Lies, Damm Lies and Statistics, Thoughts and Beards

This will be my last post on my trip to Kamchatka,  it was an epic trip and it feels like an epic amount of work to chronicle it. When reading the stats please keep in mind that they may be wildly inaccurate, I only recorded the catched in the evenings when I got back to camp, so there may be some inaccuracies as I tried to keep count of up to 5 different species of fish in one day, the memory may or may not have been helped by the occasional shot of Vodka and definitely by the occasional lunch time beer.

Distances were measured by dropping pins on the Google “my map” app on my Samsung S6, no exploding screen issues there. The accuracy of the pins seems to be exceptional, the phone was only using the GPS system as it had no phone signal to correct off. The main issue is that when we were traveling I was generally interested in what was going on and forgot to record where we were, so some of the bus distances are rather rubbery.

Basic Stats

Distances Traveled  Comment
Jet 6000 km 4 legs
Helicopter 1000 km 3 trips, 8 legs
Boat & Bus 306 km 5 times
Raft 80 km
Walked 81,000+ Steps
Time
Days away from home 19 days  18 nights
Travle days 6.5  days  0.5 day for transfer
Fishing Days 11.5  days
Tourist days 1  days  boat trip
Fishing
Species Caught 7
Total Fish Caught 300+
Best Day 50+
Worst Day 10  Av size 20+ inch
Biggist Fish 26 Inch
Smallest Fish 6-8 inch
Average Fish 18 – 20 inch
Accommodation
Hotel 2 Nights
Guest house 3 Nights
Cabin 7 Nights
Tent 6 Nights

The number of steps were measured by the pedometer in my phone, I suspect that they are rather under recorded, mainly because I didn’t carry my phone all the time and for the fishing days I only averaged 3,000 steps, this seems odd as I normally walk 10,000 steps a day and I do an office job, it could have been something to do with wading and the step pattern being all wrong for the phone to measure.

The hotel and guest house averaged about $60/night.

Cured Salmon and Salmon Caviar in Vladivostok Airport

Thoughts and Questions answered

Would I do it again? Yes!!! an easy one to start with, I would not do the same trip alone again, but one of the other trips or with a group of friends I would be straight back there.

Are the Russians Cool?  Hell yes, the outfitting group were super cool and nice.

Was it luxurious? No, We were very well looked after but if it is a 5 star resort, h’aute cuisine and foot massage you are after don’t go ou will hate it. Some times it got uncomfortable, cold, wet and I was attacked by insects, but it was never even close to unbearable.

Was it Good Value for money? Who knows…. I have never been on a comparable trip, I doubt that there is comparable fishing anywhere else but in Kamchatka, and if there is it costs just as much. The wilderness and fishing values are unmatched, and in a strange sort of way the cultural experience was great too.

Was it awkward spending 2 weeks in a tent with a stranger? No, we weren’t strangers for long, we all had a good attitude and just got on with it. As per my answer to the would I do it again, I would love the opportunity to fish with the guys I traveled with.

Did I take the right Gear? Generally yes, it felt like I had too many warm cloths, but we mainly had sunny warm weather, if we had two weeks that were like the coldest day I am sure that I would have appreciated the warm cloths.  I would make some small adjustments to the equipment I brought, the 6# Guideline bullet was not up to the job of turning over the large mouse flies and streamers, but it was perfect for the dry flies, next time a Rio outbound short will replace it. The 8# outfit was spot on, I would suggest that any one going for 2 weeks make their primary outfit a 8#. Other than that the information provided by the Fly shop was good.

Beards at work in Korea

One of the final cultural thing that I had not been expecting was when I got back to work in Korea. As is normal for me (and most people) I didn’t shave while I was on holiday, I actually didn’t take any shaving gear, it seemed unnecessary, so when I got back to work I had three weeks growth. To my astonishment I had lots of very weird reactions to me having a beard, the most common (from younger men who make up the majority of the people I work with) was a hello when I got back to the office, then giggle and say something like “you grew a beard” giggle and not be able to look me in the eye and then run away. This happened time and again. The female reaction was far more variable, from “a beard, that is very manly” to the giggle and run.

Eventually at a team dinner, after several beers and shots of soju one of the juniors summoned up the courage to tell me I must shave my beard off. The reasoning was not all that coherent but there were things such as the Bosses would think I was not ready to work unless I was clean-shaven, beard were dirty, they caused embarrassment to people who could not grow one and several other things that I didn’t fully understand. After about three weeks I relented and shaved it off, the next day at work all was back to normal????? All just a unique cultural situation in Korea.

Next a weekend in Tokyo, Mt Fuji and Hakone.

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