Chivyrkuysky Gulf is one of the Baikal bays which form deep inlets and is undoubtedly the
most picturesque of all. Long time ago the bay was a mouth of Barguzin river. Powerful tectonic movements changed the
direction of this big tributary and the bay is still one of the richest fishing regions.
The area of the Chivirkuysky Bay is 268 km2. It looks squeezed between Svyatoi Nos (Holy
Nose) peninsula and the Barguzinsky Range. Its shores are covered with taiga. There are a lot of elaborate small bays,
safely hidden from Baikal's winds. Imposing capes; seven rocky islands with colonies of birds and mating places of the
black grouse; hot springs at Zmeinaya inlet (the Russian "zmeya" means "snake"), and plenty of fish: all this beautifies
the bay and makes it irresistible for tourists. Its shallow, small bays are warmed by the sun and in the second half of
summer they are comfortable for swimming.
From the north to the south for almost 54 km stretches the mountainous Svyatoi Nos peninsula. It is separated from the
mainland by a narrow and low sandy belt. The same belt separates Barguzinsky and Chivyrkuysky Bays. Opposite the peninsula
one can see Ushkani Archipelago which is 4 islands: Bolshoi (Big) and three small ones (Tonky, Krugly and Dolgy). Bolshoi
Ushkany island was the habitat of the alpine hare and a multitude of ants, so that the whole island is covered with
large, tall ant hills. One's attention is also attracted by small bottle-like bulges on the larch trunks. The Malye (small)
Ushkani Islands are famous as the biggest concentration of Baikal seals, called 'nerpa' locally.
Barguzinsky Bay is the biggest and the deepest on Baikal. Along its shoreline stretches a huge dune several metres
wide. There are sandy hills, the hollows between which are overgrown with trailing and common cedar. Their typical
flag-like crowns point to the prevailing "from the sea" direction of the wind.
On sunny days the coarse red sand is warmed up so that it's impossible to go barefoot! A solid sandy bottom, warm water,
the lowland isthmus close to abundant shallow waters from where cranes' cry can be heard, picturesque panoramas of the
peninsula, Chivyrkuysky slopes and Barguzinsky bay make Barguzinsky dune a wonderful and unforgettable resting place.
A tourist base "Maximikha" is situated in the southern and the most remarkable part of Barguzinsky Bay. The Barguzinsky
highway runs through the neighbouring settlement of Maximikha.