Kurils/Kunashir: Salmon Run Insanity
This is perhaps one of the most insane wildlife experience I have ever had. With the salmon run season at its peak, we came across a small stream that was just packed to the rim with fish, male and female pink salmon trying to swim upstream over rocks and waterfalls (pink salmon aka gorbusha is quite distinct with males developing humped back and females becoming spotty). Just seeing all this fish all around you was absolutely surreal…. And then I tried grabbing them, which turned out easy like 1-2-3 – I felt like a grizzly at a salmon party. Andas if grabbing salmon with bare hands wasn’t crazy enough – things got completely bonkers when salmon caviar almost burst out of female fish in my hands full of caviar when I held them (each female pink salmon has 1000-2000 eggs aka caviar or ikura). So – yes I delivered baby salmon! And to take it to a whole new level of insanity – I tried fresh caviar at the source – can’t get fresher then this!