This morning we woke up with a smile in our faces since we knew it would be a fantastic day, but also with some sadness and melancholy because
we knew it would be our last day diving under the ice. Our Baikal adventure would soon be over.
Following the usual routine we packed up our stuff even faster than usual since we could not wait to get on to the ice. Everybody was very excited. Being a bit earlier than usual we made a quick stop at the local harbour. It is a strange scene of ships tied up in the packed ice, including boats and ships which have seen better days and probably made their last cruise years ago. It's really hard to judge which one’s will get released in to the sea again in spring time.
We headed through the bay of the “small sea” towards a little island called 'Izhilhei' or 'Lena' for short. Sergey and Konstantin, our favourite drivers, soon found an ideal dive spot with crystal clear ice for us.
The hole was opened in record time as we wanted to use the sunlight for some underwater pictures and videos. As the dive location was quite shallow, we also found some sponges at around 10m deep. For the first time we saw the bottom of the Baikal Sea which can be up to 1,642m deep in places.
For testing we used some recreational material and the proven XR set-up. Since it was our last day we also had some fun while diving and enjoyed doing things differently compared to the fixed routines of our dives the days before. It was more challenging for our film and picture crew who had to follow our 'different dive style'…
After the dive, and since it was our last day on the ice, we enjoyed a 'Banja', the Russian sauna, directly on the ice. If our guides had told us before that we would need to jump in to our dive hole to cool down afterwards, we probably would not have done it. But hey – once you are in, just hang in, right?
Also other strange things happened today since we were close to the mainland. Dog slays with tourists passed by, as did people trekking on the ice and even some bicycle riders stopped at our containers to see what we were doing on the ice.
Now we are just sitting in our small group together, thinking about the observations we made during the week. It’s amazing how fast the time passed us by and we are very thankful for all that we were allowed to experience at Lake Baikal. This would not have been possible without the help of the Baikal Tec Team and its owners Gennady, Tatjana and their team members Alexey and Dimitri.
Tomorrow we will drive back to Irkutsk and we plan on doing some stops on the way to enjoy the beautiful landscape of Siberia. For the first time after 6 days on the ice we will be back on the mainland! I am sure we will miss it here soon...