Home Back Forward May 28, 1998: First message from Petropavlovsk





Petropavlovsk Waterfront
(like any other image, you can
click on it to enlarge)


Hi James:

There is no power in Petropavlovsk for most of the day. Additionally the transformer I brought to use the computer while in the city will not work here. So I will try to send you a photo as an experiment that all is well. Use it if you wish. Likely I won't have the battery power to send you another until I reach Kambalnoe Lake.

Life here upon arrival is about as we left it: refreshingly bare of the commercialism gone wild that is so much of our culture. My friends say living is tougher though. Still people are not paid if their salaries are connected to government. A film producer we know here, describes his arrival as that of a feeding frenzy - there is so much competition for work and request for dollars for work are ridiculous. For me... customs clearance of our things that came by boat has been the first task. Nothing went smoothly the first day. Then Tatyana and her boss intervened and it looks like we will gain clearance. At one point, customs said I would have to pay for the goods in our container that arrived by sea by the kilo. We have gas for Charlie's plane, camp stove fuel and many other things. The total bill was to be US$6,000 to release our cargo. Then there was the matter of the two boxes of wine. they would not accept them in for under a fee of 200% of their value and suggested they would have to just be left in the port. Upshot- two days gone by now and still papers are being processed but with no big penalties, I think. This is the boring part of any expedition. However, customs officials proved most helpful in the end and gave us instructions on how to do a better job next year with the paper work. We are finding that in spite
of these very difficult times, economically, the Russian people with whom we connect are very interested in supporting our efforts to save Kamchatka's bears. Friendships are developing and we hold many individuals in high regard

Charlie is down at Kambalnoe Lake and I hope to fly down with the big helicopter on the 2nd or 3rd of June. Charlie will come back in this chopper to PK and return to camp in the ultralite. No orphan cubs are in PK now. If they appear I think we will become bear parents again.

Russian bear biologist Vitaly Nikaelenko is with Charlie at Kambalnoe. This is an important step for our program this year to work with Vitaly. we hope our program becomes a joint initiative between two countries.

All for now James. Please forgive the typos. I am not sure of my battery power. Next E-mail in 6 days or so, maybe less and from Kambalnoe Lake.

© Lenticular Productions Ltd. 1998