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May 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 25, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Local Dive Highlights: Graveyards, Shark Teeth, Bowling Alleys

from the May, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

We know many divers are forgoing warm-water dive trips overseas but at the same time they’re eschewing local diving, which they find either cold or boring. So we asked readers how they have fun diving locally. Here are a few responses.

Reese Davis (Greenville, SC) likes two lakes in South Carolina for their assortment of objects and conditions. “Lake Jocassee has two boat ramps for divers, and a portion of the cove is buoy-protected. The Wall has a Chinese junk at 50 feet, a basketball goal, two motorcycles and a unique underwater “flamingo crossing.” At 135 feet is the Mt. Carmel graveyard made famous in the movie Deliverance. Divers call Lake Keowee, in the shadow of Oconee Nuclear Station, the “Hot Hole” because the water in the winter will average 70 degrees while the surrounding waters are usually 50 degrees. A favorite activity is to drop off a ledge at 18 feet and swim down and into the current for a wild 100-foot-long ride.”

While the zebra mussel is classified as an invasive species in North America, it makes the St. Lawrence River extremely clear and great for viewing its multiple wrecks, says Eric Peterson (Bothell, WA). “Within five miles of camp, I can dive as many as 20 wrecks. I can drift along rock walls and see some huge fish, from black and northern bass to muskies and sturgeon that grow to be larger than me. In early August, the temperature can be 70 degrees at the surface and the bottom too, because the river flow circulates the water. I can wear a 3-mm wetsuit.”

Wilt Nelson (Leesburg, FL) collects prehistoric shark teeth off of Florida’s public beaches. “After a dive or two, most divers can collect about 100 teeth per dive. Some collect them to sell, others use them for jewelry.”

In Pennsylvania quarries, it’s common for locals to dump unwanted items, from tires to TVs, but Mike Bachich (Philadelphia, PA) and his buddies use them to their advantage. “We put a railroad tie with one end on the roof of a car, the other end on the nearby bank. Then we placed bottles on it, like on a shelf. We then stacked tires, placed railroad ties across them, then put a TV on it. We found chairs and a satellite dish to make an entertainment area, even found a kerosene heater to help keep the water warm in the winter months. We set up his and hers toilets, made a Flintstone mobile out of railroad ties and tires, and we even have a bowling alley.” See YouTube videos of his Flintstone mobile (www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4o9XhIb78E) and the bowling alley (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzy_dtSKaHY).

Robert Levine (Brooklyn, NY) loves local diving because it’s there anytime he needs it, even at 2 a.m. on a hot summer night. “I catch the high slack tide, during a full moon on the Jersey shore. I check my tide chart, the ocean forecast, wave heights, water temps. I keep my pickup dive loaded and ready to hit the ocean, and I bring plastic jugs full of very hot water to shower with when I get out. Sometimes I slip back into bed at 5 a.m. My wife always asks, ‘Well, was the mermaid there with her friends?’ Late-night local diving - - it keeps me young.”

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