Lake Baikal

Chronicle of the expeditions around Lake Baikal in kayaks

When journalists start to describe an expedition in kayaks around Baikal, revealing their lack of knowledge, or perhaps claiming the sensational nature of the material, they will say that no one has done it before. Never. This is not true. Below are references to four such journeys known to me, three of which ended successfully. I quite imagine that there have been other attempts that I know nothing of.

2001 — 1st June — 9th Auigust (70 days duration). Valerii Davydov, kayak — frame construction «Taimen». Departure from Sliudyanka. From Ust–Barguzine to the Maloye Morye and from Goloustnoye to Sliudyanka he was accompanied by another kayaker, the remainder he covered alone.

2003 — 1st June — 9th August (70 days). Heather and Brandon Nelson. Circumnavigated Baikal and Olkhon and visited the Ushkanye Islands in two sea kayaks.

2003 — 2nd June — 15th July (45 days). A German biologist — Detlev Henschel. Set off alone from Bolshoye Goloustnoye. For some philosophical reason he did not make a complete circumnavigation. By some other means of transport he detoured around the Selenga delta.

2006 — 17th May. Two French kayakers, Sandrine Lange and Julien Jeauffroy. Departure from Irkutsk. In a two–person kayak, rounding the coast in an anticlockwise direction. 40 days out, the trip was abandoned at the village of Monakhovo (Chivyrkuisky Bay) because Sandrine was taken ill.

I believe that of all those mentioned, the journey was hardest for Davydov. Firstly, he was 61 when he made it. Secondly, he went in the low–speed, frame construction «Taimen» with a rubber casing, while all the others were in non–collapsible sea kayaks.