In the home of a gold prospector

Last updated: 16.4.2002

Volodya criss-crossed the whole Siberia, and in the end he settled in this place below the mountains not far from Utulik on the coast of Lake Baikal. He first built a smaller house there, which he then sold to his present neighbour, after he built his present house, not yet completely finished either, next to it. He discovered gold in the streams up in the mountains above his place. He dreams about mining it one day. However, it would not be easy to move up there the sufficient equipment to make it profitable.

He wants to do everything in an environmetally friendly way. He talked a lot about how most people around Baikal care about their environment by themselves, without any authorities having to tell them what to do. Instead of some large-scale industrial minig operation, he thinks about making money by showing tourists how gold panning is done, and to let them try themselves at the gold panning.

He is thinking about using an autogiro to get to his streams. (Autogiro has a passive helicopter-type rotor blade instead of wings. It was invented in 1923 in Spain, later abondoned, but recently very popular among some airplane enthusiasts, especially in the USA.) He is constructing an autogiro with his friends from Baikalsk. And building an autogiro airfield next to his house.

In the meantime he makes money for all this by hauling anything for other people with his truck. And also by growing strawberries. Their area has a microclimate very suitable for strawberries. Previously, presumably in the Soviet times, a single year strawberry crop from the about two-acre plot around their house brought them enough money to buy a car. Since then the price relations have changed, but they still earn enough money by selling strawberries to buy them food for the whole year.

During our evening conversation, there was also some discussion about the Siberian natives. Tanya, in her former job in documentary film, travelled to the most areas (some of them autonomous) where the native peoples of the Irkutsk region live. It seemed to me that the "white" people (the European settlers) of Siberia may appreciate and maybe even understand their first nations better than the Canadians of the European origin do the Canadian first nations.

Yura and Tanya made friends with Volodya and Vera because Yura's employer has a resort centre at the end of the road passing by their house.

Trip to the Great Baikal Lake Siberia index The city of Bratsk