Tour "Kamchatka Bears, Volcanoes, Orcas"
Day 1 - meeting and night at hotel
Flight from Moscow to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky lasts for 8 hours. Undercarriage touches landing strip and domestic volcanoes Koryaksky, Avachinsky and Kozelsky are for your amazed glance. We are very glad you are here. Accompanying person meets all participants of our trip at airport and take them to hotel for accommodation. This day is for adaptation and rest.
Day 2 – departure to Gorely volcano, ascending, over-night in tent camp
Our trip begins at volcanic region of Mutnovsky plateau. This is the place, where ones of the most interesting, from the point of view of tourism, volcanoes are - Mutnovsky and Gorely.
The first top to ascend is Gorely volcano, its height 1892 meters. It’s possible to get to volcano maximum close in August. In July, for example, you have to walk some distance before ascending starts.Ascending begins at 12 approximately, after light snack. We recommend you not to eat much, or it will be difficult for you to go up.
A path, going upwards, is not steep, it runs over volcanic ash fields and hardened lava. Overcome 900 meters of altitude difference and spent at it about 3-4 hours, we get a reward: First of all, wonderful view of vicinity. Secondly - Gorely volcano amazing craters. It has 11 craters. Thirdly, snack!
In contrast to one-day excursion from Petropavlovsk, when you have strictly limited time of ascending and guide can turn group back, without reaching the summit, to manage to return to city, our several days tour directs to result. Result is reaching of the summit by each participant of our group.
Three craters are worth observing: “Blue lake” with small glacial turquoise reservoir. Crater “Bowl” was fulled with acid lake till 2011, but during last eruption it has gone. And crater “Active”, walls of which formed with beautiful mixture of rocks. After observing of sights go back to base camp, where we spend the night. When we are at camp, cook and delicious supper will be waiting for us.
Sitting around camp fire and first night outdoors. On the altitude of plateau, when it is not cloudy, stars are very close and you can see Milky Way clear. It is always uncomfortable to sleep outdoors on the first day. We hope that ascending will effect and you will sleep as a baby.
Day 3 – Moving to Mutnovsky volcano, ascending to the crater
Breakfast and moving to Mutnovsky volcano’s foothill.
Mutnovsky is an active volcano. It is famous for its accessible crater and one of the widest fumarole ground. Volcano’s walls are destroyed on one side, thus its treasures are visible for curious ones. Ascending is not difficult, and you can see from distance vapor puffs rising up to the sky. Closer to the top, you can feel a specific smell of sulpher, which is a constant accompany of volcanic activity.
Get into the vent and find ourselves in fantastic scenery: fumarols are smoking, mud pod are bubbling and earth is roaring. Depending on the season ice and fire meet here. Blue glaciers hang over colorful rocks and melt by earth heat. This water is a source of Vulkannaya (Volcanic) river. We spend enough time in crater to take pictures.
After a light snack we go down. But we don’t go to base camp, we go along Opasny (dangerous) canyon to a same name waterfall. It is the very place where Vulcannaya river falls down into the gorge. After observing volcano and vicinity we return to the camp, where hot supper is waiting for us. Second night outdoors.
Day 4 – moving to Apacha hot springs
Breakfast, breaking camp down and moving to hotel at Apacha. There is a swimming pool with thermal water on the territory of hotel complex. This day is dedicated to rest and we spend it at hotel in comfort. Tomorrow we will start our moving to the south of peninsula in direction of Kuril lake.
Kuril lake is situated in the south part of peninsula, in one of the most picturesque region of Kamchatka. The lake formed in the crater of ancient volcano, its square is 76,2 km2. There is a mysterious island – Alaid’s heart – in the central part of the lake. Its origin is surrounded with many local legends. Ilinsky, Kosheleva and Kambal’ny volcanoes, which stand nearby, keep creating this atmosphere.
End of July, August is the best time to visit Kuril lake. Hundreds of thousand salmon, following the instinct of reproduction , swim against the stream of numerous rivers and brooks to the places of spawning. This lake is the largest spawning area in Kamchatka. Abundance of salmon attracts a master of Kamchatka’s forest. Hundreds of bears come here for fishing. Steller’s eagle is a frequent guest at this feast. It is the biggest bird of prey living in peninsular. Representatives of this species are registered in Red Data Book of Russia, but it’s possible to see them along the shores of Kuril lake. Such great diversity of fauna and unique landscapes, concentrated at small territory, let tourists observe all Kamchatka beauty and magnificence in short time.
Day 5 - moving to Pauzhetka settlement
After early and hearty breakfast get ready to go. In this day we have to cover one of the most difficult part. It is hard to make proper lunch during the moving, because our schedule time is strictly limited by ebbs and flows. We have to surmount two crossing places on deep rivers and one more to ford. But no reason to worry, as we have Aleksey, who is one the most experienced driver in Kamchatka, with us! During our moving we will have stops and snack.
Drive out from Mutnovsky plateau to the north, then directly to the west till Okhotsk Sea. In fact, roads in Kamchatka are only theoretic things, so get ready to a long shaking. At the same time, covering such a great distance let you see changing of landscape and fauna. Leaving desert and uninhabited volcanic regions, surroundings are getting greener and we observe more colors. Landscape changes from mountain type to forest one, next to the sea - to tundra type.
Finally, Okhotsk Sea!! From the first seconds we can feel ancient power of water. Weather is very changeable in sea regions. One minute back it was shining, and now it’s getting cloudy and windy.
Get ready and take warm clothes with you. We have to cover 150 km along Okhotsk Sea. This place is not uninhabited, as you might have expected. August is salmon spawning time and many fish processing factories try they luck. Not only local fishermen take part in fishing season, but also people from other cities of Russia.
Gently sloping shore let us observe numerous birds, forming here their colonies, and inhabitants of coastal waters - ringed seals - very close. We will stop on our way for taking memorable photos.
We will go through Oktyabrsky village, which was the richest fishing collective farm. Pauzhetka village, which we will reach by this evening, is a small locality, where the first geothermal electric station locate. We will visit it tomorrow, probably, and now we accommodate in tents on the territory of hospitable owners. Tat’yana cooks supper. And we enjoy hot thermal water in swimming poll after many hours of driving. After such bathing all tiredness disappear. Night in camp.
Day 6 - fishing, excursion to fumarol fields of Pauzhetka geothermal electric station, bathing in hot river or excursion to natural monument Kamenny Gorodok (Stone Town). It is your guide, who decides what the group will do.
Plan for the sixth day totally depends on weather condition. Knowing the forecast the guide makes a decision to go to Kamenny Gorodok or to have an excursion around Pauzhetka geothermal electric station.
Excursion to Kamenny Gorodok (Stone Town)
We will reach start point of ascending by car. There will be a place on our way, where military planes, sent out from USA to USSR, landed in times of Great Patriotic War. A few people know about this place, and it is still possible to find some fragments of crashed planes.
Kamenny Gorodok (Stone Town) is a numerous fantastical rocky sites, which look like destroyed and left town.
Reached the very hill, it’s become clear why this place is not worth visiting in bad weather.
First - the path is highly conditional: some part of our way goes through bushes, another - through bed of brook, running down. There is a slush of water and mud when it rains. Keep in mind our recommendations about equipment: waterproof high trekking shoes!
Secondly, slope is steep enough and some parts of ascending can be tough for untrained people. But at the same time we can’t say that this route is really difficult, as we have already taken our children, boys and girls of 12 years old, here. But sometimes tourists ask us to leave them there. So, get ready!
Thirdly, you will see nothing from the top, if the weather is bad.
But everything will change, when the Sun appears. Amazing view of valley become visible! You can see rising up clouds of vapor over Pauzhetka village, very reserve is visible on the left. Vegetation is cut with bed of river, along which we will go to permanent point. And in the south on horizon we see main purpose of your traveling - Kuril lake. Some tourists say that this place is the most beautiful, if you travel around the south. That’s the main reason why we advice you ascend here.
Excursion around Pauzhetka village.
If the weather is bad this day, we will go around Pauzheka and fish. Taras will show us his best ways to throw fishing rod and best places for catching fish. Real Kamchatka fish means that you catch fish from the third attempt. Taras manages to catch fish almost each time. Will you try? We will take caught fish with us and cook later.
After fishing we go to Pauzhetka geothermal electric station. It has been working since 1996. It provides with energy nearest fish plants and settlements. Senior worker of the station will tell us about inner organization, principles of work and about where all produced electricity supply goes to nowadays.
After observing the station we go to fumarols fields. They are not equipped for producing electric energy nowadays, but they will function for the good of mankind. Bubbling mud pots and smoking fumarols - this is way Earth breathe! Our excursion continues. Haven’t you forgotten swimming stuff. There is a hot river, which has good temperature to bathe in. To lie in warm running mineral water is rather unique pleasure. Going back to camp.
Day 7 - enter the territory of South Kamchatka reserve , Kuril lake. Walking excursion around Ozerny point territory, visiting to Pacific research Institution of fishery station. Observing bears. Over-night in tents at Ozerny point.
We will go by car to the border of South Kamchatka reserve, where Kuril lake situates. Then we cover 12 km distance to get to central cordon on foot accompanied by inspector. Any kind of traffic is forbidden on the territory of reserve.
Road here is good enough, it’s not difficult to walk on it, but anyway it’s fatiguing. Usually it takes 3 or 4 hours. All our stuff and food will be brought to point by motor boat, so we take only necessary things with us. On the way to Ozerny point we will definitely run into bears!
Territory of central cordon is fenced by electric fence, which protects researchers and tourists from numerous bears, walking wherever they want and fishing in some meters from the fence.
Accommodate in tents and have our lunch. For this day we have a cognitive excursion to “enclosure”. It’s a fenced bridge, from which we can observe bears fishing. There are special barriers for fish counting. Going through them, fish get into the lake. Bears adore this place, because fish collects here because these barriers.
Bears are very close, so you have to be cautious, follow rules of safety devices and listen to inspector. Researcher of reserve will tell us about bears’ habits, fish counting and many other interesting facts. We will watch a documentary film about bears in the evening. Camp is supplied with electricity from 8 p.m. till 1 a.m. We advice you to worry about charging your cameras in advance. Remember that odd adapter will be useful!
Day 8 - walking excursion to Severnaya Bay, observation of bears.
For this day we have planned excursion to Severnaya Bay. This place is interesting natural object, concentration of bears, fishing here, is unique. Taking photos, observation, being astonished IS NOT FORBIDEN!
Early breakfast. We have to get over 2 hours trekking to get the bay. The inspector, carrying a gun, will accompy us. We will go on bears’path, not a road, so we remind you one more time to have waterproof clothes and proper equipment with you ( in case of bad weather). When we reach the lake shore, we continue trekking to the first or second river, flowing into it. Fish try to go up to rivers from the lake, using such brooks. And these mouths are perfect places for bears’ fishing. Sometimes it’s possible to see a whole family here.
Brooks are very shallow. It’s difficult for fish, which is following its reproducing instinct, to swim and sometimes they just jump out of the river to the shore. We spend several hour on the bay, take hundreds of photos and go back to the camp. Returning to the central cordon. Whole left time we will observe bears from camp area, protected by electric fence, or from special view points.
Day 9 -walking excursion to natural monument Kutkh’s boat. Going out from camp territory. Returning to Pauzhetka village.
Get up early, as usual, and move to the next point of our route - a unique pumice forming Kutkh’s boats. Pumice is a result of volcanic activity of the Earth, which has happened after lava’s reached surface with a following hardenning. Its unique is its rare cream shade.
Usually tourists are carried here by boats , but after a bridge on hinges has been finished, everybody crosses river by it. Our last group of 2016 tested it for the first time. Kutkh’s boats is a place surrounded by mystery, secrets and legends. Local superstitions tell us that Kutkh, creator of the Earth, keeps his boats here. Kutkh left his place, his boats turned to stone. So nowadays they have been still here, leaned against Ozernaya river bank. Aboriginals believe these place is sacred. It’s forbidden to go deep inside the canyon, because of frequent slided of pumice rock. Observing vicinities, make group photo and go out from the reserve the same way we have come. We reach camp at Pauzhetka by the evening. Supper and free time.
Day 10 - moving from Pauzhetka village to Apacha springs, over-night in hotel.
Our returning way along the shore of Okhotsk Sea is the same road. Way back always seems shorter , as we go through familiar places.
By the evening we reach Apacha hotel. Supper, bathing in springs and rest.
Day 11 - Returning to hotel at Paratunka.
Moving from Apacha to Paratunka. Free evening.
Day 12 - Cruise to Russian Bay. Birds, sea lions, orcas watching.
To fly through the whole country and don’t see sea animals? It’s impossible!) 10-hours cruise to Russian Bay will be a discovery for you.
Recently we have crossed Kamchatka peninsula from West to East and to very South, seen rough Okhotsk Sea, and today we are visiting the biggest and deepest ocean of our Planet. It’s incomparable pleasure to sail on yacht, meeting wind and boundless ocean expanse. Cast off and, going through Avacha Bay, head for Three Brothers Rocks, protecting the city. Air is full of piercing and calling for adventure voices of sea gulls.
Go out Avacha Bay gates and we find ourselves almost in the ocean. You can see new panoramic views of steep slopes of peninsula and you can’t help amazing of diversity of this region. Next stop is Starichkov island. We sail along eastern coast of Kamchatka. This island is popular for being home for many birds colonies, sea lions and seals rookeries. This is a protected area and it is forbidden to land there. Also this place is Steller eagles’ nesting place.
Main purpose is Russian Bay. It is here, where you have great chance to run into whales and orcas. They come to this cosy located and closed bay hoping to feast tasty fish. August is the most “delicious” time. We hope you will be lucky enough to meet them!
Day 13 - historical excursion around the city. Visiting to fish market and souvenir shop.
We are going to historical excursion around the city.
Our guide has a lot to tell about the city, Petropavlovsk received many great famous navigators. Laperouse, Kruzenshtein, Bering and many others. We visit monuments of seafarers and discoverers. Our city is famous for military victories. Defenders destroyed squadron of English and French united troops in 1854. So important strategic spot of Russia was protected. Who knows what kind of territorial destiny our country might have otherwise. There is a mock-up “Lieutenant Maksutov" in memory of this battle on the shore of Avacha Bay.
There is a monument to the Soviet Army Warriors - liberators of the Kuril Islands in 1945 in a cosy public garden in the center of the city. Annually a traditional ceremony of flower laying is held here. We will go to a view point on the top of Mishennaya hill. Wonderful panorama of the city, domestic volcanoes and Avacha Bay becomes visible from there.
Then we go to fish market. You will find all possible delicacies and sea gifts. Scallop, squid, Kamchatka’s crab and red caviar are sold by acceptable prices. See delicacies will be an excellent present for your friends and relatives. Just imagine, you are sitting in the family close circle, telling everybody about your adventures, enjoying the treatment.
Day 14 - seeing-off.
This is the last day of our trip. On our way to the airport we will stop at monument “Here Russia starts” and take group photo.
We say you goodbye and wait you again, because it’s well known fact that if you fall in love with Kamchatka once, it will last forever.