Boating and Bears: PBS’s Expedition with Steve Backshall Tackles Kamchatka’s Kronotsky


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Modern-Day Explorer Ventures Deeper into the Unknown

Season Two of PBS’s popular documentary series, EXPEDITION WITH STEVE BACKSHALL, has returned this summer with six episodes, uncovering even more places around the globe.

In this season’s opener, he and his team completed the first recorded descent down the Kronotsky River, encountering several, yes, brown bears, en route. His kayak team included lead kayaker Sal Montgomery; kayaker Georgie Preston; cameraman kayaker James Bebbington; professional kayaker and paramedic Tom McLay; and local wilderness guide Sergey Lukin. In all, they spent five days kayaking white-knuckle Class IV-V whitewater on Siberia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, all with the region’s highest concentration of brown bears in close proximity. (Don’t believe us? Just take a look at the electric bear fence they had to put up outside their tents each night.

The team working their way down the Kronotsky River.

The Series in a Nutshell

Naturalist Steve Backshall once again ventures deep into the unknown, shining a light on unexplored corners of the Earth. In each episode, Backshall pursues incredible journeys into uncharted landscapes, as only he can do. This second season of EXPEDITION WITH STEVE BACKSHALL, premiered on July 6 at 10:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.

In this global series, Backshall shares an up-close and personal look into heights, depths and the farthest perimeters of the Earth. On a mission to discover fresh insights that could help to secure a future for the world’s wildlife, he and his hand-picked team of experts dive with sharks in Mexico’s Eastern Pacific, search for apes in Africa’s unexplored jungles, paddle into the heart of brown bear territory in the Far East, explore the uncharted volcanic underworld of Saudi Arabia’s ancient deserts and climb the Djangart mountains of Kyrgyzstan in search of endangered snow leopards. Backshall has big ambitions, and on this rapidly changing planet, the stakes have never been higher.

“There are still unmapped, unknown corners of our planet where no human has ever been. A sense of curiosity has always driven scientists and explorers onward, propelling us to uncover new frontiers,” said Backshall. “Knowing that there are unclimbed mountains, unrun rivers and cave systems that have never seen light in millions of years is a powerful thing.”

Blackshall, happy he’s in his boat and not a bear’s belly.

Episode 1: “Kamchatka: Expedition Grizzly River”

Description: Steve and a team of world-class kayakers take on the first descent of an unexplored white-water river into the heart of brown bear country—on a mission to experience a connection with nature and wildlife that has not been impacted by human presence

Want more? Episode 4 (Gabon: Expedition Jungle Paradise) also includes a fair amount of canoeing.

Watch film here: 

A rare section of calm water…
The Russian bird that got them there…


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