Kamtschatka is the name of a peninsula situated on the eastern coast of Asia, running nearly N. and S., from 52 deg. to 6l deg. N. latitude; the longitude of its southern extremity being 156 deg. 45’ E. The isthmus, which joins it to the continent on the N., lies between the Gulf of Olutorsk and the Gulf of Penshinsk. Its southern extremity is Cape Lopatka, a word signifying the blade bone of a man, and is so called from its supposed resemblance to it. The shape of the whole peninsula is not unlike that of a shoe, widening from the toe (which we may suppose to be Cape Lopatka) toward the middle, and narrowing again toward the heel, the neck of land above mentioned connecting it with the continent. Its greatest breadth is from the mouth of the river Tigil to that of Kamtschatka, and is computed to be two hundred and thirty-six miles, from whence it narrows very gradually toward each extremity.
It is bounded on the N. by the country of the Koriacks; to the S. and E., by the North Pacific Ocean; and to the W., by the sea of Okotzk. A chain of high mountains stretches the whole length of the country, from N. to S., dividing it nearly into two equal parts, from whence a great number of rivers take their rise, and empty themselves, on each side, into the Pacific Ocean and the sea of Okotzk.
There are three rivers of much greater magnitude than the rest; the Bolchoireka, or great river, so called from bolchoia, which signifies great, and reka, a river; the river Kamtschatka, and the Awatska. The first empties itself into the sea of Okotzk, and is navigable for the Russian galliots upwards of five leagues from its mouth, or within nine miles of Bolcheretsk, a town situated at the conflux of the Goltsoffka and the Bistraia, which here lose themselves in the Bolchoireka. The Bistraia itself is no inconsiderable river. It derives its source from the same mountain with the river Kamtschatka, and, by taking a direct contrary course, affords the Kamtschadales the means of transporting their goods by water in small canoes, almost across the whole peninsula. The river Kamtschatka, after maintaining a course of near three hundred miles from S. to N.. winds round to the eastward; in which direction it empties itself into the ocean, a little to the southward of Kamtschatkoi Noss. Near the mouth of the Kamtschatka to the N.W., lies the great lake called Nerpitsch, from nerpi, a Kamtschadale word, signifying a seal, with which this lake abounds. About twenty miles up the river, reckoning from the mouth of the lake, is a fort called Nishnei Kamtschatka ostrog, where the Russians have built an hospital and barracks; and which, we were informed, is become the principal mart in this country.
The river Awatska rises from the mountains situated between the Bolchoireka and the Bistraia, and running, from N.W. to S.E., a course of one hundred miles, falls into the bay of Awatska. The Tigil is likewise a river of considerable size, rising amidst some very high mountains, which lie under the same parallel with Kamtschatkoi Noss, and running in an even course from S.E. to N.W., falls into the sea at Okotzk. All the other rivers of this peninsula, which are almost infinite in number, are too small to deserve a particular enumeration.