Black volcanic sand, stretched for 30 km along the coast line of the Pacific ocean. How did this even happen? Probably the same way Kamchatka did - from deep inside the ancient volcanoes. The lava was brought by the rivers down to the shore. It is a bit silly to call such an unpredictable and utterly insidious element like the ocean “Pacific”. In this region a tsunami warning is very much ordinary. A little over fifty years ago almost every coastal settlement was wiped out.
This place also has another trick.
Imagine a surfer with red cheeks and tiny icicles in his hair, trembling from the cold, riding those icy waves. A little hard to imagine something like this, right? Well, here you don’t have to, you can actually witness the whole thing with your own two eyes. It is perhaps the coldest surfing spot in the world. The water never reaches over 15 degrees, even during the warmest seasons.
Tricky climate aside, the Khalakyrsky beach is considered to be the best surfing spot in Russia and at one point even won the best new surf spot title in the world!
We met with the founder of Kamchatka’s first surfing school - Snowave - Anton Morozov. He helped us with filming on the beach. There aren’t many tourists here this time of year, so Anton enjoys living in a tent right on the shore. By himself. He was witty and funny, but I couldn’t help but look into his eyes, searching for answers about life, happiness and freedom. When we asked him to join us on our swim he immediately agreed. Even after the camera was turned off he continued to surf for another good thirty minutes in those freezing oceanic waters. It seems the Pacific flows through his veins.
The deepest and second largest bay in the world.
The entire world fleet can fit quite freely inside the bay - can you imagine the scale of it all?! The first time we approached it, among the silent ships I saw a huge seal swimming against the current. I cried out in delight, it was so unusual to see how the machines coexist with the animal world.
The water never freezes here, even during the coldest of winters. To approach the coast a ship needs to swim through these “gates” - a three km long window between the Bezymyanny and Majachny capes.
This bay was first discovered before Saint Petersburg was founded! Can you believe it? Sure the time difference is just a few months, but still. You can almost sense how proud it is, the grandeur of it all: the gigantic rocks, the ferocious waves, the darkening lagoons, the steep banks with white ghosts of distant lighthouses.
The biggest port in the bay is in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The most beautiful view of the whole bay can be seen from the Mishennaya sopka.
Back in the 90s the navigation here reached its highest peek and it all looked like one big race: the bay received over a hundred ships a day and the bay didn’t slow down even for a second. Today it all came down a bit, which is a good thing. The Avachinsky bay is currently facing the danger of being too polluted. Turns out, about 74 ships have sacked here and have been left to rot and pollute the bay. For the first time, the government has finally decided to do something about it.
On our way from the Avachinsky bay, we came across the “Three brothers”. This was one of those times when no matter how many pictures you saw and how many things you’ve read, no justice was done, we were completely blown away by this amazing beauty.
In the middle of the ocean stand three enormous rocks, they stand there protecting the entrance to the bay. After seeing something like this how can you not believe in legends and fairytales. People say three young men wanted to protect their town from the tsunami, so they went into the ocean and stood there, not letting it pass. Today, people throw a coin over their left shoulder each time they pass the brothers, it is supposed to bring good luck.
The moment our friends found out that we were going to the land of sea lions, they all began screaming of joy and smiling from adoration to these animals. I honestly didn’t understand what the fuss was about. But when we finally got to their rookery (three hours in the open sea) located at the Kenkurny cape in the Tikhaya bay, it really did evoke some unforgettable emotions.
These animals are a real wonder of the world, they’ve been added to the Red Book of Russia. The females can only feed their offsprings on the shore, so the protection during this period is extremely expensive. Unfortunately, the nosy tourists and restless photographers scare the shy sea lions. They suffer from all the attention and refuse to mate. Right now there are only a thousand species out here, when just 25 years ago there were twice as many.