Are there sharks in Moscow? NO!
Are there divers in Moscow? YES!
Do these divers respect sharks? YES!
How can they prove? MAKE PROTEST SHARK DIVE UNDER THE ICE!
At first the idea seemed absurd, but… interesting. Ice diving is common for diving in Russia, and Moscow dive center DIVERS is always ready for unusual activities.
In the beginning of February 2016 DIVERS, together with PADI Project AWARE and InVertum magazine, decided to join protest movement SILENCE OF SHARKS, started by David Pilosof, well known underwater photographer, publisher and creator of international events. More excited we became after learning, that Pilo himself is coming to Moscow, changing +23°C Israel to -15°C Russia!
Project started in “Torpedo” swimming pool, DIVERS’ headquarters. Children, attending their swimming classes, attracted by the shark-balloon, hanging over the office entrance, were happy to listen short lections about sharks, and to draw pictures. These drawings we took under the ice on Day “SHARKY”.
We were more than 20 divers and instructors, 2 uw photographers and cameramen, also land photographers. The goal was not only to make a special dive, but to get footage, that later will be used in protest shark video clip.
On February 21st divers teams arrived to dive-center Sychiki, situated about 2 hours drive from Moscow (148 кm) to the west, onshore of Lazyrnui lake, named after amazing blue color of water. In the XX th century there used to be a quarry, where stone and sand had been taken for road construction. In 1958 the quarry was abandoned and filled with spring transparent water, which for 50 years doesn't suffer from blooming and isn’t silted. Cancers, that reside here, are best proof of the water purity. The lake has oval shape, its square is 2 hectares, max depth is 21 meter, visibility in summer can be 5-7 meters, while in winter under ice – about 10-12 meters, the shores are picturesque, covered with forest and bushes.
There are no 5 star hotels there, but rather basic but comfortable club house with parking lot, apartments, big dining room, and everything for divers and other water activities.
Dive-center Sychiki operates since 2012, and lots were done here to improve the landscape, both on land and underwater and to make diving comfortable and safety. Along with popular local sandy beach, special dive zone was constructed, with benches and space for donning gear, broad reliable stairs and to enter the water. There is a platform at 6 meters depth, suitable for beginners and diving courses. Divers come here from Moscow and neighborhood to make dives all year round.
Olga Volgina, DIVERS’ leader, made shark presentation, and taught ice-diving classes to club students, and also to underwater photographer from Israel Michel Braunstein, who bravely came for ice diving. Instructors made briefing for the divers, and we started.
Separate “maina” (hole in the ice) was cut with the help of electrical saw, sledge hammers, drills and ropes. This maina was planned for uw video operators and cameramen. Divers used another stationary hole, covered with arbour.
Divers descended with childrens’ drawings and smile on their faces, In an anticipation of under ice fun, and understanding importance of the moment. Diving under ice has its special charm, because of unique beauty of ice structures, that can not be seen from land!
After several doubles of underwater shooting, divers came out of the water, tired, but happy, where dinner and signature pilaf from the club shef awaited.
After dives we relaxed, warmed in Russian sauna, watched David Pilosof’s shark presentation and pictures, talked a lot – and finally agreed, that divers from all over the world are capable of increasing awareness about sharks extinction to the other people, and it is our duty to do that.