthday, sorry it's blurred!
Celebrating Richard's birthday, sorry it's blurred!

25th April

Some sluggish heads this morning, but not mine. I listened to the locals who say never mix beer and vodka, so I didn’t! Everyone going to the ski centre, I’m staying home, going to help Martha move our stuff to her place. Went with Martha and took her two beautiful dogs for a walk, feels good to be out with dogs again. The others come back from skiing, Richard not well. Tonight we go out to eat at a restaurant, a treat from Martin. Restaurant does not take credit card, none of us have any cash, lots of nervous giggling and wondering how long we have before we get arrested and if we could do the washing up in return for payment. Emergency phone call eventually made to Martha to bring some cash and bail us out. Early to bed as it looks like a weather window for the 2 day trip will arrive. 5am breakfast!!

Nothing to do with this part of the blog, but if anyone knows the bird please let me know what it is
Nothing to do with this part of the blog, but if anyone knows the bird please let me know what it is
A Russian Pigeon!
A Russian Pigeon!

26th April :- Richard still not well so we are not going on the trip. I got up and had breakfast with everyone. After they had left I went for a drive with Martha somewhere to take the dogs for a wonderful walk. Would so love to see this area when it is not in the grips of winter. Very cloudy today. Richard has slept for 12 hours. I didn’t do a great deal other than read, sleep and use the internet. Richard felt better around 5pm. Martha was heading out so asked her to pick us up a bottle of Chilean wine. Wow that wine was good. Early night again.

Lenin statues seem to appear all over
Lenin statues seem to appear all over
One of the markets we went to
One of the markets we went to

27th April

Had breakfast around 9am, another day of hanging around. Weather looks to be picking up. Jet washed the ski bags off. Took the dogs for a walk again with Martha and saw what I believe to be a Rough-legged Buzzard, the only bird of prey I’ve seen. Prepared dinner for when the others get back. Julia, Warwick and Martin arrive back, no summit, Julia unwell. On the first day they got to the shoulder around 2000m but turned back due to the late hour. The next day they didn’t get far due to Julia being unwell. Those guys were very tired so an early night again.

The target was this volcano that we could see from Martha's back garden
The target was this volcano that we could see from Martha's back garden

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