Listvyanka is 70 km by car away from Irkutsk, which makes its dive sites quite easily accessible (it goes without saying that in winter time we have more variety when travelling over the Baikal ice). The settlement on the Baikal shore has many hotels and restaurants in the proximity of dive sites. The place is very similar to Dakhab - it is an ideal location for divers.
Unfortunately, we are currently facing the problem of human influence on nature: there are two major drawbacks in Listvyaknaka dive sites - too much litter and green weeds underwater, which is absolutely not typical of the rest of the Baikal.
The first problem is being handled by local divers on regular basis - we carry out projects on collecting the litter, the second one is out of our control, as it reflects general ecological situation in Listvyanka.
1. ROGATKA CAPE
In the early history of the settlement there used to be a customs point with China here. It was lined with v-shaped sticks - «rogatka». That’s where the name of the cape and the dive site comes from.
Dives are made from the shore, usually in winter time, when ice-diving is impossible or undesirable. This is an open water territory all year round. The place is interesting, because during the dive we can watch ducks feeding on the underwater weeds. In the distance from the shore there are areas covered in massive sponges. The wide stripe of the offshore shallow waters is the territory where one can see several different sized pipes directed to the Baikal depth - to pump its water for the needs of the Baikal Museum Aquarium as well as a water bottling plant.
2. SENNUSHKA (SENNUSHKA VALLEY)
A dive boat is anchored in the offshore area, in the southern part of the dive site, to the left from the Baikal Museum, however, shore diving is more common here.
The northern part of the dive site is a stone inclination, some stones are as big as a mini-van or a small truck. There is also an underwater tunnel, which starts in the drop off wall at the depth of 13 meters and finishes with an exit in the shallow waters of the offshore area at the depth of 3 meters.
The southern part of this dive site is one of the cleanest in Listvyanka. There are no green weeds here. This is the territory where sponges reign, occupying the benchy relief of an almost vertical drop off, which turns into an inclination at the depth of 40-45 meters. Bullheads are also to be seen.
3. U OZERA (AT THE LAKE)
The dive site is called after the hotel located in Listvyanka shoreline right opposite it. The second popular name for this dive site is «a concrete staircase». This is the only place in Listvyanka where the drop off is very close to the shore - 80-100 meter dives are to be made. We dived here to the depth of 110 meters, but to reach it requires a lot of surface swimming (to get farther from the shore).
The hotel pier is in the middle of the site. Right opposite the pier is a small canyon, running to the depth of 55-65 meters, where it finishes. To the north is a sand-and-stone inclination with a small drop off of 6-20 meters. At the depths of 20 and 24 meters one can see lost century-old anchors. To the south (in the direction of the Angara) is a sand-and-stone inclination with a car wreck at the depth of 22 meters. At the depth of 40-45 meters the inclination turns into a benchy stone drop off.
Vasiliy Yaroshenko, one of dive club BaikalTek divers, made a bar of elite drinks here. The desirable destination is at depth. However, if somebody manages to find the hiding place, s/he has all rights to make use of the collection, naturally, on the condition of supplying it with the equivalents of consumed drinks.
4. A METALLIC LADDER (THE FIRST DESTROYED PIER)
The dive site is also known as «A Ground» or «The first ruined pier» (because there is the second ruined pier next to dive site Krestovka). A very steep horse-shoe-shaped inclination, almost a drop off. At the depth of 60-70 meters the steep benchy inclination acquires a lower angle. At the depth of 45 meters there is a grotto with a ship anchor stuck in it. In the northern part of the dive site is a canyon. In the canyon one can see poles - parts of the former pier. There is also some wood from the pier in shallow waters in the offshore area. It is recommended to start diving from this canyon and move along the drop off. When getting out of the canyon we can see a single rock at the depth of 25 meters. In the southern part of the dive site at the depth of 18 meters is a big grotto with a vertically standing huge stone - «finger» - on top of it. Further south the drop off is sandy, but if we get deeper than 30-35 meters, there is a stone drop off again.
Our dive club members twice made a deep water ground (it was made of ropes, running from the shore to the depth, an anchor and a bouy) for dives deeper than 100 meters, but each time it was ruined by poachers, when they were pulling out their drifting nets.
There used to be a lot of sponges here, but the lake floor (like in any other Listvyanka dive site) is currently covered in beautiful emerald-green weeds, which are not useful for the Baikal. Bullheads, the Baikal shrimps (acanto gammaridae). We used to run across big pike-perches, who lived in the remnants of the ruined pier.
5. THREE BEARS
The dive site is called so because there used to be a driveway down from the main road along the shore to the road on the Baikal ice to Port Baikal. This road used to be cleaned and marked with the help of special signs, it used to be an official ice road to the opposite shore of the lake. These days the authorities do not bother anymore. The drive way is blocked, but the name survived. This site also used to be called Three Bears, but there are no more bears in the hotel opposite the dive site, so this name is not in use anymore.
In the center of the site is a small canyon, starting right from the shore. The northern part of the canyon is a stone drop off, the southern side is a sand-and-clay inclination. The northern drop off produces a very dull impression in the beginning, but it gradually becomes more beautiful and steep, the 15-20th minutes of the dive take one to a picturesque canyon, but, unfortunately, this is often the time to start our way back. However, those who are more experienced and have more air left in the tanks can indulge into the opportunity to enjoy a magnificent drop off with massive sponge colonies and very few nasty green weeds.
The central part of the dive site, which starts from the southern part of the canyon, is a sand-and-clay inclination, starting right from the shore and is of interest for those who want to have a simple dive. However, even this dive can be truly fun, especially with lots of local fauna representatives, namely, the Baikal shrimps.
The extreme south of the dive site, next to the first ruined pier is the most comfortable place for diving. The enbankment is very low here, so one can get into the water right from the edge of it. Moreover, it is very convenient to put on the tanks when sitting on the enbankment, there is also a small pier here, which can be used to practise a giant leap into the water. A very nice place for check-dives or the first open water dives. This place underwater is a pebble inclination that gradually turns into a small drop off. This place (the southern part of the dive site) we also call «home site».
6. KRESTOVKA (CANNON)
Shore diving as well as diving from a boat. When on Lake Baikal safari we usually dive in Listvyanka if the winds are too strong to allow us see the Circum-Baikal or Bol’shiye Koty dive sites. All safari boats usually arrange diving in Krestovka, when they get to Listvyanka, because there is no other place in the Baikal that can be compared to it. Not because it is the best in the world. The best place is up to each diver’s personal liking. This place is special thanks to a huge number of natural and man-made views.
A boat in anchored in the offshore area to the north of Pad’ Krestovka (Valley Krestovka), shallow waters are 4-6 meters deep.
There is a ruined pier in the offshore area, it used to belong to a local gold mines owner. The pier is right on the egde of a big canyon - almost an amphitheater. The pier length is almost 200 meters. Inside the big canyon, in its northern part there are two smaller canyons, in one of which we can see the remnants of the wooden constructions of the pier. There are big pike-perches living here. In the second canyon we made a wooden construction which serves as a practice tool when mastering Search and Recovery Specialty Course. At the depths of 14 and 27 meters there are grottos. At the depth of 45 meters there is a plate in memory of a diver who died here, a similar plate is mounted on a stone enbankment on the shore. At the depth of 65 meters the canyon turns into a stone-and-sand inclination. In the shallow waters of the offshore area there are many interesting metallic and wooden things of unindentified utility. There are ship parts. On the edge of the offshore area there are two anchores, left here by our diver students after Search and Recovery Specialty Course. Between the shoreline and the ruined pier at the depth of 3 meters there used to be an old cannon, which most probably used to be located on the pier and served as a signal tool to inform about the arrival of the transport with gold from Bol’shiye Koty. Unfortunately, the cannon is not there anymore - it was stolen.
7. CHAPAEVKA (NATIONAL PARK)
Shore diving as well as diving from a boat. A dive boat is anchored opposite National Park office in the offshore area, which is quite shallow (3 meters deep). By the by, the site has one more, equally popular name - Natspark (contracted from the Russian for National Park).
The drop off is almost vertical with several platform-like benches - this is the central part of the site. At the depth of 55-80 meters the drop off turns into a stone inclination. At the depth of 65 meters where a big stone is, thre is a large ship anchor. In the northern part of the dive site on the borderline between the drop off and a stone benchy inclination at the depth of 30 meters is a big grotto, and at the depth of 7 meters is a small canyon next to which is one more anchor, it might be, though, that it is the one that used to be at the depth of 65 meters. Under the grotto the drop off stops at the depth of 55 meters. Right next to the drop off, under the grotto in a rock formation - we call suchlike «fingers». Further to the north the drop off turns into a stone inclination, after which - a sand canyon, which is considered by local divers to be a separate dive site and is called «The Sandy River».
The southern part of the dive site is the deepest. At the depth of 30-35 meters begins a vertical wall which runs to the depth of 80 meters. Training shore dives to the depths of 90-100 and even 110 meters can be done here. In the southern part of the dive site after a small amphitheater the drop off turns into a steep inclination. Sponges, bullheads. During night dives - schools of graylings