London to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka
A long time coming and the first sight I get of this vast wilderness is of a volcanic peak peering above the thick cloud cover as we come into land at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatka (PK), the stronghold and capital of the Kamchatka Peninsula. A 4hr flight from London to Moscow, an airport hotel overnight, and an onward 8hr flight across the vast Russian tundra brings us to the Russian Far East and one of the last remaining tracts of unexplored wilderness left in the world today. With a population of only 330,000 the Kamchatka peninsula is home to huge grizzly bears, vast salmon runs, gigantic moose, wolves and whales.
We have come in the summer months, but this remains a cold unforgiving land dominated by a stealth like stubbornness born of isolation and secrecy.
We are welcomed by a relentless wall of water that continues for the next 36hrs and puts our plans to shame as we hunker down in our B&B and wait for it to subside, unable to access the surrounding volcanic peaks in such bleak conditions. Kamchatka has made itself known and we wait.