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Diving in Lake Baikal, Russia

Diving in Lake Baikal, Russia
Diving in Lake Baikal, Russia
Diving in Lake Baikal, Russia
Diving in Lake Baikal, Russia
February 4, 2014

If you're looking for an experience with a difference, you definitely need to try a dive in Lake Baikal during winter. With an average depth of 744 m (2,442 ft), the lake freezes at times, just enough to be crossed on foot. Be careful though, temperatures can drop as low as -19°C (-2°F), and frostbite and hypothermia may occur.

Even in May, the waters of Baikal measure a temperature of around 2°C. Divers often use under-garments and electric heating wear, especially when diving under the ice. The best month for ice is March, when it's 80-120 cm (31 - 47 in) thick and safe to walk on. The hot spots are Listvyanka, port Baikal, Bolshie Koty and Railway.

Baikal is not really the place to be for a very deep dive though. The diving record stands at only 154 m (505 ft) in a 1°C (34°F) water, Gennady Misan being the protagonist. BaikalTek offer dives with depths from 3 m to 30 m (~10 ft to 98 ft) for around 45 minutes, depending on weather conditions. Make sure you bring suitable clothes and enough hot drinks to keep you warm; Russian winter is one of the toughest, and it doesn't forgive the unprepared.