Yesterday Ginnie and I spent our last morning on Lake Baikal. We successfully completed all the laboratory work, spending hours in the lab kunk filtering in total a combined amount of 90 L over the last few days. The morning was spent finishing off all the packing, and thoroughly tidying both the lab kunk and our cabin for the next occupants. Once the van had been strategically loaded with all our equipment and samples we took part in our last Pososhok with our Russian and Swiss colleagues. This is a traditional Russian farewell which entails a shot of vodka (or two) with a serving of cheese and salami with bread. We had the opportunity to give a toast to our colleagues who had accompanied us on our two week stay. Without their hospitality and assistance our fieldwork would not have been as successful. Thank you one and all!
As we were ready to leave, we watched the lab kunk being towed away by a tank to be relocated to the Neutrino site, 4.5 km away. This was our first water sampling & coring site, and where we set-up our nutrient enrichment experiment.
The journey across the lake ice back to the mainland was just as spectacular as the initial journey out there, and along the way our driver stopped to help a stranded van on the ice. On the way to Irkutsk hotel we stopped to taste Omul (which is a distant relative of Salmon), which is endemic to Lake Baikal.
As soon as we arrived at the Irkutsk hotel, we were delighted with the prospect of indulging in some basic luxuries (i.e. warm showers…and no longer having to make the treacherous walk to the dreaded long-drop!!). We scrubbed up out of our fieldwork clothes and went bowling for the evening. All in all, it was a jam-packed day of packing and travelling, and we were looking forward to a well deserved night’s rest in a comfy bed. Needless to say though, we were sad to say goodbye to the incredible views of Lake Baikal.