Lake Baikal is the Pearl of Siberia – the Blue Eye of the Earth – the oldest, deepest lake on the planet, formed some 25 million years ago – a proto-sea which will one day split the continent of Eurasia in two.

Stupefying in its sheer size and eximious in its features, it contains one fifth of the Earth’s fresh surface water; a fact which could be better understood by saying that if emptied, it would take all of the world’s rivers one year to fill it.

Often called the Galapagos of Russia, seventy per cent of its flora and fauna are endemic, found nowhere else, including the freshwater nerpa (seal), and the epishura crustacean which maintains it waters pristine to its bed, more than a mile deep in places.

Understandably, Baikal has UNESCO World Heritage Site status. (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/754)  but, alas, mankind is doing its unconscious best to pollute it. A Soviet-era pulp factory at Baikalsk, was pumping effluent indirectly into the Southern end of the lake until it was stopped in the early part of this century, only to be reinstated in 2010 by Vladimir Putin following his deep-sea submergible experience in Baikal. Thankfully, he and his ministers overturned that decision again in April 2013 and the pulp mill is to be closed indefinitely. The more worrying issue now, though, is the effluent carried by the Selenga River which, flowing in from neighbouring Mongolia, is dumped in the large delta formed as the river meets Baikal.

Baikal was, and still is, revered by the indigenous peoples of Russia and folklore abounds about it. Ghenghiz Khan is supposedly buried on its largest island, Olkhon. If, as in Blue Eye, SPHINX exists on its shores, harbouring a technology that could alter the paradigm paralysis of this current era, only Lubimov, Boris and Scott Carty know that truth….