The South-West of Sakhalin Island

Do you ever lie awake at night wondering what the south-western coast of Sakhalin Island looks like?  Of course you do!  You’d not be normal if you didn’t.

Fortunately for you, your selfless blogger took a trip to this very place just after he was issued with his Landcruiser in early October, and he took his camera with him.  Delay in posting these pictures can be attributed largely to idleness on my part.  Click on a picture for a larger version.

Map of Sakhalin Island

The road from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to the port of Kholmsk on the west coast takes you through wooded mountains which were in full autumn colour. 

Road to Kholmsk, Sakhalin Island

Road to Kholmsk, Sakhalin Island

After an hour or so, I arrived at the small port of Kholmsk on the Tatar Straits.

Kholmsk, Sakhalin Island

Kholmsk, Sakhalin Island

Kholmsk, Sakhalin Island

Some people spend years seeking the truth.  Yet more demand the truth.  I found it along the coast road just south of Kholmsk.

Pravda, Sakhalin Island 

The road along the coast follows the railway line for a bit, and offers drivers plenty of opportunities to tear out their transmission over the many level crossings.

Coast road, Sakhalin Island 

Old fishing ships abandoned with the collapse of the USSR are scattered along the whole of the coastline.

Abandoned ship, Sakhalin Island 

A little further south lies the town of Nevel’sk.  It is an old fishing collective which has fallen into disrepair since the end of the Soviet Union.  It is the most run-down and decrepit place I’ve ever visited in Russia.

Nevel'sk, Sakhalin Island 

Nevel'sk, Sakhalin Island 

Nevel'sk, Sakhalin Island 

The dream…

Nevel'sk, Sakhalin Island 

…the reality.

South-West Coast, Sakhalin Island 

Coast road, Sakhalin Island 

This was almost as far as the road would take you, before you came to a barrier which was closed blocking any further progress.  I saw one chap in a beefy Landcruiser get through, but I didn’t think I’d understand any explanation or warning that the chap in the little guard house would give me so I turned back.  I think the road deteriorates further, and in winter is almost impassable except in a huge Kamaz truck.  I was a bit disappointed, as I wanted to get to the very southern tip and look across to Japan.  People say this is not possible, but I’m not so sure.  Looking out to see due west from the position of the barrier, near the village of Luzhki, lets you see the tiny island of Moneron, which is further away from the island than Japan is.

Unable to go further south, I headed back to Nevel’sk and cut inland in the direction of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.  The road, impassable in winter, was little more than a gravel track in places and wound its way through the mountains filled with autumn colours which made me feel like I was driving through Appalachia rather than Sakhalin Island, as the following pictures show.

Sakhalin Island 

Sakhalin Island 

Sakhalin Island 

Sakhalin Island 

Sakhalin Island 

Share

8 thoughts on “The South-West of Sakhalin Island

  1. Yes, you would expect there must be some way to make your way down to Dal’nyaya. Perhaps the east coast of the penisula?

    I’m sure you’ve already looked at the map and came to the same conclusion. Looking at Google Earth, the east coast looks very rugged and there aren’t any obvious signs of a road there (which could be due to the scale). There is some sort of circular man-made feature – with a road extending north – near the southern tip of the penisula, however.

    Google Earth shows the distance to Japan’s Hokkaido island as just shy of 26 miles. This is a good 4 miles shorter than the distance to Moneron Island (again, according to Google Earth).

    While on the topic, the Google Earth images of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk are in winter-time and it looks frosty as hell.

  2. While on the topic, the Google Earth images of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk are in winter-time and it looks frosty as hell.

    Until you go south to about where my apartment block is, and then it becomes all fine and summery. 🙂

  3. Pingback: White Sun of the Desert » An Earthquake Hits Sakhalin Island

  4. Tim,
    needless to say Welshman
    living in US
    Conducting research on Ainu (ethnobotany)
    I have a couple of references (Ohnuki-Tierney and Pilsudski) to Ainu settlements in Sakhalin.
    Do you know of any others, at the museum for example?
    Would appreciate your help
    Info on the Ainu in Sakhalin is hard to come by
    Cheers

  5. Are you still in Sakhalin? I would like information about the orhanage at Pravda near Kholmsk. My daughter was there before we adopted her.

  6. Zdrastwujte
    Ja rabotal kak stroitel 12 let nazd w gorode Kholmsk.My stroili gostinicu dla SASCO.Mne ochen ponrawilos.Kak hocu wernut w Kholmsk i pomnut perekrasny gorod i prirodu i wsio schto ja widel.

  7. Hi stranger,

    I was born over there,in Nevel’sk. Travelling through all USSR as a child of the Army officer. Studying in Leningrad (St. Petersburg now) making a stop for 22 years in Poland and landing in Jersey for the last four years.
    always wanted to see the place I was born. Thank you for these pictures and thoughtful comments, thank you that you put it on your website even if it is sad to see the dream end. As probably every dream end…
    Happy New Year 2011 if you still having a look on your site!

    Stranger everywhere I am.

  8. Thank you very much for the interesting article. I was born in Kholmsk, and at the age of 15 taken to Europe. Very often coming back to the island in my dreams. May be one day I will be able to come back. Thank you once more.

Comments are closed.