Iturup Island is the largest island of the Kuriles. It is unspeakably beautiful and has a length of 200 kilometers. One of its sides is washed by the Pacific Ocean and there is the Sea of Okhotsk on the other side. Almost the whole island is a nature reserve.
There are no mountains there but it has nine active volcanoes and Stokap is the highest one. In the picture you see its crater.
Approaching the island.
People may come to these hot springs at any time of the day and swim there for free. But remember that it’s going to hurt if you have a cut or a burn.
The island is rich for its mineral resources. At the time of the Soviet Union a lot of geologic works have been done there (like exploring fields and road construction) but in 90s all of it broke down.
An abandoned geological base.
There are several cities on the island. The largest one which has a population of 10 thousand people, is Kurilsk. A lot of military men live in presidios, like in the one from the picture. A few people which can be seen wandering in the streets, look rather depressed which is understandable.
An asphalt road is a nonsense there. The road in the picture is one of the best roads you can find. People use shores (sandy) as a road to get to some place. The infrastructure is in a very poor condition. There are no cinemas, the Internet is slow and expensive, the only bar is open until 8 p.m. on workdays and until 3 a.m. at weekends. Both the food and personnel there suck.
What is surprising is that true patriots live under these circumstances!
Bear density is crazy! So, taking a hand flare with you would be a piece of good advice.
People do not go up to the volcano often because it’s pretty hard. In the picture you see the few who try.
This is a path leading up to the volcano.
The result of the walking tour is worth every effort made. Look at that! You can see the Pacific Ocean from here! The explosion which is far away, is a military exercise.
Starting a radial tour to the top of the volcano.
It usually takes a day to get to the top and then get back to the camp.
Inside of the tube there is iodine.
A hungry fox.
This is one of the seasonal workers. Most of them are former prisoners.
It’s swarming with crabs!
Military men driving along the shore.
One of the bays overlooking Bogdan Khmelnitsky Volcano.
The city of Kurilsk.
Bears soaking up some sun in the snow.
This geothermal power plant supplies the whole island with electricity. It’s cheap and ecologically friendly.
A canyon leading to the Sea of Okhotsk.
These are volcanic islands some of which have magnetite sand.
The Sea of Okhotsk shore.
Three curious seals.
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. It has a ski resort.
One more bear.
A stream of sulphur. It’s dangerous to stay near it for too long.
A bear again!
Location: Iturup Island