The Ushkany dive site is a remote pearl of Lake Baikal. You can only reach the Ushkany islands during a long (minimum 8 days) diving safari. Visiting the site is a part of the Round-Baikal Safari and Golden Autumn Safari. Besides the diving part, the program includes watching the seals on their biggest rookery.

The dive sites: Outer, Meteorological station, Peshorka, Pastbishe (Pasture Ground), Underwater city, Pyramidka, Tonky, Scooter. One of the sites is described below.

Pastbishe (Pasture Ground)

Recommended depths: three to 40 meters for photographing and filming, three to 40 meters for recreational dives, and up to 100 meters for deep and trimix dives.

The dive site owns its name to the shelf that, according to some divers, looks like a pasture ground for seals.

Pastbishe (Grazing). Drop-off. Foto by Gennady Misan

The site features a deep drop-off and a large shelf. The drop-off is rugged and even “sharp” in some places. The sharp parts called “feathers” are characteristic of the Ushkany drop-offs. The common rocks of the Ushkany Islands are limestone and marble. The rocks dissolve in the water and form intricate Gothic-like structures, i.e. “feathers”, grottos, tunnels, underwater sculptures, and mountains. Due to the big amount of limestone, the colors of the Ushkany drop-offs differ depending on the depth. At a depth of two to three meters, the prevailing colors are white and yellow because the rocks are constantly cleaned by the waves and ice. Below three meters, the rocks are green, grown with branchy and bark-like sponges. The green gradually fades as you go deeper and, starting from 20 meters, the drop-off becomes gray and black because of the organic substances on the rock surface. As you go even deeper, the sedimental and growing organic substances disappear, and the drop-off becomes white and yellow again

Podzemny Gorod (Underwater City)

"Перья" на сайте Подводный Город. Фото Геннадий МисанПодводный город

Recommended depths: three to 100 meters for photographing and filming, three to 40 meters for recreational dives, and up to 110 meters for deep and trimix dives.

The site features a rugged lime-and-marble drop-off. Following the diving technology recommended at the briefing, you can even meet a seal.

The central part of the site is a drop-off with elaborate formations looking like buildings, Gothic temples, and pyramids. Underwater City. Along the whole drop-off, you can see small grottos and tunnels. At a depth of 24 meters, there is a large white grotto with a big black stone in its depth! As you go deeper, the drop-off becomes more vertical, and starting from 80 meters, white! A real mystical place…

PyramidkaRecommended depths: three to 65 meters for photographing and filming, three to 40 meters for recreational dives, and up to 90 meters for deep and trimix dives.

Ushkan Islands drop offs have their peculiarities, which make them look different from those in the Olkhon. The drop off relief looks like cooled lava. In fact, these are calc-silicate marble rocks and the water polished them to look so unusual. This is described in detail in the description of the Pastbishe (Pasture Ground) dive site.

The drop off in the dive site is of schistose rocks lined with cracks, passages and grottos. At the depth of 80 meters the relief changes into a steep benchy inclination. In the northern part of the site is «a tower with windows and gates» - small grottos and rifts. We usually start diving on this site from this point. The tower is deep in water, so it can serve as a place for Open Water as well as Trimix divers. Further away from the tower there are picturesque reliefs at different depths with grottos (at 25 meters). 

Pyramidka. Photo by Olga Kamenskaya

Then runs an amphitheater beginning with a stone slope in its northern part which continues with a nice sand inclination. Then begins a benchy schistose drop off. In the southern part of the site on the edge of the offshore area at the depth of 4-10 meters there are huge calc-silicate marble stones, lined with deep cracks.

Great places for deep dives are in the southern and northern parts of the dive site. We made here 90-meter-deep dives.