Scuba diving in lake Baikal (Russia) – Part 2

It's difficult to find a scuba dive center yourself near Lake Baikal. I found some references on tour sites, but that's it. Even +PADI wished me good luck with Googling for a dive center. This is the first time I've heard that there is no PADI certified dive center near a dive location. However, after contact with our tour operator, who contacted her local agents for us, the opportunity to go scuba diving in Lake Baikal in Russia became more promising.

The tour operator mentioned it is possible to arrange a dive tour in lake Baikal. Apparently the dive center is only 200 meters from our hotel. I call that being lucky :) The dive center is only opened on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. As we arrive on a Sunday we will have to go to the dive center the same day to arrange a dive tour for the following day. According to the local agent our instructor/ guide to be, will speak English. This is all our tour operator was able to manage. We will have to arrange the rest at the location ourselves.

The tour operator was also able to give an indication of which prices to expect. The average price of a daily tour is around 4.000 to 5.000 Rubels per person. This sums up to around € 105,- per person. Unfortunately my experience is that this amount is someway always higher when checking your bank account afterwards. A daily dive tour includes two dives, the rent of the equipment and an English speaking instructor as a guide. The dives will be made in a dry suit because of the temperatures of lake Baikal.

During summertime the surface water is around 14 °C and will drop when you go deeper. This isn't spectacular cold, I would dive these temperatures in a hooded 7mm wetsuit. However I've noticed that a lot of dive centers around the world rather dive in a dry suit in cold waters then in a wetsuit. Dutch dive centers are quite unique in this regard as they usually rent wetsuits. Only when it's really cold they will offer a dry suit and then you'll need to show you have experience with dry suits before they rent the equipment to you. But I don't mind diving a dry suit, it will offer me a change to practice some more with it as my first time was during a dive on Silfra in Iceland.

Posted in Country Stories, Scuba diving Russia.

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