Diving safaris and more
In 2017 we opened diving safari season on May 10, launching our Chasing the Baikal Ice safari. This year the ice was there for a long time in the Baikal, so we ran across the first big chunks of floating ice in the area of Olkohn and to the north from the island we encountered a massive ice field. Warm weather, ice, nerpa (the Baikal seal) were the core components of the safari.
By the time of our second safari the ice travelled further north and we were unable to reach it within the programme framework. The Ushkan islands and nerpas, wonderful visibility in Bolshiye Koty, hiking tours during which we watched eagles, East Siberian deer (Cervus elaphus xanthopygus) and bears – these were the main aspects of the second safari.
The first safari in June was for tech divers. We travelled by "Myth" safari boat. Tech divers from "Cousteau Club" (Moscow) chose the route to the Ushkan islands. The visibility was great basically everywhere, which allowed us to make deep dives in the fantastic beauty of the underwater Baikal. The chief themes of this safari - underwater beauty, great visibility and the Ushkan islands with nerpas.
It is high time to sum up the experiences gained during diving safaris on "Myth", as this boat has finished its season. This season "Myth" hosted small private groups of divers. The safaris were quite long - 8 days, as well as short - 3-4 days. During the long safari programme we visited Brown Bears Shore, where we made dives in such dive sites as "Tan’echka’s Labyrinth", "Rainbow" and other. An amazing new dive site was found. We gave it the name of Heart of Sand.
Two of the "Myth" safaris were for tech divers. Tech dives are particularly convenient to perform in a small group of like-minded people. The like-minded people wanted to dive deep in the interesting dive sites and go on hiking tours of the beautiful neighbourhood of Circum Baikal Railway and Bolshhiye Koty area. That’s why the safari focused on the dive areas, where there were many opportunities for the art of deep diving and there was a wonderful track to follow on the shore. During these safaris Tatiana Geryatovich, one of the BaikalTek members, within the framework of a master-class by Tatiana Oparina ТЕК100 made dives to 90 and 100 metres, Yevnegiy Masternak during a master class ТЕК120, on the same tech safari on "Myth" made dives to 60-65 metres.
Apart from the private safaris on "Myth" there surely were safaris for big groups of divers. We welcomed divers from Russia, Poland and China. For the first time in our career we hosted a Chinese group on a diving safari and it was new experience for us, which will hopefully have its continuation, because the Chinese divers liked lake Baikal diving safari. The Poles are traditional guests at our lake Baikal safaris, as they come in different groups almost every year.
A unique diving safari Golden Autumn was performed both on "Myth" and "Valeriya". Golden Autumn safari on Valeriya was 2 weeks long, so it turned into a combined safari - Around The Baikal and Golden Autumn safari.
Shore daily diving in BaikalTek is also very prolific. Dive master and Instructor courses are taught, daily dives for tourist divers are made, some of them take a Dry Suit diver course, as they consider that lake Baikal is a great place to get such an important certificate (we support this viewpoint).
In the beginning of September we went on a river part of the tours. A small special group of Tatiana Oparina, Olga Kamenskaya, Dmitriy Melamed with the support of "Zapovednoye Pribaikalye" nature reserve explored the upper reaches of the great Lena River with the aim of taking photos and filming underwater flora and fauna. The upper reaches of the Lena River are a part of a natural reserve, so we expected the expedition to bring amazing underwater discoveries. It proved to be true. A great number of fishes were literally jumping into our cameras, as they were unfamiliar to the threat of nets, fishing rods and human beings. Now "Zapovednoye Pribaikalye" has artistic photos and videos of underwater flora and fauna of the protected river.
An unusual divesite - Methane Volcano - was explored. 4 km away from the mouth of the Selenga River, at the depth of 40 metres in the dull clay bottom (what else can be expected from a place next to the mouth of a big muddy river?) there is a huge methane volcano and a small volcanic crater.
It’s been quite a while since we last published our news. This surely does not mean that there wasn’t anу. A lot of things have happened, so many, that we did not even have the time to sort them all out in order to make a nice quality presentation about our safaris, programmes, course and so on.
Gennady Misan set a personal record having reached the depth of 160 metres (his previous record depth was 155 metres). Tatiana Oparina also beat her previous record of 156 metres, which was, moreover, Lake Baikal record deep dive and, possibly, world record of diving deep in very cold water. Thus, her new dive to 170 metres, which Tatiana made, is a new Lake Baikal record and, possibly, a new world record of diving deep in very cold water.