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Published: October 16th 2012
"The tour to Avachinsky volcano will not wait! I'm ordering you another taxi be downstairs in 10 minutes"
Is how I begin my morning on July 17 having slept in and missed the time to get up and make the taxi to the volcano tour.
We start frantically running around pulling clothes on left right and centre.
Momentarily, we receive another call from Yana saying unfortunately the tour has been canceled and they are leaving without us. Tour leaving without us?
We look back at our warm beds and contemplate jumping back in and enjoying a nice sleep in day.
Then I shake myself free of that stupid idea, what am I taking about I never rest when I I'm in such a beautiful place like Kamchatka.
We decided to call Yana back and ask her if there are any other tours happening that we can join. Secretly I really would love to see e Geyser valley which at this point in time is only accessible via helicopter tour or 16 day return walk.
"No unfortunately there is nothing else available today... Unless you would like to join the helicopter tour to the Geyser
valley?" Yana informs us.
"Yes we would love that." I can barely restrain the excitement from my voice.
Considered one of the wonders of Russia, the Valley of the Geysers are located in the Kronotsky National Park and are a UNESCO world heritage site.
Before we know it we are heading to Avachinsky airport. Our driver picks us up from Yelizovo and mentions the second load of bad news.
"Unfortunately the helicopter authority is not letting us fly. We have 30 tourists waiting at the airport but the bad weather in Petro-pavlvask is going to keep us from taking off for a while. This is a shame because in the Kronotsky national park, especially in the valley of the geysers the weather is perfect right now, which is rare." Our driver prepares us as we ride to the airport.
I'm slightly confused as to why Yana told us that the tour will go ahead but I don't ask questions. I'm just really keen to make it to the Geysers and I'm really willing the tour to go ahead.
We arrive at the airport and we begin the waiting period.
One hour passes.
We help ourselves to tea and chocolates and coffee during the mean time.
Due to the delay (and the high price of the tour) they actually serve descent chocolates and tea.
The toilet is another story.
For a 26,000 roubles or about 900 AUD tour your still provided with a good old Russian pit toilet. At least this one is clean.
Another half an hour passes.
Having over eaten on chocolates and tea and explored the vicinity of Avachinsky Airport we give Galia
a call. She's made it safe and sound and had a very eventful bike ride back with Casha.
"How about I take you to Paratunka if your tour doesn't go ahead." Galia suggests. We tell her we will call if we don't fly as the waiting game has given us the feeling that its u likely to go ahead.
It's 1pm in the afternoon and the other tourists seem to be getting restless - some have started pacing back and forward others continue to question the staff if the tour has been cancelled. Some are celebrating early (or swallowing sadness) by hitting the vodka early.
Another hour passes.
And then we hear the magic words...
"Can we have your passports please hurry up the helicopter is going to leave." It's like a beautiful melody whispering in my ears.
Me and my mum make haste but for some reason end up being the lady people on the helicopter.
I ask this kid if he can sit with his dad and I sit with my mum. He says no he wants to watch the view then proceeds to play chess with his iPad for most of the trip.
He also asks me where it is this tour is off to.
Flying over the Kranotsky National Park is amazing. Majestic volcanos rise up in over the landscape, surrounded by lush green valleys. Some are dark blue and others have beautiful milky blue lakes inside the volcano. The ocean breaks open around us and the view is simply breathtaking and inspiring to know we have places so amazingly beautiful still on earth.
We arrive at our first stop which is the Valley of the Geysers. The Gesyers are a very special place to visit despite a land slide occurring here over 5 years ago.
On June 3, 2007 a powerful land slide took place in the valley of the geysers. The length of the landslide is about 2km the volume of the landslide was about 20 million cubic meters and the maximum depths of the deposits is about 70 meters. Is the biggest landslide recorded in e history of Kamchatka and one of the biggest in Russia.
Originally, our guide explains, the authorities thought to alter and return the Gesyer valley to its original form prior to the land slide. However, after deliberation and reflection they decided not to touch or alter anything and continue to let nature run its course. Just as our guide stops talking, as if on que, the geysers that have been smoking for quite some time erupt in a 30 meter high water spray.
It's incredible to see something so powerful, majestic and raw in the real life. We make our way over to an amazing milky blue lake which has an amazing color turquoise due to the quantity of thermophillic algae.
Lake Geysernoye, as it is called, formed a dam on the river Geysernoye as a result of the landslide. Earlier there
was a deep gorge with steep slopes in this place. The lake is interesting due to its temperature which is dependent on the hot springs, geysers and precipitation in the air. The area of the lake is constantly diminishing because the Geysernoye river is slowly filling the lake basin with rock deposits. The temperature of the lake varies from -8C to -26C and the lake has a maximum depth of 26 meters.
Following the lake we visit the toilet hot springs, the name given to them because they literally act like a toilet, flushing and filling up regularly. Close by we spot some near tracks of bears who visited the site earlier that day.
We fly to another site of a beautiful silver lake and that's when it happens...
An awesome discovery awaits us...
A mother Brown bear with her baby cub!
So cute we get to watch them eating before one of the helicopters take off and startle both the mother and baby bear to leave.
The final touch to our awesome tour is lunch at a great fishing place for possibly extremely rich fisherman.
Why rich? Well the cost to come
here is 26,000 roubles or 900 AUD per night, plus 19,000 AUD or about 600 AUD for accommodation and obviously the return flight... Well quite high for your average Russian fisherman who usually earns a salary of about 10,000 roubles or about 300 AUD per month.
We take a swim in the hot springs and are fed an amazing lunch of fresh fish, amazing red caviar and blini or Russian pancakes.
Kronotsky National Park is beautiful!
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