Each year the Scuba Club schedules multiple trips to local diving locations throughout the Midwest. These trips are fun, exciting, and inexpensive. The best times of year to utilize these venues are in the early fall and late spring and summer. These exciting trips are usual weekend trips and arrangements range from camping out to overnights stays in hotel suits. These trips are always fun!
Haigh Quarry is one of the finest aquatic environments in the midwest. This is an old quarry with depths to 85 feet, sheer cliffs, rock piles and a large aquatic population that includes sunfish, bluegill, catfish, bass and northern pike. The north end of the quarry is relatively shallow at about 25-30 ft deep. This area contains some left over mining equipment to see, the rest of the quarry is around 50-60 feet deep with the south east corner having the "deep" hole at 85 Ft. There are changing rooms and a pavilion with a fireplace.
Mermet Springs is an 8.5 acre spring fed stone quarry, located in Southern Illinois. The quarry has 100 foot walls and wooded hills encompassing nearly half of its perimeter. The sheer walls are not only on the top but can be followed to depths of 120 ft. This quarry is devoted to diving and dive training. There are items of interest for all divers. Training platforms are located around the facility. A Boeing 727 jet used in the movie "U.S. Marshals" (see image above) is just one of the many sunken treasures. Snorkeling, kayaking, and on-site camping for divers and their guests are available.
A privately owned and operated "resort" in South Beloit, IL, Pearl Lake has much to offer both divers and non-divers. There's fishing, swimming, and diving! Just 1 1/2 hours from Chicago, it's a great place to get wet. Numerous items have been sunk for diving pleasure: Boats, an airplane, two man sub, rail road tracks, concrete pipes, and even a school bus! Fish and clams are in abundance. Average depth is 35 to 40 feet, max. depth 85 feet. There is an entrance fee. Open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. Flag not needed, certification card required. There is a restaurant, bar, rest rooms, changing rooms, and showers at the lake. Plenty of hotels in the area, as well as camping at the lake. Register at the main building downstairs in the dive registration area. There are plenty of dive sites in the lake, all well away from the swimming area. See photos on the Ice Diving page. Weekends will see most of the sites overrun with students on certification dives.
Evanston Illinois - Resting in 10 to 16 feet of water is the Wreck of the George Morley, a wooden shipwreck that burned and sank in the 1800's. Intact below the gunwales, the wreck is just 150 yards off shore and is marked by cans. Ask the beach office for directions to the wreck site. There is also an old PT boat located off Main Street. Suit up at Greenleaf St. Beach. There is a beach entrance fee. Flag, float, and certification card required. Closes at 6:00 pm. The wreck is mostly exposed due to wave and current action.
Red Granite Quarry
Another gravel quarry, located in the town of Red Granite, WI. Lot's of Bass and Sunfish. Max depth of...238 feet! Nice U/W photo ops of fish and rocks (great - more rocks). Divers report seeing freshwater jellyfish there as well. Most divers hang in the 30-90 foot range. Vis averages 20 to 30 feet. Designated a village park in 1986. 7 acres of water - you can dive the sunken snowmobile or the two small boats (wow!) It's one of the deepest lakes in Wisconsin, and popular with local divers (it's a hike from Chicago!!)
Bonne Terre Mine
This unique adventure, can be your "Dive to the Center of the Earth". Bonne Terre Mine, a national historic site, is the world's largest fresh water dive resort. Water conditions remain constant with over 100 foot visibility, Sights include: mammoth architecture, guaranteed year round diving conditions. cal falls, oar carts, scaffolding, grating, staircases, pillars, slurry pipes, the famed elevator shaft, and much more. Bonne Terre Mine is without a doubt one of the most unusual, beautiful, and relaxing full service dive resorts anywhere. Your accommodations located In the rolling foot hills of the Ozark mountains are elegant at the nearby 1909 Depot, or if you prefer a more casual atmosphere, the Divers Lodge, located at the Mine.
Wazee Lake Recreation Area
Wazee Lake is fast becoming one of the most popular diving sites in the Midwest. It's exceptionally clear, deep water combine to create a fascinating dive site for the experienced and novice diver alike. The lake was the site of the former Jackson County Iron Mine quarry. The mine was in operation from the early sixties until April of 1983. Today, Wazee Lake is recognized as the deepest inland lake in the State of Wisconsin with a maximum depth of 355 feet. Visibility in the lake averages 30-40 feet during the summer months. Water temperatures run from approximately 70 degrees surface temperatures to 40 degrees below the thermocline. The thermocline depth varies during summer, but averages about 30 feet. Divers who venture to greater depths will encounter a second thermocline at approximately 60 feet where the temperature drops to a chilly 34 degrees.
Crosby Mine Pits
The Cuyuna State Recreational area located in northern Minnesota just 15 miles from Brainerd, is the home of one of the best kept secrets in Midwest diving. Originally, the sight was the home of iron ore mines later shut down in the 1970s and has since become a beautifully, protected, sanctuary for divers from near and far. The crystal, clear water of the 55 dive sites spread over 27 bodies of water provide divers of all levels with lots of room for exploration. The maximum depth is 525ft but most diver stick between 20-100 ft. The “pits” are stocked with walleye, northern pikes, crappies, bass, and trout with visibility ranging between 25-50 feet. Many divers even report seeing beavers, loons, or snapping turtles. Several of the sites boast forgotten mine shafts, pipes that once pumped the mines dry, building foundations, power poles and old road beds while other items have been added such as abandon vehicles and silly things that make us divers smile, like plastic skeletons and old playground equipment.
Devil's Lake State Park is Located in Baraboo, Wisconsin and situated along the Ice Age Trail and is visited by more than 1.2 million people per year! With spectacular views from 500 foot cliffs, miles of hiking trails, swimming areas including 2 large sandy beaches, hundreds of campsites, mountain bike trails, cross country ski trails, great climbs and so much more, it's no wonder why Devil's Lake is Wisconsin's premiere natural vacation destination!