Greetings from Russia!
Location: Kamchatka Peninsula - Petropavlosk, Russia
by Wayne Brown
I have arrived in Russia! My wife, Karen, is not with me for this expedition. Karen stayed behind at our home in Southern California. I have been invited to be part of an expedition team to explore the isolated islands off the coast of Alaska, Russia and Japan. In 1992, I was on a Russian research ship where I became the first American to scuba dive in the Russian Kuril Islands. I am excited to be a part of this expedition because we will be visiting the Kuril Islands. Even though there will be no scuba diving on this expedition I wanted to show you what these islands are like, because some of you have seen our assembly program about my first Russian Kuril Islands Expedition.
I left our home in Irvine, California and flew to Seattle, Washington. In Seattle I got on another plane and flew to Anchorage, Alaska. I stayed overnight at a hotel in Anchorage and the next morning flew to a small town - Nome, Alaska. (Nome is the town where the Ididarod dogsled race ends.) In Nome I got on the ship - Clipper Odyssey - to start the expedition.
Clipper Odyssey is a specially made passenger expedition ship. Clipper Odyssey carries 128 passengers on explorations to visit and learn about remote areas and countries along the western edge of the Pacific Ocean. Odyssey is 340 feet (103 meters) long and 51 feet (15 1/2 meters) wide. Odyssey is specially made for traveling in rough seas like around the Kuril Islands. Odyssey has large underwater fins that fold out, like flippers on a dolphin. These fins help keep the ship from rolling around in rough seas. To explore the Kuril Islands up close we have 12 large inflatable boats, called Zodiacs. These boats have outboard motors and each hold 10 people. We will use these for going ashore on some of the islands.
On Clipper Odyssey I traveled for about two weeks across the cold and rough Bering Sea, passing by Alaska's Aleutian Islands, until I finally reached Petropavlosk, Russia. Petropavlosk is the largest city on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula is 750 miles (1208 km) long. It sticks out from Russia like Florida does from the United States. The Kamchatka Peninsula is a lot different from Florida. Florida has Walt Disney World. Kamchatka doesn't. Florida has lots of people living there. Kamchatka has few people living here. Florida is flat and warm. Kamchatka is mountainous and cold. It doesn't snow in Florida (usually). It always snows in Kamchatka.
Kamchatka is at the top of the western edge of the "Ring of Fire". The "Ring of Fire" is where volcanoes have formed around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. The Kamchatka Peninsula is one of the most active volcanic regions along the Pacific Ring of Fire. There are over a hundred volcanoes along this peninsula and 33 are still active. (In June one of the large volcanoes erupted shooting gas and steam into the sky about 5 miles (8 kilometers) high.) Most of the volcanoes are tall strato volcanoes.The youngest volcanoes are located along the eastern coast of the peninsula. Kamchatka is covered with gigantic volcanoes, calderas, lava flows, hot springs, geysers and ash deposits. One part of Kamchatka, called Valley of the Geysers, has more geysers than in Yellowstone National Park in the US!
On land the volcanoes of Kamchatka have formed tall mountains. Underwater these volcanoes have formed islands. After we leave Petropavlosk we will be visiting Russia's island volcanoes south of Kamchatka, called the Kuril Islands.
Before our ship continues on to explore the Kuril Islands we are stopping in Petropavlosk to buy more food, drop-off passengers that came with us from Alaska and pick-up passengers that will join us to explore the Kuril Islands.
As Clipper Odyssey approaches Petropavlosk I can see that the city is surrounded by big volcanoes. Even though this is the end of summer we can see that the tallest volcanoes still have snow on their tops.
Tomorrow, join me as I explore Petropavlosk to see how the Russian people live.
Welcome to my expedition all my student explorers.
Position: 53º 81' N / 158º 38' E
Evening Air Temp: 61ºF
Weather: light breeze, sunny with scattered clouds and calm seas.
Water Temp: 45ºF
The Clipper Odyssey - a 340 foot long passenger expedition ship.
Petropavlosk, Russia. (Notice the huge volcano behind the city. See snow on top of the volcano?)
This is a picture of the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula from the Space Shuttle. Petropavlosk is on the east coast of Kamchatka. Petropavlosk is in the top right of the picture. (NASA photo)
This is a Russian picture Kamchatka Peninsula from space. Petropavlosk is about halfway up on the right side of the picture. The white splotches are snow on top of the volcanoes.
This map of Kamchatka shows all the volcanoes and their names. (Active volcanoes are in red.)