Frozen harbor on Olkhon Island; Lake Baikal, Russia

This is an active harbor on Olkhon Island at Lake Baikal (Olkhon is an island situated entirely inside of the lake). The photos were taken from the frozen water, looking back toward the shore.

I have no idea how they get these boats to sit entirely on top of the ice as opposed to submerged partly below it. They probably dry-dock the boats on land and then wheel them back out onto the water when it is sufficiently frozen.

The cross made of ice is easier to spot in the second photo, but the ice-fishing hole is easier to spot in the first photo (left edge of the frame, bottom third). It is actually not an ice-fishing hole but instead it is a hole where once per year, by tradition, Russians jump into the frozen water, and legend has it that if you jump into the water on this day, and this day only, you will not get sick.

I also saw people using the hole for fresh water. The area was littered with cigarette butts and beer cans, and inside the hole, where the water was shallow, you could see many coins at the bottom. I never did figure out exactly what purpose the cross serves.

Maybe an annual memorial to those lost at sea each year?


There is some strange colored spotting in this photo. I don't know if the negative was damaged during processing or if it was just a poor scan. I am pretty sure the white spots are just dust.