Day 4 – Dive Sessions on Oltrek Island

by   Profile MARES / SSI / rEvo Dive Expedition Team   When 17th February 2017
Mares XR Team at lake Baikal 2017
Mares XR Team at lake Baikal 2017
Mares XR Team at lake Baikal 2017
Mares XR Team at lake Baikal 2017
Mares XR Team at lake Baikal 2017
Mares XR Team at lake Baikal 2017
Mares XR Team at lake Baikal 2017
Mares XR Team at lake Baikal 2017
Mares XR Team at lake Baikal 2017

Finally we got under the ice today!

The morning got off to a challenging start since the temperature dropped below -28°C. Everything started slowly since we are not used to temperatures that low, however everybody had prepared their equipment the day before meaning we just needed to load lots of tanks, weights and bags onto the various cars.

While we drove down from our small village to the lake, the driver stopped just after getting on the ice to hook the famous Russian "Banya" trailer to the UAZ van. It's like hooking your house onto a car and pulling it to your most favorite dive-site in order to make it more convenient. Indeed we all liked getting into the heated trailers in order to change clothes and get into the dive equipment.

Before putting on the dive gear we needed to cut openings into the  ice layer which was about 1.50 m thick. We all thought this might be a 30-minute job but it actually took us over an hour to get the holes as the should have been.

While cutting them we learnt our lesson - that the ice is constantly moving - and we had some scary moments when the ice cracked somewhere on the lake and created a sound on the surface like a thunderstorm. Later under the ice the sound got even more weird and made us realize just how strong and massive nature can be...

As already stated, it was our first day under the ice, and while we were getting used to the cold air we enjoyed how "warm" the 2°C water can be.

All the team's experts have hundreds to thousands of dives under their belt but it was like we expected: Everything was new and thrilling, but also everything was different!

While experience in diving helps a lot, we also learned that extreme conditions are challenging for both the divers and the equipment!

We were all very happy to learn that only the human factor had been the weak point of our expedition while the MARES equipment worked perfectly!

Despite our personal shortcomings, we did work incredibly well as a team and helped each other to compensate our weaker moments in this fascinating but incredibly beautiful world!

Learn more about our new challenges tomorrow!

Written by
Profile MARES / SSI / rEvo Dive Expedition Team
When 17th February 2017
Location Oltrek Resort, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia

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Stefan Michl on Feb 24th 2017
Hi Bob, Vodka had been on yhe list everyday but of course just after diving. I do not like this kind of alcohol much but it became our favourite drink for those days. Looks like the Russians do it like every nation with its good resources. They keep it for themselves and export the not so good stuff...😂 And hey, Canada could be on the list one day.....
Robert Bourgeau on Feb 17th 2017
Aldough the clariry of the element is obvious, serious ice diving in uncharted waters should be tethered... hope your team cross some of the landlock seals and other exotic creature of the region!!! Must be hard to refuse a shot of vodka in a situation like this . Up here in Canada -2 is quite normal ... Bob padi 313576

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