Russia has an extensive coastline along the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Baltic Sea, Sea of Azov, Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Furthermore, the Barents Sea, White Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan are linked to Russia via the Arctic and Pacific oceans. The largest and most prominent of Russia's bodies of fresh water is Lake Baikal, the world's deepest, purest, oldest and most capacious fresh water lake and a must see for divers and travellers from around the world. The huge number of lakes and quarries, and seas, with their cold waters, predetermined that, in this country, divers mainly use dry suits. People in Russia dive frequently and almost everywhere. Here we’ll endeavour to discuss the most interesting and popular places for diving in Russia.
We will start with Sakhalin. On maps, this island looks like a big fish located in the east of the country. Divers come here to dive in the Sea of Japan and Okhotsk sea alongside local diving enthusiasts who primarily engage in so-called ‘culinary diving’. These divers know that, in this area, every dive promises to find delicacies fit for a good meal. Different kinds of crabs, oysters, all manner of arthropods, scallops and other shellfish, all worthy of upscale restaurants and not at all rare to find that in these waters. The beautiful dive sites here, especially in the Okhotsk Sea, are unique. Although it may seem unlikely, considering the water temperatures (often close to one degree celsius), the sea gives off bright colors. We recommend Sakhalin to all divers who keen on seafood. Believe that such their range you won’t find anywhere else.
Moving westward, we come upon a unique place for diving called lake Baikal. Depending on the time of year, Baikal adopts a number of guises. In the summer and especially closer to the year’s close, when the water in the lake is on the warmer side, we recommend participating in "Around Baikal’s World", where you can take a dive boat on a real cold-water safari, parsing over this majestic lake, which locals call a sacred sea . An even more exotic tour on Lake Baikal is the ice-jeep safari, which is offered from the end of February to April. At this time Baikal freezes but the water is so clean that, in spite of being under a meter of thick ice, a diver may observe those walking on the lake’s surface without any distortion or turbidity. Closer to spring, the ice begins to bend and burst, there are ice hummocks and bells and whistles, and the chance for more ice diving. It is a beautiful spectacle of huge masses of ice crystal clear really can not describe in words, it must be seen.
Onward into Siberia, and perhaps the most iconic place for diving in Altai; Teletskoye Lake. The underwater landscape doesn’t boast much in the way of bright colors or spectacles but, above-water, the nature of the Altai Mountains are more than compensate for this.
Perhaps the most popular place for diving in the Kemerovo region is in the Temir-Tau quarry. Once, ore was mined here but the mine has long since been flooded. There are spiraling underwater roads waiting to be explored by divers. Visibility here can reach ten meters and more, and, in addition to the Martian landscapes and huge boulders, there are numerous examples of abandoned machinery below the depths. Many examples are ripe for memorable photos and you can find many diverse underwater artifacts. As for exactly what, well, let’s leave that as a surprise!
Fans of extreme diving tourism will be thrilled by any trip to the Barents and White seas. Though we may be detailing them together here, it ought be stressed that these are two very different places. The Barents Sea’s best diving season is in the summer, when you can dive in the underwater jungles of kelp and happen upon swarms of crabs. In the White Sea, you’ll experience winter ice-diving and swim with beluga whales.
For lovers of naval history and wrecks, nothing beats Lake Ladoga. Here, moving between the picturesque islands of Karelia, you’re guaranteed to happen upon wrecks of different epochs. The most interesting being a notable laboratory ship and other vessels sunk during World War II. The season on Ladoga is quite short, with there being two a year, in May and September, when the lake isn’t all too busy and visibility is improved.