Summer in the area
There are lots of colorful tents in the bushes and on the rocks along the lakeshore in late June, July and August. Thousands of tourists come over to the place to taste Baikal's water and maintain that personified image of it in their souls. They drink sunlight ripples, and they drink this greenish, mysteriously glimmering, as if it were herbal potion, moisture. They will also keep in their hearts and minds the sand, cleanly washed during 25 million years of existence; the stones, which became smooth because of age; the pines, running up the steep slopes; fluffy, salt-and-pepper colored reindeer moss carpets; rocks, covered by stone pines, ready to strip off the clothes of anyone who dares to get through them with their tenacious branches.
The northern top of Lake Baikal is located at the same altitude where Moscow lies, the southern tip is the one of Voronezh. But the continental character of Siberian climate makes it pretty different, and the influence of great water body only makes it a little milder. The climate at the lakeshore has some peculiarities, which are typical of seaside climate: it's cooler here in summer than on the mainland, and it's warmer in winter. The temperature difference between the places on the lakeshore and the areas far away from Baikal, reaches 8-10 degrees over zero. In winter it's warmer here for approximately the same amount of degrees.
Baikal is endlessly changeable, it always has something new in itself, it's always different: the mists start covering its surface, the color of the sky changed a little, the wind touched the mirror like surface of the water, and the quiet great serenity would become severity, the severity would become melancholy, followed by the festive light to the full extent.
Baikal has more hours of sunlight than the neighboring areas of Siberia, and even some southern, tropical places. For instance, Nizhneangarsk has 1984 hours of sunlight annually, whereas the Gulf of Riga has only 1839 hours. The transparency of the atmosphere over the lake, especially in the fall, allows one to watch the mountain peaks at the distance of 200 kilometers away.
The water of the lake, being a great mass, possesses a significant thermal inertia. The ice covers the lake late, which, in its turn, effects the thawing period, which happens in North Baikal area only in late May. Some drifting ice-floes travel around the lake even in June. The rise of water temperature occurs slowly, as the temperature in the open sea rises only up to 14 degrees over zero C. Much higher temperatures are at the shallow places, and deltas of the rivers flowing into the lake.
The best time to travel over the lake is July and August, when the weather is stable and sunny. The water surface is serene, the water temperature at shallow places is around 22 degrees over zero C. It's very easy to get a beautiful suntan not only on a multitude of beaches around the lake, but just on the deck of your sailing boat or yacht.
The water near Severobaikalsk beaches becomes very warm, around 20 - 24 degrees over zero C., in late July and early August. The visitors don't believe it, unless they try the water themselves. It can be explained by the fact, that the northern part of the lake is much more shallow, and there's a significant amount of water masses from the Upper Angara and the Kichera rivers. These waters significantly rise the lake water temperature flowing over the lake water surface, especially at such shallow places, as Verkhneangarsky delta, Yarki Isle, Dagary bay, Ayaya bay, Senogda bay, and Onokachan bay. But, the top layers of warm water mix with the cold major mass of water during the storms.
The Baikal water is enchanting. When one sees the stones at the depth of thirty or forty meters, it's hard to believe that it is possible, too thick is the water mass under the boat. A newcomer makes an attempt to pick up a little beautiful stone and puts his hand into the water, then he or she suddenly realizes, that it was an illusion, too deep in the water is that stone.
The water of Baikal contains too little dissolvent and suspended substances, that's why its transparency overreaches all the lake bodies in the world, and is very close to the transparency of the ocean waters. The color of the water in the lake, as well as in seas, depends on the depth of the place, the sky color, the height of the sun, etc. The greenish effect of the water is due to the diatomic sea weeds, but close to the shoreline its light-blue-grayish, in the open sea it is navy blue. But the diversity of the shades could be of silver, gray, green, and even pitch-dark colors. This diversity could be fully depicted by the artists currently living on the lakeshore.
The color metamorphoses of the lake surface are even more striking. The water absorbs the slightest changes in weather conditions; the sun; the rolling from the taiga forest clouds and mists; the seasonal changes at the shore, like gentle green or malachite glimmering of summer and the flame of the fall. The shades transfer from light-blue, silver-grayish to clearly blue or pitch-dark with the white tops of the waves. One can stand hours on the shore, watching this changeable play of water and the sky, the taiga forest and the rocks. Even the person who permanently resides here, and has a chance to watch the lake-sea every day and every hour, cannot say, that he or she hardly saw the lake the same repeatedly.