Beautiful, foggy Baikal

Lake Baikal has the world's largest freshwater lake and a fifth of all the freshwater in the world. It is the deepest freshwater lake and the one with the clearest water. It has nearly 2000 species of lake flora and fauna which can only be found there and nowhere else. There are even seals living by the lake. In winter, the ice is anywhere from one to ten meters thick and it's possible to skate on it.

I know all this because we visited the Limnological Museum, which is actually a research institute that happens to have a museum on the ground floor. It's actually undergoing renovation at the moment and when complete it will include an aquarium including a large one for seals.

You can try to see all this for yourself if you go diving in the lake, but with water temperatures of 3 degrees Celcius, it would take someone very persuasive to get me to don an insulated wetsuit at this time of the year.

Mama was actually disappointed by the lack of ice on the lake. I had purposely chosen May to travel in to avoid the winter cold and the summer insects, but she was disappointed that she couldn't skate on a meter of ice. Remind me to take her to Sunway Pyramid when we get home.

It was very foggy most of the days that we were there, so we didn't quite get the magnificent views that I had hoped for. In fact, since the train passed by the lake at three in morning, my first impression of it was "quite dark", and I opted for sleep instead of peering out into the darkness try to differentiate between Siberian grassland and Siberian lakewater.

We did take a ferry across to Port Baikal, but because of the inclement weather, we skipped the picnic by the beach, although there really isn't that much to see out there if you're not going to enjoy the view.

All in all, a relaxing couple of days, but I wished now that I had taken the hiking option - but what would have Mama done in the meantime? I think two days of the outdoor loo was enough for her.


posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - permalink
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