Diventures Dive Pros probably know more about their local dive sites than anyone else. But what keeps them coming back time and time again? What makes their favorite local dive sites special? We asked our Dive Pros from our Diventures dive shops across the country what they like most about their favorite local dive spots. Here’s what they said:
Straits of Mackinac
Open Water Instructor, Matt Ingber, in Alpharetta, Georgia loves the challenging and rewarding dives at the Great Lakes. His favorite dives are the shipwrecks in the Straits of Mackinac, a short waterway that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron about four hours from Detroit, Michigan. Because of the cold, fresh water in the Great Lakes, shipwrecks are incredibly well-preserved.
There are eleven identified diveable shipwrecks in the Straits of Mackinac, all within the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve. The most popular include the Eber Ward, the Sandusky Brig and the Cedarville, the largest shipwreck in the preserve. Cedarville is one of Matt’s favorite wrecks.
“The large steel freighter, Cedarville, sank in 1965. I was very fortunate to be able to dive with the son of one of the sailors that was on the boat the day it went down and lived to tell the tale,” said Matt. “Diving the wreck is like taking a trip back in time. Unfortunately, the Great Lakes have been invaded by Zebra Mussels that have settled on every wreck. The good thing about them, however, is that they have cleaned up the water and improved visibility tremendously.”
“The Straits of Mackinac has some of the best diving in the world. But I definitely would recommend a dry suit and the Diventures Dry Suit specialty course before you go,” suggests Matt. “Deep Diving and Wreck Diving are also good certifications to have under your belt.”
View all Diventures specialty courses here.
The Straits of Mackinac are also a great place to visit for non-divers. Mackinaw City is the perfect summer weekend vacation. There are endless scenic hikes, the famous ‘Mighty Mac’ bridge, picturesque Mackinac Island, historical forts and lighthouses and the Headlands International Dark Sky Park for star gazing where you could possibly see aurora borealis.
Diventures is headed to Mackinaw City three different weekends in July and one weekend in August! Learn more and register here for a family dive weekend getaway.
“If you’re interested in cold water diving and love history, then diving the Great Lakes, and specifically the Straits of Mackinac, are for you!”
Dive Pro Chad Binder from Omaha, NE knows that some local dive sites are better during certain times of the year.
“Local diving is fickle and certain locations are better at certain times of the year,” says Chad. “Early summer, before boats start running heavily through Lake Okoboji, offers a great dive site. Last June visibility was 30 feet. The Tower is an easy site to access. It has four water intake pipes which allow for easy navigation.”
“The Inn (named for the hotel that used to stand on this site) is also a great dive site. The entry over rocks is challenging, but the site has great visibility and drops off to 60 feet. I suggest wearing a 7mm or dry suit w/ hood and gloves if you are going deep. The Inn has three water intake pipes that can be used for navigation. Overall, Lake Okoboji has an abundance of life: blue gill, bass, northern pike and crawfish especially.”
Lake Wazee in Wisconsin is another favorite of Chads. “We typically like to go to Lake Wazee late in the summer to allow the lake to warm up. The lake has great visibility when you go deep.”
Chad also notes that “Unlike most quarries, there is light at 100 feet, which makes it a great location when trying to earn your Deep Diving certification. The only downside is that the temperature is in the 40sº F at that depth. Lake Wazee also allows for XR dives because the lake goes well past recreational depths.”
Mermet Springs is a Dive Pro favorite at Diventures. The 8.5-acre, spring-fed quarry is one of the most popular dive sites in the Midwest. It offers seven training platforms, easy entry docks, dives from 15 to 120 feet in depth and numerous sunken treasures to explore. Many Diventures’ divers travel to Mermet Springs to complete their Open Water Certification dives, specialty course checkout dives or a “just for a fun” dive weekend.
One of the top underwater treasures to explore at Mermet Springs is the Boeing 727 that was used in the film U.S. Marshals in 1997. Other treasures include a submerged school bus, semi-tractor and sunken boat.
But the most unique feature of this quarry is its underwater speakers, where divers can listen to music while they explore!
Divemaster and Scuba Experience Lead, Callie Fetter, in Springfield, NE loves the scuba park at Beaver Lake in Arkansas.
“What I like about this dive site is there are so many items to look at if you want to follow the line. There are cars, boats and much more below the surface,” says Callie. “If you don’t follow the line and head the opposite way, there are bluffs where the fish love to hang out. If you’re lucky you may even be able to find some treasures that people have lost!”