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Strait Maloye more. Olkhon island

Source:  Lake Baikal: atlas. - Irkutsk, 2005. - Р. 86.

At the midsection of the western coast of Lake Baikal between the mainland and Olkhon Island stretches a strait known as Maloye Morye (the Small Sea). Its area is about 90 km2. Its southern entrance opens through a narrow channel - The Olkhon Gate. Its northern end depths do not exceed 200 m. Rocky islands tower above its surface. There are a lot of well-hidden bays. Especially famous is Mukhur Bay, a very picturesque one, only 4-5 m deep, thoroughly warmed up in summer, rich in fish and famous for its sandy beaches. Almost near the bay there is a wild ravine, from which the stormy wind Sarma blows. Maloye Morye is the habitat of omul (Baikal endemic fish), especially its fry from the age of one to four years.

Maloye Morye is separated from the open Baikal by Olkhon Is­land stretching for 72 km along the continental shore. "Olkhon" means "windy, sunny" in the Buryat language (the original language of the region). By a process still not understood winds drive away heavy clouds past Olkhon, and thus, there are more sunny days he­re than on the Black Sea coast. The shape of the island resembles Baikal, and like the lake itself, it is also unique, beautiful and mysterious.

In summer the southern section of the island is saturated with fragrance of steppe grasses. The north is woody, with ridges about 900 m high which, in the east, are abruptly replaced by cliffs sliding directly into the water. The western coast is not high, it is whimsically jagged with tiny bays and capes. Olkhon Island is distinguished not only by its scenery but by its different climate: it seldom rains and it is not often foggy here. The weather is rather is predictable. Olkhon is the only island on Lake Baikal which has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The exploration of Baikal by Russian researchers began namely from Olkhon Island. Under the leadership of K. Ivanov, in 1643 they went along the River Sai-тя Vallpv япН грягЬрН the shore, of Malove More. Having: built the boats they crossed Lake Baikal and came to the island.


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