Here we go again off on another adventure into the unknown. This time it's pretty remote as I'll be flying, tonight, to Narita Tokyo, transferring to Sapporo, Hokaido and catching up with Orion II on the morning of the 31st.
We will be sailing north from Hokadio to Petrapavlovsk in the Kamchatka Peninsula, via the Kuril Island chain.
This area is known as “The Northern Ring of Fire”, an area dominated by the effects of volcanic activity. Thirty two volcanoes stretch across the Bering Sea between Russia and Japan. The sparsely inhabited Kuril Islands are home to people who derive their living from a sea which is a rich source of food and among the most productive in the world. Huge bird colonies dot the cliffs and large seal rookeries are scattered along the coast.
At some stage in the expedition, we will cruise into a fjordland of granite cliffs and active volcanoes, a landscape created by glaciers thousands of years ago. I've been told schools of orcas inhabit these rich hunting grounds, along with sea otters, seals and thousands of sea birds.
In this remote area the islanders share their landscape with bears and foxes. Fortunately, the Russian villagers have protected many of these islands and the creatures that occupy them. This journey will be a milestone, leaving you with unique memories.
First step on this journey is the Qantas flight to Tokyo, and I'm amazed when I realise it's been almost 20 years since I was last in Japan. Unfortunately I won't be spending much time there but I do hope to have dinner with an old friend from my early internet days, Terry Warren.