City of Okhotsk

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Today Okhotsk is a village of fewer than 5000 residents, but for 200 years it was Russia’s most important settlement on the Pacific. Founded in the mid-1600’s, it was never a major seaport but rather a critical coastal link between the rich fur resources of Kamchatka and the Siberian river transport network. Because a bar across the mouth of the harbor restricts access, an alternative site was being sought as early as 1715, and by the mid 1800’s Okhotsk had been eclipsed by Ayan to the west and Petropavlovsk to the East.

We went ashore in zodiacs and were welcomed with a traditional ‘bread and salt’ ceremony, after which we made our way to the community center for a very well received ‘Cultural Performance’. We were treated to a dance troupe and delicious food (salmon prepared 4 different ways, blinis with caviar, vodka).

‘Bread and salt’ welcome.
Some locals welcoming us 🙂
Walking around on a lovely summer’s day in Okhotsk.
Walking around.
Cultural performance.