Today marks one year since the last time I quit the “job game” and I still have a bit under half of my savings left. That means if I play it right, I can live on Earth for one more year and do what I want before I have to worry about fleeing to some rich country in search for more money.
I will celebrate this day by sharing my ice diving experience with you :)
The main reason I decided to stay in Siberia for a little while was to see Lake Baikal in all of its magnificent beauty. So what better way to see it than under its own ice? :D
Since I speak Russian, it wasn’t hard to find the best price for an ice dive. The price was 6,000 rubles (about $100) but they gave me a discount (-1000 rub) maybe because I’m a divemaster, or maybe because I’m a “kinda local.”
Discount, shot of vodka, and a ride back to the city with the instructors. Great to be a “local” everywhere you go :).
I arrived 40 minutes late because I am… small Sasha… so I had to wait for 3 Chinese people to do intro dives. I had no idea that that could even be a “thing”… diving for your first time ever, under ice! Not sure how many international dive rules that breaks but the Chinese tourists sure were stoked about it. The intro-divers basically just circled around the ice hole one-on-one with an instructor for 10-15 minutes and then were dragged out and forced to drink vodka.
Love mother Russia.
I set up my equipment and tested the gear. The alternate air source (2nd breathing tube in case your primary one fails) didn’t work properly. I told them and they just said, “you don’t need that one, don’t you know that?” :D Then they said something about the regulators malfunctioning in cold conditions.
I thought, “Geeze, lucky I went through some pretty intense training back on Gili T when I did my divemaster internship, hopefully I can remember everything under ice.”
The water temperature was 0.8°C, air temp was -13°C. Dry suit held up well this time. Last time I dove with these guys in October it leaked and I was freezing, although the water was 4°. This time my dive mask leaked a little because I was smiling too much, but I was too excited to feel the cold water swishing around my head and leaking into my ears. Regretting that a bit right now. Strong advice: don’t smile while ice diving! :D
The ice was about a meter thick, pretty smooth and covered in big bubbles of air from scuba divers. I was surprised how much light seeped through the snow-covered ice. The visibility was pretty clear but the only life we saw was a school of tiny fish and some small yellow shrimp crawling on the ground.
I’ve never taken a dry suite course, but while we were underwater, my instructor showed me how to blow up my suite so that air flows to your feet and you can “stand” upside down on top of the ice.
I got this on video, don’t worry ;).
I will share the videos with you later!