Red Corner: The Wonders of Lake Baikal in Wintertime

It’s wintertime which means most people aren’t even remotely thinking about visiting one of my favorite places; Lake Baikal in Siberia.

While researching a trip I took a year ago, however, I learned that at least one tour company does not shut during the harsh Siberian winter. Baikal Explorer stays open and active, catering to the small band of die-hard, and perhaps sick-in-the-head travelers who are willing to brave the cold for fabulous Siberian adventure. No, this is not a plug for some travel agency that gave me a free trip (they didn’t), but rather a hats off to a company that embraces the traveler’s creed with passion and commitment despite a dearth of Siberian-bound, winter travelers.

Baikal Explorer offers dog sledding and snowmobiling, which isn’t too out-of-the-ordinary. But they also organize trips to Olkhon Island-not via traditional boat, but rather with Russian military jeeps that drive across the clear, frozen waters of the lake.

Most surprisingly, Baikal Explorer will take you winter scuba diving. After hacking a hole in the ice, they drop you down into the world’s cleanest lake for some amazing sights and mind-numbing water clarity. They promise air temperatures of -30 Celsius and water temperatures of 3.5 Celsius. It will also be the first time you won’t need a boat to reach such deep waters; you merely drive up and dig a hole.

Take a moment to check out the fantastic photos on the website. I’ve been only in the summer and it’s a truly beautiful place; the wintertime seems to offer equally as much beauty and adventure, but in a slightly more frozen form. Brrrrrr!!!!!!!!