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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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January 2001 Vol. 27, No. 1   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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How's this for a diving record?

from the January, 2001 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Apart from how deep you can go and how long you can stay, there aren’t many records to be set by sport divers. But I think Undercurrent correspondent Chuck Ballinger (Mill Valley, CA) may have set one when he completed an October dive in Amalga Harbor near Juneau, Alaska.

Not that this single dive is monumental, but it was his last in an itinerary that took Chuck underwater in every one of America’s fifty states. He discovered seven million-year-old shark teeth in a South Carolina river, dived the Garrison Dam Tailrace with the governor of North Dakota, and toured an abandoned nuclear missile silo in Texas, a 97-degree volcano in Utah.

He dived pristine fresh water wrecks in Lake Michigan, braved 36-degree water in Oregon’s Clear Lake, found bowling balls underwater in Arizona and Kentucky, observed mystery spires in Yellowstone Lake (elevation 7,600 feet), and explored underground lead mines below Bonne Terre, Missouri.

Ballinger says that while most folks consider diving to be just about tropical reefs — and he’s dived plenty of those in the forty-seven countries he visited — he says it’s really about the uniqueness of the adventure and the people he meets along the way. “The dive-safari concept of exploring both below and above water is alive and well in the United States. We have as much diversity as any nation on Earth.”

He will chronicle his adventure in a book, "An American Adventure Underwater - Fifty Dives in Fifty States." Meanwhile, you can visit each of his dives on his website at


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