I went scuba diving at Hidden Paradise in St. Paul, Indiana yesterday. It’s a shallow rock quarry, maybe twenty-five feet deep in spots. My max on this dive was twenty feet deep.
Over the years that I dove there the pond’s visibility varied from a very rare twenty-plus feet to so low that you can’t read your gauges. (No matter how close you get them to your mask.)
Just to keep track of where your dive buddy is you sometimes need a rope tied between you.
Yesterday was decent though. I had visibility of ten to fifteen feet everywhere I finned. Real good for this dive spot.
I started my descent at the sailboat. I hadn’t visited it before, and decided to look it over. As I snorkeled over to the marker buoy I eased in to my scuba breathing technique.
When I reached the buoy I found a twenty to twenty-two foot boat sitting upright. The mast is still in place, and reaches to just below the water surface with the top of the boat around fifteen feet.
The deck is open into the cabin, and I dropped in to have a look around. Although it was a bright sunny day the interior forward of the cabin was dark. Fortunately I always carry a small dive light for those opportunities to explore crevices in the rock piles. The light rewarded me with an introduction to a big small mouth bass. It hovered just inside the bow compartment.
I exited the cabin through the entry door, and investigated the cockpit before heading to the south wall, and turning east.
I finned along the wall checking out a number of rock piles until I found myself under the swimming area of the quarry. Here I noticed a lot of trash (soda pop cans, plastic bottles, sunglasses, etc.). Apparently the swimmers drop quite a bit of stuff into the water.
(Quarry management told at check-in that they plan a clean up dive soon.)
Pointing my compass north I started back across the quarry. My water entry point was off the south dock toward the west end. As I crossed I began noticing some very large bluegill challenging me. Soon I realized they protected their nests with attempts to scare me away. One came at me from the side so fast it startled me as it suddenly appeared, and almost crashed into my mask.
Later I looked back and noticed a school of bluegill following me. It was like I led a parade across the quarry.
Right about the center of the quarry I found the school bus and took time to look it over. After inspecting the outside of the bus, and finding nothing new since my last visit, I entered through the rear doors. I looked toward the roof of the bus for air bubbles, wondering if any other divers swam through that day. I noticed as I watched that my air reached the ceiling, flowed toward the front of the bus, and exited through holes in the roof.
I had no way of verifying if I was that day’s only visitor.
Leaving the bus through the front door I continued north until I found the wall, and then turned west.
As I moved along the wall the bass and bluegill kept greeting me as I approached their territories. I came across two small boats on my way back to the dock.
I had a pleasant dive this day. The visibility was the best I experienced in a number of years for this quarry. I didn’t find a cloudy spot during my scuba diving excursion. It was a good day to go scuba diving at Hidden Paradise.