A dive boat is anchored in a short small offshore area opposite the stone on the grassy side of the shore to the south from Cape Ukhan. The stone looks like a turtle , so some call this place «A turtle». A horse-shoe-shaped drop off. Picturesque stone-and-sand benches. Huge colonies of sponges.
In fact, this dive site is quite vast: it runs from the offshore area where we usually anchor our boat and stretches to Cape Ukhan. That’s why it might take several dives to explore the site to the full. The majority of the dives are done from a drifting boat, because there is no way to anchor the boat. A very beautiful, long and deep (45-75 meters in different places) drop off of various types on benches. Massive colonies of sponges. Bullheads, graylings. This is the place where methane (marsh gas) gets out from the lake floor. Due to the gas bubbles the ice is very thin here in winter, so we can see remnants of two cars that sank here. The cars themselves are not there anymore - they were either pulled out by the locals or slid deeper down the drop off.
A good place for deep diving.
Boat anchors on southern or northern sides of Ukhan Cape. On the southern side it is difficult but possible in calm conditions. On the northern side is a wide shelf with depths of 3-5m and anchorage is quite easy here. On the northern side there are stone terraces with send. There are a lot of sponges. On the southern side the drop-off is nearly vertical. Here there are outlets of methane. It is possible to see bubbles in a calm weather as well as underwater. On the depth of 50m there is a sunken truck. It was probably driving on the ice and sank in a hole made with methane bubbles.
3. UKHAN-ZYUN-KUGUN (FINGER)
A place worth several dives. A dive boat is anchored in the offshore area (3-4 meters deep). The shallow waters bottom of the offshore area is nice: lots of sand, weeds and sponges at the edge of the drop off. The drop off is benchy, the benches are covered in sand and sponges, that decorate the scenery to the depth of 60 meters - this is an outstanding fact. To the north from the site at the depth from 40 to 25 meters there is a big stone pole - we call such rocks «fingers». To the north from the finger is a vertical drop off with a platform at the depth of 40-55 meters.
A very picturesque offshore area will make your deco stop interesting.
Deep dives along the «finger» rock.
The offshore area and the drop off are of schistose rocks. A place worth several dives. In the middle of the site there is a huge deep water canyon, to admire it in all its beauty we recommend to choose the view point at the bottom of it at the depth of 95 meters. The canyon begins with a sand bottom amphitheater piled with trees and poles. The canyon walls are covered in cracks. In the southern wall of the canyon there are three grottos - a small one at the depth of 12 meters and 2 big at the depth of 27 meters. The northern part of the canyon is very smooth at the depth lower than 40 meters, but it is quite rough otherwise.
The southern part of the dive site is a horse-shoe-like offshore area and has a couple of comparatively big canyons. The northern part of the site is a huge shallow water offshore area and a benchy schistose rock drop off, covered in sponges. In the northern part this dive side meets another site called Otstoyniy.
A dive boat can be anchored in the offshore area (3-4 meters deep) either on the left or on the right side of the canyon. Sponges, bullheads, graylings.
An ideal place for deep diving.
5. SHIELD BEACH
A popular place for night dives. A dive boat is tied up to the shore.
A stone-and-sand inclination. Sponges cover the stones. To the south from this place is a picturesque deep drop off adjacent to dive site Bourun-Boude.
A dive boat is anchored in the offshore area (3-4 meters deep) opposite a dead pine tree. A stone inclination covered in some sand. Sponges, bullheads
A place worth several dives. The place is also remarkable for its proximity (3 km away, on the opposite side of the lake) to the deepest point of the lake (1,641 meters). When the weather is absolutely calm a ship can be moored to the beach in the southern part of Cape Izhimey (this place can be called the center of the dive site), when the wind is weak, a ship can be anchored in the narrow offshore area in the northern part of the canyon, however, we usually make dives from a drifting ship.
A narrow canyon starts opposite the beach almost right from the shore and becomes very smooth from the depth of 20 meters. Narrow benches run to the depth of 60 meters and then they turn into a vertical drop off. To the left and to the right from the canyon are bench drop offs, covered in sponges. At the depth of 55-65 meters the benches get smooth and the drop off becomes vertical. At the depth of 75 meters there is a sharp angle inclination. The lower part of the canyon looks like a cone, its top is at the depth of 105 meters. To the left and to the right from the cone the walls run into the abyss. We have not explored them to find out their maximum depth.
An ideal place for deep dives.
The northern part of the dive site - steep benches lined with cracks, turning into a vertical drop off, the lower part of it is not identified.
The southern part of the dive site - steep benches covered in sponges, turning into a vertical drop off, the lower point of it is also not explored. The southern part of the dive site is adjacent to the Cousteau dive site.
8. IZHIMEY NORTH
A ship is anchored in the offshore area opposite the valley or it is moored to the shore. A drop off with vertical and horisontal benches. A medium-sized canyon. At the depth of 30-35 meters - of white sand. Sponges, bullheads, Lake Baikal shrimps, graylings.
Dives are possible only from drifting boat. The drop-off is stepped, covered with sponges. The drop-off walls have cracks, there are caverns little canyon.
10. SHUNTE THE RIGHT
A boat is anchored to the north from Cape Shunte opposite the picnic place. A vast offshore area begins from the cape and runs to the north towards bay Uzur. In the southern part of the dive site the relief of the offshore bottom is represented by vertical schistose rocks of different types - granite, marble, basalt - intermingled with each other. The offshore area is rich in sponges, this is one of the spongiest shallow water areas in East Olkhon. Its depth varies from 3 to 10 meters. The drop off is also of shistose rocks and at the depth of 20-25 meters begins a steep sandy inclination with rocks sticking out from the sand. In the northern part of the dive site the offshore area and the steep inclination of schistose rocks turns into a sandy inclination and then into huge stones, after which a benchy drop off begins.
To sum it up, a place to fit different tastes and requirements. Here we can make 2 dives in the framework of a safari programme, during which the group will move northbound and southbound.
10. KHOBOY CAPE
A boat in anchored (10-15 meters deep offshore area) opposite rock D’eva (Maid), Cape Khoboy. Didier Noirot’s (a well-known French underwater photographer, Cousteau’s team former cameraman) favourite dive site. He calls this place «a magic place» and keeps saying that the Baikal seal likes living in the most beautiful places.
(To be noted: Lake Baikal seals indeed choose very beautiful places - Ushkan Islands, L’edianaya, Gannet Rocks, Tri Brata (Three Brothers), Khonoy. Their dens in the ice look really nice from underwater.)
The lake floor is a bit inclined, covered in huge stones. Massive colonies of sponges. Grottos in the rock on the shore.