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The Kuril Islands Jun 18

Everybody has heard of the Aleutian Islands. They connect Russia and Alaska. Russia and Japan also share a string of islands. They go from the northern tip of Japan up to the southern tip of the Kamchatka peninsula.

You might or might not want to vacation here. It’s home to about three dozen active volcanoes. Here’s a recent satellite photo of one:

Look closely and you can see the plume drifting to the right.

Doesn’t look very touristy, does it? Some of the islands, however, have spas that take advantage of the hot springs and eco tours that allow you to visit fumaroles, mud pits, and other volcano-related features. The ocean does a pretty good job of isolating each island, so the ecosystems are different on each island, and you’ll find plants that exist nowhere else, and you could find a species no one has yet named. So it might make a pretty good vacation spot for the adventuresome. Here’s a more attractive shot of an island:

Folks on an eco-tour

On the other hand, Russia and Japan have been squabbling over the archipelago for decades, and the islands or some of them have changed hands several times over the past century or so. Everyone there has strong opinions on the subject, so if you plan to visit, be sure to tread lightly. Certainly don’t offer flippant solutions; the issue is complicated.

Oh yes. These islands are hard to get to. Ferries are irregular, even to the inhabited islands. Forget flying unless you can pilot a seaplane.

So take your pick: Stay home and visit Grandma, or visit a foreign Yellowstone for the adventure of your life. Either could be a good choice. Let me know how our agents do if you decide to have Serenity fix you up with a trip there.

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Category: Adventure, Plug
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