Henry Cookson, a daring adventurer in some of the planet’s most remote destinations, has become known for making the impossible possible. He’s the founder of Cookson Adventures, one of the world’s leading ultra-luxury experiential travel specialists.
In far eastern Russia, there’s a 1,250km-long peninsula that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. Kamchatka is seemingly lost to time, a land of primal beauty resembling the Earth in its early chapters of creation. It’s a honeypot of untamed landscapes, perfect for any adventurer who can’t afford to stand still.
Cut off from the world, with no roads or railways connecting the peninsula to the mainland, Kamchatka is a haven for rare species such as the largha seal. Launch your adventure from a private yacht and meet up with our marine guides to track pods of killer whales migrating through the Sea of Okhotsk. On land, mammoth brown bears patrol the rivers for salmon that arrive so high in numbers that they can be heard jumping out of the waters for miles around.
Nature is at its most powerful here. Amongst one of the highest concentration of volcanoes in the world, explorers can go rock climbing, fly fishing and river rafting. Go above the clouds in a helicopter and see a white stretch punctuated only by soaring peaks. There are around 300 volcanoes in Kamchatka, over which 30 are active, including Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the largest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere. The area also boasts over 200 thermal springs, some so large they are classified as hot lakes. Local authorities have worked hard to preserve these springs, whilst catering to visitors with log cabins that provide changing rooms and outhouses.
Out at sea, there’s enough to impress even the most accomplished divers, from underwater residents, such as playful sea lion colonies, to smokers which emit heated waters from cracks in the seabed. Or hook up with a kitesurfing instructor and hone your technique on some of the world’s most isolated beaches.
A yacht will also allow guests to visit the nearby Kuril Islands: a magnetic archipelago that stretches down to Japan. Here you can find dramatically steaming fumaroles and hot water lakes, emerald green mountain ridges and flooded craters which house abandoned Soviet submarine bases.
Heli-skiers can set sail from Kamchatka’s coastal city of Petropavlovsk to explore snow-covered volcanoes on the likes of Onekotan Island, where few have ever set foot before. Further south, Iturup is one of four islands in an ongoing territorial dispute between Russia and Japan, as no peace treaty was ever signed at the end of WWII.
As with Kamchatka, though, one of the biggest draws of the Kurils is the prolific wildlife. Killer whales and otters circle Yanikicha Island, sea lions grace the shores of the Chirpoy Islands, Urup Island is the spot for sockeye salmon fishing and rosy finches and peregrines flit between the lakes on the Ptichi Islands. This last set of islands is shrouded in legend as its largest volcano, Atlasova, is said to have once been a mountain in Kamchatka before the neighbouring mountains became jealous of its beauty and cast it out to the sea.
Mesmerising and mystical in equal measure, Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands are a magnificent display of the inner power of planet Earth.
Cookson Adventures is the world's leading experiential travel company, meticulously handcrafting and implementing the finest and most personal adventures.
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