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Ice-bound Island

Project timeline: March 1-10, 2017

Languages used: English, Russian

Project starting point: Irkutsk

Project locations: Irkutsk — Listvyanka - Sakhyurta village — Khuzhir village (Olkhon Island) — Irkutsk

Project goal: Provide volunteer assistance to the Pribaikalsky National Park by designing information boards at the entrance to the park, promoting the development of socially responsible eco-tourism (through designing information boards, booklets, and posters, conducting educational classes on ecology, environmental protection and cross-cultural communication, and volunteering with schoolchildren), helping Khuzhir residents organize a music festival.

PROJECT SCHEDULE

Day 1 (Wednesday, March 1)

  • Arrival of participants in Irkutsk;
  • Check into the hostel;
  • Meeting and orientation to the project.

Today we will go to Listvyanka village located on Baikal shore and visit Baikal museum. After that we will come back to Irkutsk.

At the end of the day, we will instruct you about the upcoming trip to the village of Khuzhir, which is located on Olkhon Island, the Baikal’s largest island.

Day 2 (Thursday, March 2)

Departure from Irkutsk to Olkhon Island.
In the morning we will meet at the GBT office and take a bus to the Sakhyurta village. Next, we’ll take an ice road to cross the straight and get to Olkhon Island. We will be staying at a guest house in Khuzhir village for the entire length of the project.
In the evening, we’ll have a meeting with representatives from the local eco-tourism industry. Before we go to bed today, we will get to know the details of our project agenda: what types of activity we’ll be doing, whom we’ll meet and what our free time is going to be like.

Days 3-4: (Friday and Saturday, March 3-4)

We will start preparing to the music festival. We’ll be helping with assembling the stage and doing some other types of work for organizing the upcoming festival (more details will be available by the time the project starts).
During evenings we’ll plan our educational classes with school children: interesting activities devoted to cross-cultural communication (sharing our experience of living in different cities or countries, telling about the specific features of our work), workshops or environmental games.

Day 5 (Sunday, March 5)

An excursion day. We’ll visit Khoboi Cape, the northernmost point of the island. We will be able to see the cape from the ice (not every tourist could boast of having a view of Khoboi Cape from this point!)

Days 6, 7, 8: (Monday-Wednesday, March 6-8)

We will meet with school students on one of these days.
During the two other days, we’ll continue helping with organizing the music festival and designing booklets for walking tours around the island.
Free time: You’ll be able to walk around on the ice of Baikal and enjoy the local places of interest. Also, on one of the days, we will be able to experience a Russian banya and local cuisine.

Day 9 (Thursday, March 9)

It is our last day of working in Khuzhir village.
We’ll spend the first half of the day on Ogoy Island (it is the largest island in the Maloe More straight, where the Buddhist stupa stands) and pick up litter that we might find. The rest of the day will be allotted for free time to gather our things and take a final walk to Baikal. In the evening we will have our final gathering to present awards and have tea.

Day 10 (Friday, March 10)

Departure from Khuzhir village to Irkutsk by bus;
End of the project.

After breakfast we will board a bus back to Irkutsk. We expect to arrive in the city in the afternoon.

Participation fee: 21000 RUB.

The participation fee includes:

  • Accommodation in Irkutsk on day 1;
  • Bus tickets to Khuzhir village and back to Irkutsk;
  • Excursions on Olkhon Island;
  • Accommodation and meals on Olkhon Island

The participation fee does not include:

  • Travel around Irkutsk;
  • Meals in Irkutsk;
  • Accommodation in Irkutsk on the final day of the project;
  • Additional excursions to museums, attractions, etc.

In the group, there will be a translator that will be able to provide communication between the participants, and a project leader that will organize the work of the group.

Physical requirements for the project: You will sometimes be asked to carry a backpack with your belongings and the group’s foodstuff. You will also be having day trips on Baikal ice. We will also be doing different types of physical work during the projects: assembling the stage for the festival, chopping wood, etc.

Necessary equipment: You need to bring a backpack with a volume of no less than 60L and boots with ice cleats, you can also bring ice skates to skate on Baikal ice. (Its condition differs from year to year: sometimes it can be mirror-smooth, while sometimes in March you can find that the ice is covered with snow and there are huge ice blocks. We will keep you updated on ice condition closer to the time when the project starts). You may wish to bring a thermos (for day trips) and a laptop (to work on some projects).

Also, take time to do a little research to learn more about the climate in the Baikal region in early March so that you can pack appropriate clothing and footwear. During the day the temperature can be anywhere from -5° to -20° C (depending on the year) and wind can be quite strong. It’s therefore necessary to make sure that you have warm windproof clothing and water-resistant shoes.

Accommodation and meals in Irkutsk: Accommodation in Irkutsk on the first day of the project is included in the participation fee. On the final day accommodation is not included. Meals in Irkutsk are also not included in the project fee, since some participants will want to eat out in a café or restaurant and other participants will want to prepare their own food in the hostel kitchen.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances, GBT maintains the right to close the project or make changes to the program, while informing all participants beforehand.

It's very important for us to plan for the right number of participants in our projects. This is why we're asking for a deposit of 60 USD to be paid within two weeks of your application. This amount will be counted as part of the total project fee of 21000 RUB. It covers the cost of your visa invitation, project preparation, the purchase of all necessary supplies and administrative expenses. In case you decide to cancel, your deposit is non-refundable. Payment information can be downloaded here.

THIS PROJECT WAS FINISHED.