Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 211 At Sea

Day 211.... where does the time go? Only 12 more days and I wing my way home. Another cold day aboard the ms Amsterdam as we make our way to Petropavlovsk Russia on the Kamchatka Peninsula. We passed the islands in the northeast part of Ostrova Kuril'skye which reminded me on Antarctica with their rugged and very white terrain. It was a fairly productive day as I got my second suitcase packed..... Tomorrow I will be on tour in Petropavlovsk, here is the ship's description: Kamchatka Nature, Countryside & Sled Dogs --This tour presents a unique opportunity to enjoy Kamchatka’s nature and countryside. You’ll visit the Pacific Network Country Resort complex, located in a picturesque valley with the view of magnificent Koryak and Avacha volcanoes. Originally, the complex served as a kennel for the Kamchatka Sled Dogs. The dogs are very cute and many of them have beautiful blue eyes. They are very sweet. The guide will tell you about the history of the kennel, and about some famous dogs that took first prize in the International Sled Dog Races. This is a great chance to see the process of feeding these beautiful, mighty animals, and to learn about the sport of sledding, see how the dogs are harnessed, and their work with the wheeled sled. For natural phenomena, Kamchatka takes a special place among the rich and extraordinary places of the world-- mountains, active and dormant volcanoes, geysers, vast valleys and lowlands, fast rivers with rapids, waterfalls and lakes made by tundra, estuaries, glaciers and lava. The vegetation is quite unique--the stems of giant grasses covering the open areas summertime can reach more than nine feet in height, and many of them are edible! Walk with your guide to enjoy a breath of fresh forest air and the natural beauty of Kamchatka. The predominant tree on the peninsula is the stone birch, found only in Kamchatka. The fauna of Kamchatka comprises about forty species of mammal and more than 200 bird species. Some species occur in unusually large numbers--the population of brown bears on Kamchatka is about 10,000. Foxes and sables thrive in the forests. Kamchatka snow sheep can be observed also. Hares, ermines and ground squirrels, Steller’s sea eagle (the largest bird in Kamchatka), swans, falcons, waterfowl and ptarmigan are also present in considerable numbers. You will be able to enjoy the variety of wild birds in the tundra that is located just a 15 minutes walk from the complex. The region’s small rivers and little swamps that are perfect for nesting birds. A comfortable and cozy lodge will be at your disposal during the full duration of the tour. After a moderate or easy forest walk (your choice) you will enjoy a light lunch in the open air. You will be served mushroom soup, fried salmon, fresh vegetables, smoked salmon, local beer and tea. While enjoying lunch, you will watch a Koryak folkdance

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