Did you know?
- Usma Lake formed 10,000 years ago and is a part of a gulf of the former Baltic Ice Lake.
- It is the fifth largest lake in Latvia by area and the second largest by volume of water.
- Its area is 37.2 km2, 42 km2 including the islands. Length – 13.5 km. Width at the widest point – 6 km. Average depth – 5.4 m. Maximum width – 6 km. The length of the shoreline – 73.6 km. Water volume – 190 million m3.
- The name Usma was first featured in records in 1253 in the deed of division on Kurzeme between the Bishopric of Courland and the Livonian Order.
- Origins of the name Usma: There is no completely reliable explanation. There are suggestions that the name “Usma” comes from Finnish and means “the land of fog” or from the Livonian “Uus maa”, which means “the new land”.
Kapkrāsns, on the eastern side of Baznīcērte, is the deepest known water spring in Latvia. Located 20 metres below the water surface, there is a 7-metre-deep and 2 metre wide funnel formed by a strong rising spring. The source of this spring is situated 6 metres below sea level. Kapkrāsns is a crypto depression because it its bottom is below sea level.
Ten rivers flow into Usma Lake: Mežupīte from Tīrukši Lake, Godele, Melncelma, Meķupe from Mežmuiža Lake, Sērža, Ostupe, Baņģava, Struncene, Riekte and Kāņupe from Mordangas Kāņu Lake. Only one river flows out of Usma Lake: it is the River Engure. It flows into Puze Lake, then the Rinda River flows from that and joins the Stende River to form the Irbe River, which flows into the Baltic Sea.
Bays and capes
Usma Lake boasts a collection of more than 200 toponyms. Usma Lake has an extremely windy coastline that is abundant in capes, bays, banks and underwater ravines, each of which has their own name. Sometimes you can’t help but wonder who ever came up with such quirky names for the bays and capes: Godeļdanga, Bērzragdanga, Bukdanga, Tīļdanga, Kuņķrags, Ragbrūžrags, Dižgabalrags, Meķgals, Pievdanga and Plēšrags, to name a few. On the north-east side of Usma Lake (less than a kilometre from the lake), there is the 58m high Ūdru Hill. The hill is topped with a 26-metre high observation tower. The viewing platform of the tower offers great views of the lake, islands and the vast forests of Usma valley.
Birds: osprey, Eurasian bittern, white-tailed eagle, marsh harrier, hazel grouse, crane, eagle-owl, pygmy owl, grey-headed woodpecker, black woodpecker, red-breasted flycatcher, black stork, white stork, whooper swan, common merganser, honey buzzard, black-headed gull, Eurasian wryneck, Savi’s warbler, red-backed shrike.
Aquatic plants: reeds, rushes, horsetails, cattails, pondweed, Elodea, coontails, stoneworts, water lilies, isotaceae.
The only inland yacht port in Latvia
Founded in 1973, the Usma Yacht Club is the only inland yacht port in Latvia. The foundation of the first clubhouse was laid on 8 March, 1973. The first commodore of the club was Ilmārs Lakšs. The first yachts of the club’s fleet were Bambino and Fortūna. The first building of the club was opened on 20 July 1974 and the first sailing competition on Usma Lake took place among five yachts. In October, 1974 the yacht club was moved to a marshy peninsula on the northern side of the lake. During August 1978, the yacht Nova sailed from Ventspils to Ladoga Lake and back. On 5 July, 1980 the current club building was opened. Staņislavs Backāns was appointed commodore in 2001. In 2003, the Usma Yacht Club took part in the foundation of the Latvian Micro-Class Yacht Association. The first World Championships for Micro-Class yachts in the history of Latvia was held in 2005. There are approximately 150 members in the club. The harbour has 55 yacht berths.