Meet the locals, Tymlat - Kamchatka © 2014 . All rights reserved.

8 Nov ’14

The blue sky is back along with a bright and energizing sun when we land with l’Austral along an estuary in Tymlat. Around 500 Koryaks live in this small village. These are the ethnic and oldest indigenous people from northern Kamchatka. Once a group of nomadic people hunting reindeer (Koryak means “deer”) and moving themselves and their gear during the winter by dog sleds. Now they are more settled and live in villages like Tymlat in simple, weather beaten, wooden houses overlooking the tempestuous Bering Sea. No roads lead to this village and in winter, when icy storms blow over, Tymlat is isolated from the rest of the world.

Shamanism is still deeply rooted here. The Big Raven is the master, the first man, the father of the Koryaks and the protector. When we go ashore, there is a welcome committee waiting, complete dressed in traditional costume: animal skins, colorful beads, hand-made boots and jewellery, … We get a fluff of angora and have to throw it into a burning fire. A welcome or purification before we enter their village? Traditional music is blasting from large, modern speakers are everywhere we spot stands with local delights: lots of dried or fresh salmon, berries, tea, biscuits, fish soup … It’s quite obvious it’s the women here who are in charge and setting the atmosphere, organizing the dance and the song. Big Raven looks rather passive this time.

Everywhere we see groups of Koriaks enjoying the sun, hanging around their motorcycles or lying in the grass while making small fires to brew tea or munch on dried fish. Women and girls in costume are standing in groups to sing almost hypnotic but simple chants. They move their hips and hands in a natural, rhythmic and sensual way. Shakira is an amateur compared to them.

Four girls are having a small cantus, one holds a traditional fixed drum made from animal skin and she determines the rhythm. They run a little further away from the action and stand in the middle of a field with grass as high as hip height and with views over the bay and the ocean. They sing, dance, laugh and spin their shiny, long braids around their heads. No one is bothering them. Traditions are still important here, even for the youngest generation. The flashy smart phone, which appears now and then from a pocket of a traditional costume, does not threaten yet this entrenched Koryak culture. This is still too far, too isolated from the world as we know it.

The trick is of course to find cruises sailing to these amazing and remote corners of the world. It’s not always easy to look on the internet and see who is sailing to or through remote parts of the world. A good tip (because we like to give good tips and advice too) is to check out Dealchecker’s brand new Cruise Plotter, a tool that provides users with a unique way of finding their ideal (expedition) cruise. What differentiates the Cruise Plotter from other programs that allow people to search for international cruises is the fact that the Cruise Plotter is a destination based search engine with also the use of an interactive map. This means that users can easily search for cruises that pass through a certain location, for example here in Kamchatcka, rather than search based on area. Once you have found your ideal cruise destination, the Cruise Plotter allows users to search through a number of cruises from different cruise providers in order to find not only the best deal in terms of value for money, but also their ideal starting point.

Meet the locals, Tymlat - Kamchatka
Meet the locals, Tymlat - Kamchatka
Meet the locals, Tymlat - Kamchatka
Meet the locals, Tymlat - Kamchatka
Meet the locals, Tymlat - Kamchatka
Meet the locals, Tymlat - Kamchatka
Meet the locals, Tymlat - Kamchatka
Meet the locals, Tymlat - Kamchatka


  1. Those pictures are gorgeous! I love them. The movement, the people, the culture… you definitely managed to take some awesome shoots and represent what the Koryaks really are.
    With love,

  2. Beautiful story and stunning photographs! I think the indigenous people in the Far East are really fascinating. I’m dreaming of doing such a trip myself!

  3. Wow, these pictures are absolutely amazing. Such beautiful people!

  4. Steve S.

    It’s amazing how life can still thrive at the edge of civilization. I hope you return soon with some updates though, I’ve missed them. Enjoy safe travels and a wonderful holiday season though!

    • thanks Steve, we will try to update the blog in the coming weeks! it’s been to crazy and too hectic and our website suffered the most! But we will be back and stronger! thanks for the follow!

  5. Hi Debbie,
    I just found your travel blog and I am in awe of the stunning photographs you’re taking and of course where you’re traveling to. Is that dried salmon in the photo of the dinner table spread? The set evokes a reading of freedom. It’s enchanting.

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