It Takes Two
Somewhere between Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, just off the coast of a tiny volcanic island called Raikoke, a small vessel bobbed in the chop of the Sea of Okhotsk. An assorted group of photographers, scientists, and filmmakers lined the boat’s railing and stared in disbelief as the landscape came into focus. The island, usually lush and green, smoldered in an ashy gray state of complete desolation. The air was heavy with sulfuric smoke tendrils, and flocks of birds circled in infinite loops overhead with nowhere to land. The sea-lapped shores, once home to a thriving sea lion rookery, had been reduced to smoking rubble.