The shape of Russia on a world map looks a bit like an animal on the run while sticking his tongue out. That tongue is Kamchatka, a peninsula of 1,250 kilometers long and caught between the Pacific and the Sea of Okhotsk. This is a part of Russia where there are few people (barely 322,000 in an area of 270,000 km2) and with a nature which can be called grand and impressive. The countless volcanoes of Kamchatka are UNESCO protected since 1996. Nowhere else in the world is the concentration of different, often active volcanoes so high. How about 160 volcanoes, of which no less than 29 active?
In the Bay of Bukhta Pavla our l’Austral anchors: a hike of 7 kilometer is on the program: over the rolling hills, in the fertile valley and trespassing brown bear territory. Soon enough we spot the great chief of this tundra. Throughout the walk six brown bears are spotted. Thanks to a rich diet of salmon, an abundance of berries and pine nuts these bears can weigh over a 650 kilo. Around the end of September they begin to build their nests near tree roots, in preparation for their hibernation lasting nearly six months. On the way to the second bay just around the corner, Bukhta Petra, we see from the ship another brown bear with two cubs. More bears evidence we find in the bay of Petra where next to a river a bacchanal took place: half-eaten salmon are scattered around.