Sean Koenig, Program Manager: Greetings from Tokyo! This is Sean Koenig, a program manager with Zegrahm Expeditions, and I’m here to scout out our Hokkaido trip, and potentially look for other opportunities here in Japan to bring exciting adventures to our guests. One of the big highlights I’m looking forward to on our May trip to Hokkaido is the circumnavigation of the island, including the Shiretoko Peninsula, here. These areas are incredibly rich with all sorts of sea life, which we are hoping to experience on our tour in this coming May, including a pod of resident killer whales, or orcas. We’ve got dolphins, we’ve got all sorts of possibilities of seeing sea life here, so this is going to be a really special portion of the trip. This is Lake Mashu, one of the highlights of our tour in May, and we’re really hoping you get a day like this because normally this lake is famous for being foggy. In fact there’s a legend, that the island in the middle of the lake is a grandmother who lost her son, and her tears fill up this caldera. The 1972 Winter Olympics featured the Okurayama Ski Jump, which has a nice museum here, you can see behind me, and also the opportunity to ride up to the top and see people still ski jumping today. I’m here at the sulfurous Mount Iwo, which is one of the locations we’re going to visit in May. This place is very famous for its volcanic activity; in fact, they used to use the sulfur from here to make gun powder. Alright, I’m here at the trailhead for Mount Monbetsu-dake, which is the hike we’re planning on doing for birders on the Muroran day. A really nice forest here with a good stream; the trail itself is this kind of gravel road which is wide and will allow the group to travel together easily. I’m here at Porotokotan, which is the Ainu village at the Muroran port of call. I think it’ll be an opportunity to see some of the traditional aspects of Ainu culture, that we can then contrast with what we’ve seen in the museums, and what we’ve seen with living Ainu culture that with the musical performance we’re trying to line up in Abashiri. Mark Brazil was kind enough to spend some time today explaining his experiences; over 25 years?
Mark Brazil, Expedition Leader & Ornithologist: 30 odd years!
Sean: 30 odd years, who can count here in Hokkaido! So that’s the kind of expertise we know you’ll enjoy on this trip, and he’s gone through all the different places we’re going with his insights.
Mark: It’s been great talking through all of Hokkaido with you.
Sean: Yeah, and I think it’s going to be a big success this May!
Mark: A fantastic trip!
Sean: It’s going to be a fantastic trip.