Article was published with permission from author, photographer Slava Stepanov. Source: http://gelio.livejournal.com/217950.html
We are used to treat the time zones practically – they are important in traveling and long journeys. Forgetting about the time zone, you can be late for the flight and simply “lost in time”. We count time zones starting from the Greenwich – conventional zero line, “plus” to the east and “minus” to the west. But, since the Earth is round, there is a place where time zones face one another, where “today” meets “tomorrow”. This place is called “Date Line”, and it passes over the Pacific Ocean.
It’s possible to cross it choosing the flight “Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky-Anchorage” of Yakutia Airlines. Since you do not fly through Europe as usual but “backwards”, then in the US you land in the day you’ve already spent. When you fly back to Kamchatka, you come back to the future.
Recently I have had such a journey in time with Yakutia Airlines.
1. On July 11, at 5am I flew from Novosibirsk to Yakutsk on Yakutia Airlines aircraft. So, the longest day of my life began. After 5 hours I had a transfer to a flight to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and from there to Alaska.
2. Flights to Anchorage are performed every week on Mondays, but only until 29 August. This reference to summer is related to weather – July and August in Kamchatka and Alaska are ideal for tourists.
3. The head office of Yakutia Airlines is located in Yakutsk. It operates scheduled flights to all parts of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), to many cities of the Russian Federation and also has international scheduled and charter flights.
4. Smooth take off from Yakutsk.
5. Yakutia Airlines fleet consists of 15 aircrafts. Four comfortable Boeings 737-800 fly to Anchorage. It is the only air route connecting the Russian Far East with the former Russian territory, present US state Alaska.
6. The cockpit.
Low clouds are typical of Kamchatka, but during the swing when landing the volcano is seen.
7. Actually there are two active volcanoes near Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky – Koryaksky and Avachinsky.
8. The plane lands in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the shores of Avacha Bay of the Pacific Ocean. It is the easternmost town of northern hemisphere with a population of more than 100 thousand people.
9. In Kamchatka, the crew changes.
10. While the plane refuels, I checked-in for an international flight to Anchorage.
11. Flight to Alaska was late in the evening, so everybody on board fell asleep. Except for me. I was waiting for the moment of crossing the time zones border.
12. Here it is!
Telephone’s by the porthole. On the 172th longitude we cross the date line.
13. It would seem, the 11th of July had to end, and I would see the dawn of a new day – the 12th of July, but no way! It is the dawn of the day I’ve already spent – the 11th of July.
14. This is a real Groundhog Day, all over again.
However, the nature will take its course and I have to return this day to the universe, but it will happen later.
15. Pilots are guided only by Greenwich (average solar time of the meridian passing through the former location of the Royal Greenwich Observatory near London), so they simply do not notice such time “jumps”.
16. 5am of my second July 11.
Landing in Alaska at Anchorage International Airport. On the same day and at the same time I landed in Yakutsk.
17. Alaska has its own time zone – Alaska Standard Time (AST).
Anchorage Time is 1 hour behind the time on the West Coast, 4 hours behind the East, 12 hours behind Moscow and 17 hours behind Yakutsk.
18. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is Alaska’s main airport and the 5th airport in the world in terms of volume of cargo transportation.
19. About 870 passengers take this flight a year, and one board is designated for 170 people. Though the route is not very popular, it is in stable demand among Russian and American tourists, hunters, businessmen and transit passengers.
20. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska.
42% of the state’s population live in Anchorage. Only New York has a higher percentage of residents living in the largest city of the state.
21. Unlike any other city in Alaska Anchorage has never been fishing or mining center.
22. The foundation of Anchorage was caused by circumstances. The place where the modern Anchorage is located was chosen to found a railway center. In 9 years this center built Alaska Railroad. On November 20, 1920 Anchorage was founded there.
23. Alaska is not only the largest US state in terms of area, but also the richest in tourism. 23 national parks and reserves are located there. This is more than in any other state of the country.
24. You can reach Alaska not only by plane, but also by cruise ship.
25. In Alaska people like to travel on excursion trains. In such rolling stocks there are special wagons with an upper observation floor.
26. Small aircrafts are sometimes metaphorically called “the lifeblood of Alaska.” They deliver emergency goods, transport people, and look for missing people in remote areas. That’s because it is unprofitable to build roads in highlands with lakes and dense forests.
27. In Alaska, it’s easy to take out a pilot’s license, and the purchase of an aircraft is not new and surprising. For example, thanks to the small aircrafts, it is possible to visit the highest peak of North America – Denali mountain.
28. It is the highest mountain in Alaska and North America. When I studied at school, it was called Mount McKinley, in honor of one of the American presidents. On August 28, 2015 the mountain was renamed Denali.
29. Denali is the historical name of the mountain which can be translated from the Athabasca Native language as “high”.
30. The plane lands on a glacier at the altitude of 2000 meters above sea level.
32. Kenai Fjords National Park is located 100 km from Anchorage. Unique glaciers, avalanches, bays, gorges and icebergs can be seen there. The total area is 2833 square kilometers.
33. Kenai Fjords National Park has existed since 1980 and was created to protect the Arctic territories from negative human influence.
34. The inhabitants of the park are: polar bears, seals, walruses, whales, and the coastal zone is rich in exotic marine flora.
35. There are three major natural attractions in the park – Vanishing Glacier, Harding Icefield and the coast.
36. There you can see how the huge ice blocks break away from the icebergs and fall into the sea.
37. Falling ice opens deep valleys carved by glaciers. They fill with water forming large fjords of unique beauty with relatively steep slopes.
39. Every year, Kenai Fjords National Park is visited by over 200 000 tourists who prefer glacial cruises in the wild nature.
40. Alyeska Ski Resort is situated 45 miles from Anchorage.
41. The Yukon River.
It often appeared in Jack London’s stories about the Klondike Gold Rush.
42. The city of Nome was founded in 1888 as a settlement of gold miners.
This is a filmmakers’ “beloved” city. The action of “The Fourth Kind” with Milla Jovovich took place there. The film describes the cases of abduction by aliens. A diphtheria epidemic of 1925 in Nome became the basis for the plot of a full-length animated film “Balto”.
43. Certainly, I did not miss the opportunity to make another dream come true. I visited the Bering Strait, which connects the Arctic and Pacific oceans.
44. Russia is located only 85 km from here. It is approximately equal to the distance from Sheremetyevo to Domodedovo.
45. In the foreground it is possible to see Cape Prince of Wales, the westernmost point of the continental United States, in the background – Cape Dezhnev, the easternmost point of Russia. Between them there are two islands. The small one is Little Diomede (USA), the big one is Ratmanov Island (Russia).
The distance between these islands is only 4 km, but they are in different days.
46. The city of Wales is also situated there. It is located in the most western point of the American continent at the end of the Seward Peninsula 1001 km from Anchorage. According to the 2010 data, the city had a population of 145 people.
47. The skeleton of a whale in the courtyard of a house.
48. The place is absolutely atmospheric!
49. In addition to the westernmost point, I visited the northernmost city in North America – Barrow.
This small town is located in permafrost zone. The temperature in July is -2⁰C with 30 m/s wind. What a “resort”!
50. Cape Barrow itself is located 14 km from the town of the same name. It’s quite boring and cold to walk in such weather, so I called a taxi. Imagine my surprise when the taxi arrived and I saw the real Thai at the wheel! He has lived most of his life in a country where the temperature rarely falls below 20⁰C and moved to the northernmost US city. Why did he do it, I did not manage to find out.
51. This is latitude of 71⁰. View on the Arctic Ocean. The place where Chukchi Sea and Beaufort merge.
52. Way home. Check-in at Yakutia Airlines desk.
53. The shortest day of my life – 18 July is starting. It’s time to repay the universe 🙂
So, I flew from Anchorage at 7:30 am on July 18 and arrived in Yakutsk at 8:15 am, but on July 19th. I had to return July 18.
54. Flight R3-510. Course 15. Takeoff.
55. A ticket from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Anchorage and back costs $850, from Anchorage to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and back – $1080.
56. On the flight back to Russia my fellow passengers were mostly American fishermen. For them, fishing in wild places of Kamchatka is exotic.
57. Service on board is at the European level.
58. Food is unusual for Russian passengers.
59. On the way back we went past the main volcanoes of Kamchatka.
60. Passengers are delighted with the picturesque view and gaze through the porthole.
61. We went back to Yakutsk – journey in time was finished.
62. Fly as often as you can – it gives an unforgettable experience!
Many thanks to the tourist center Visit Anchorage, and especially to Jara Haas for their help in the creation of reportage!!