Petropavlovsk - Sunday 12 Aug, 2007

Following breakfast we headed out on a bus to visit a sled dog kennel just out of town. A very bumpy ride took us through bustling Petropavlovsk and the bush surrounding town, to arrive at the sled dog kennelā?¦or 'Resort' as the locals call it. We were greeted by the howling sounds of around 60 husky dogs and the smell of salmon cooking on the BBQ.

We enjoyed a talk by the people who ran the kennel, as they showed us around the grown dogs, puppies, and kennels. The dogs were a mix between Siberian, Alaskan and Kamchatka huskies, some with two different colored eyes. They then hitched a team of dogs up to a cart and gave us a demonstration of how fast these guys could go, racing off down a dirt track. It was wonderful to watch how excited the dogs were in anticipation of the run. Right thereafter we were treated to a traditional dancing extravaganza by the Koryak Dance Group. Dressed in traditional outfits, this small group of dancers performed to the rhythm of animal skin drums as they sang traditional folklore songs. Then it was time for an excellent lunch of smoked and barbequed salmon, fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and Russian bread, and, of course, all washed down with healthy shots of vodka.

After lunch we embarked on the coach and headed back to town -- a quiet drive with almost everyone snoozing after all the food and vodka we had sampled. After a short stop at a souvenir store, filled with a variety of different local species of stuffed animals and Russian knicknacks, we headed back to the ship.

In the afternoon Wayne and Daria offered a short city walk through the centre of Petropavlovsk, down London Boulevard. They walked past various monuments to shipwrecked sailors and previous war campaigns. One of the monuments commemorated Vitus Bering's voyage, and another the 150 year anniversary of the landing on Kayak Island, Alaska. They then visited the grave of Charles Clerk, Captain Cooks 2nd in command. His tomb is still considered British soil. The walk continued on past Lenin Square and finished up on the beach, where a small children's carnival was being held.

In the evening we enjoyed 'drinks on the house' at the 'Captains Welcome aboard Cocktail party and Dinner', as Captain Mike Taylor introduced us to his senior officers on board the Clipper Odyssey.

Right after dinner we heard the ships horn blast and most of us were out on deck as we set sail for the Zhupanova River. It was rather chilly, but nonetheless exciting to see the city lights disappear in the distance as we sailed out of Avacha bay into the open seas. From a distance we could make out a Russian nuclear submarine, a missile carrying "boomer" anchored in the Bay.

Zhupanova River - Monday 13 Aug, 2007

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