Shantar Islands

Shantar Islands

Most Russians have never heard of these places, and do not even know where they are at least approximately. Having visited these hard-to-reach and uninhabited islands, once again you are convinced of how many in Russia there are unexplored and incredibly beautiful places where people practically never walked. On average, no more than 100 people visit these islands in a year, and this time I was lucky to be among thesemadmenlucky ones.

1. An unforgettable journey to the uninhabited islands of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, where, for a minute, almost 8 months of snow a year, began with a 30-degree heat. After the flights of Moscow - Khabarovsk - Okha, we found ourselves on the sandy beach of Pomry Bay, which is located in the very north of Sakhalin Island.

In early August, there was heat in Moscow. And this trip was a kind of salvation from the hot city jungle. “I am flying into the cool embrace of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk” - I thought. After all, it is no wonder that the city of Okha belongs to the Far North (although it is located on the map south of Moscow). And then something went wrong. We fell into a windless, hot and sticky heat.Bathing in the sea did not save much - there was nowhere to wash the salt from the body, and the salty ones slept. Wandered along the shore, waving away the annoying and endless gadflies, until nightfall.

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2. Briefly about the nature of northern Sakhalin:

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4. The next day we picked up at the airport the second part of our team Mamont Cup 2017, which flew a day later. The sun was shining, we were swimming, sunbathing and mentally preparing for the transition to the Shantar Islands.

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5. Cape Wrangel- amazingly beautiful, wild and untouched place that resembles footage from science fiction films. At the edges of the bay there were huge stone boulders polished for decades, and in the middle there was a wonderful sandy beach where I immediately took a swim. The whole day's transition took us about 8 hours. A good bathhouse awaited us, which was immediately used for its intended purpose. And at night all our still relatively “fresh” clothes were dried in it.

Cape Wrangel

6. All the next day we walked in a thick, like milk, fog along the shore, admired the harsh nature (what we could see in front of us), collected sea reptiles for dinner, got wet in the rain. We still did not know that practically the whole two-week expedition would be accompanied by rain with fog, so we did not have time to miss the heat and gadflies. It turns out that for these places the weather is traditional.

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ten.In the late afternoon, a National Geographic-style presentation happened. At first, several whales entered the bay at once, which came very close to the shore and greeted people with blows of tails against the water. We all were delighted (not so often you can see a whale 20 meters from the shore), filmed, flew, jumped for joy. And then the drama broke out - a whale of killer whales attacked the whales. And stuck shutters chambers, and kopter boomed.

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11. But everything seemed to be okay and all the whales were still alive, although in some places the water turned red ... For a long time we sat in a common tent-kitchen and discussed what we saw. They sang songs with a guitar, joked, acclimatized. They ate incredibly delicious sea soup from all that they themselves had collected during the day: seaweed and mussels. Somewhere behind the ravine was buzzing, trying to generator: charging laptops, stacks of batteries and smartphones.

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12. After the bath and dinner, I fell asleep as soon as I got into the sleeping bag. I dreamed of the icy shower of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, the sound of breaking waves on a catamaran, the wind, whales, orcas in the fog and rain. Through a dream, I felt that someone was shaking our tent, whipping her with a bath besom, and it all seemed logical. I did not worry. I woke up at about five in the morning, when it was already beginning to get light. Tent swaying the wind, literally trying to knock off the sandy beach and throw into the bay.Oh, this tent life!

Something like I put on my boots, I got out "on the street", as I immediately froze, got wet and was scared. Two tents that we set up on the eve had disappeared nearby, and our “kitchen” was doubled under the onslaught of the wind, exposing the tables where the equipment was charged - the expensive batteries for Inspair, the telephones and my laptop.

My computer has seen everything, but it has never been charged in a puddle in the rain. I carefully poured water out of it, brushed away the sand caused by the wind, and put my faithful friend to dry in the already cooling bath. Later, 200 meters on the stones, they found one of the tents blown away by the wind, or rather what was left of it. The second flew into the sea and disappeared (both were good without people).

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13. By lunchtime the next day we got to the bay.dry woodOngachan. This is a picturesque bay, relatively closed to the winds prevailing on the sea.

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14. But it depends on what to compare. Judging by the number of dry trees that were stormed ashore, and by the slope of the coastal vegetation ...

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15. ... the desire to meet here face to face with the elements does not arise.

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18. Part of our glorious team.

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20. Catamaran "Ongachan" and the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.

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21.In total, the Shantar Islands archipelago includes 15 islands in the Sea of ​​Okhotsk. Some of them belong to specially protected areas, where it is forbidden for people to disembark. At the same time, the waters of the coastal islands freeze for about eight months a year and merge with the mainland.

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22. Almost all the days of our journey went through fogs and rain.

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23. The fog spread over the water and as if the veil hid the relief of the islands. It was difficult to understand and realize what places we gently swim, what is behind the rocks, going into the clouds ...

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24. The Shantar Islands seemed to flirt with us, revealing only a small part of their beauty.

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25. It is difficult to say whether we were able to fully achieve our goal: to show the beauty and originality of the region to the general public, to tell about these unique and unknown islands for most Russians. To solve this problem, the organizers of Mamont Cup 2017 have assembled a team of famous travelers, popular video bloggers, photographers and videographers. A huge amount of various equipment was brought from Moscow, there were seven pieces of UAVs alone! And then bang - rain and fog.

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26For me, in fact, the archipelago remained unexplored: foggy islands, emerging from nowhere, drizzling rain and curious seals sticking out of the water.

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30. Before Shantar, I had never met fogs in which it was possible to get wet to the skin. Where else can you find fog in which you can take a picture of your 10-meter shadow?

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31. These are the Shantar Islands ...

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37. A few days later, we returned to Ongachan Bay. We walked on the sea in the traditional fog, and already on the coast, literally before our eyes, the weather changed dramatically. The photo shows how the fog crawls into the sea, revealing stunning visible to us on the bay and the nearest islands.

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38. We have not seen the sun for almost 10 days.

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39. In the evening, a miracle happened, and my laptop came to life)

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40. It is time to return to the mainland. There was complete calm. For two hours we walked in mirror water in full fog to the mainland, from where we had to pick up the helicopter to Briacan.

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41. Of course, due to poor visibility, the helicopter could not fly to us at the appointed time. At the same time, literally 200 meters from our shore, the weather was sunny and windless, while we were sitting in the fog.

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42. After all that was experienced, we did not even notice the 17-hour transfer to Khabarovsk.

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