“This is a record for Oman. No other Omani woman has done it before me. We researched this and found out that I'm not only the first Omani who has done it but also the first Arab woman to ever dive in lake Baikal,” Laila told Muscat Daily, adding that, she had become extremely fascinated with the geology of lake Baikal while pursuing her higher studies in applied geology in Russia.
Her dream, however, became a reality on January 24, 2019, when she took up her adventure of a lifetime with utmost determination. Terming it as a ‘birthday gift’ for herself, Laila disclosed that she attempted it three days after her birthday, with her best friend, Anna, present there for moral support.
An ode to nature
had to prepare myself a few weeks in advance, reading up on how to dive in a dry suit, and most importantly, how to regulate breathing in freezing water,” Laila said, adding that it was not just a humbling experience but also an ode to her love for nature.
To take up this adventure, Laila hopped on a flight to Irkutsk, a large city west of the lake, from which it was a two-hour car ride to the small diving centre that nature lovers from all over the world travel to, to experience diving in the world’s clearest lake. There, she received the necessary psychological and physical preps and a team of divers helped dress her into the special dry suit designed to insulate heat and prevent water penetration, the temperature of the water being as low as -20 degrees C.
As she plopped herself into the ice-cold waters of lake Baikal, she could see this ‘purest water on earth’ sparkle as she descended into it (the lake is 1642m deep at its deepest point). With no idea what to expect in the icy depths of the lake, she mustered the courage to be underwater for around 30 minutes and then, local Buryat Shamanic legends (which claim
“I dive regularly in Oman, but for this kind of dive, I