Kurils/Kunashir: Stolbchatiy Cape

Stolbchatiy Cape is a true wonder of the natural world and is by far the most incredible natural site on Kunashir Island. It is on a tentative list for UNESCO (I don’t understand why it isn’t there yet while myriads of useless villages in France and Italy are). If you have seen the world-famous Giant’s Causeway in Ireland – Stolbchatiy Cape blows that away with ease. Stolbchatiy means “columnar” in Russian and the cape is a series of 150ft high basaltic rocks rising nearly vertically from the ocean (that is over three times the height of Giants Causeway). The columnar basalt forms 5- and 6-sided columns – when lava flowed into the ocean from the erupting Mendeleev Volcano, it cooled rapidly and cracked into columns. This place is surreal and totally wild with zero tourists. You can try to circumnavigate the rocks at low tide although this is some serious scrambling and climbing above an ocean abyss involved. Quite simply – one of the most incredible natural sights on the planet!