Our third day was another full day exploring the island and Lake Baikal – we left the guesthouse the same time as the day before and headed to Idiba Bay first, stopping at a few different view points along the way. After a couple of hours of driving, the driver dropped us off at the top of a hill and we hiked down for half an hour through forest and meadows to reach the secluded bay. We had two hours to chill there, taking photos, sunbathing and swimming for those brave enough – not me!
It was then a short hike back up to where we were dropped off for another round of fish soup for the non-veggies and salad, fruit and veg for me. Unlike the day before, we had English-speaking tourists with us on this trip; a German couple doing a similar route to us, heading to Mongolia next. We had loads to chat about with them, especially photography as they both had massive cameras and showed us some amazing photos they’d taken 🙂
After the bay, we drove to Elga Bay on the way home, which wasn’t that impressive to be honest! I think we would have all happily have stayed at the bay for another few hours. We did see a bunch of cute cows though which was a bonus!
More photos can be found on my Flickr!
This tour ended earlier than the day before, so we had time to pop to the ‘’supermarket’’ before dinner. The main road of Khuzhir is a dusty dirt track which has three tiny bars, a tourist information centre, a few bike rental/ excursion places and a couple of shops. Each shop is tiny and sells barely anything – a few bread rolls, some alcohol, chocolate, crisps (although only the weird flavours like crab), and alcohol. You definitely need to stock up before you get there! We had decided to spend our last full day on the Island kayaking so we picked up a few snacks for lunch on the water 🙂
On our last full day, we hired a kayak for four hours from one of the guys working in the hostel. He helped us walk the kayak down to the beach at Cape Burkhan and we set off on the crystal clears waters with the sun above us and a bag full of snacks at the ready! It was the perfect day for kayaking – sunny, barely any wind and calm water. We kayaked for just over an hour, around the bottom of the cape, along past a few tiny beaches before stopping at a secluded bay to have our lunch., with the whole beach to ourselves!
We had originally been trying to kayak to a small island just off the Cape, but once we had stopped at the beach, we realised it was going to be too far for us novices as we were exhausted already and it would be another hour or so to reach the island, plus two more hours to get us back again. Instead, we decided to head back home, stopping at another beach for a rest. Although the sun was still shining on our way back, the wind had picked up dramatically and the super calm clear turquoise water was now generating some pretty big waves! It took us nearly two hours to navigate our way way out, around the cape, and back in to the shore as every time we were trying to steer parallel to the beach, we were being dragged further out sideways. We ended up having to paddle in a zig-zag pattern, so we weren’t too far away from the shore, but it was HARD work!! We were paddling as hard as we possibly could, but not going forwards!!! Damn. The waves were getting bigger too, with one going completely over us and into the kayak, completely soaking us and our stuff.. Eventually we managed to turn the corner around the Cape, avoiding being dragged into the rocks at the bottom of the cliff, and made it into the bay where the water was much calmer!
I was exhausted by the time we got back, so I spent my evening sorting out some of my photos before filming the sunset over the lake to put in my Lake Baikal video, whenever I get a chance to make it… Gary somehow had the energy to walk an hour to a nearby forest and creek, which was apparently very pretty!
If you are planning a trip to Russia, I highly recommend adding Olkhon Island to your list – it was definitely the highlight of our trip and our favourite place so far on our travels 🙂
Next up, Listvyanka!