Day 4 – Dive Sessions on Oltrek Island

Finally we got under the ice today!
The morning got off to a challenging start since the temperature dropped below -28°C. Everything started slowly since we are not used to temperatures that low, however everybody had prepared their equipment the day before meaning we just needed to load lots of tanks, weights and bags onto the various cars.
While we drove down from our small village to the lake, the driver stopped just after getting on the ice to hook the famous Russian "Banya" trailer to the UAZ van. It's like hooking your house onto a car and pulling it to your most favorite dive-site in order to make it more convenient. Indeed we all liked getting into the heated trailers in order to change clothes and get into the dive equipment.
Before putting on the dive gear we needed to cut openings into the  ice layer which was about 1.50 m thick. We all thought this might be a 30-minute job but it actually took us over an hour to get the holes as the should have been.
While cutting them we learnt our lesson - that the ice is constantly moving - and we had some scary moments when the ice cracked somewhere on the lake and created a sound on the surface like a thunderstorm. Later under the ice the sound got even more weird and made us realize just how strong and massive nature can be....
As already stated, it was our first day under the ice, and while we were getting used to the cold air we enjoyed how "warm" the 2°C water can be.
All the team's experts have hundreds to thousands of dives under their belt but it was like we expected: Everything was new and thrilling, but also everything was different!
While experience in diving helps a lot, we also learned that extreme conditions are challenging for both the divers and the equipment!
We were all very happy to learn that only the human factor had been the weak point of our expedition while the MARES equipment worked perfectly!
Despite our personal shortcomings, we did work incredibly well as a team and helped each other to compensate our weaker moments in this fascinating but incredibly beautiful world!
Learn more about our new challenges tomorrow!