Spring has sprung here in the northeast, and as the frost and cold begins to recede, as divers our minds turn to one thing, of course... the summer diving season!
Our 5th annual summer kick-off party at Dutch Springs is going to be as much fun as ever, so dust off the gear, get out the thick gloves and the 7ml suit, and let's do some diving!
We've reserved the pavilion on the peninsula side (to the right as you come in the gate) and a nice big barbecue grill, so bring your favorite grilling item for yourself and a little extra for others, and we'll do as we always do, which is have fun, Fun, FUN!
Here's the schedule:
7:30am: Line up for check-in
8:00am: Park opens
8:00am-5:00pm: Gear up and dive, dive, Dive! (we'll be on the peninsula side (see the map) with a green tent and Oceanblue banner. Look for us!)
12:30pm-4:00pm: Barbecue/picnic at the pavilion (see the map)
5:00pm: Last dive! Divers must be in the water by 5
6:00pm: Everyone leaves, gates close, another fun season opener comes to an end!
What to bring:
- Diving: If you're planning on diving, bring your dive gear (uh DUH!)! Water temps can be chilly this time of year (down into the high 40s F at depth), so be sure to bring a thick suit. A 7ml one-piece, at a minimum, or even better, a farmer John style suit, or dry suits are highly recommended to prevent hypothermia. Gloves are pretty much required for diving at Dutch; ask anyone who's been in the lake without them, they'll tell you how it is!
- Gear rental: Don't have dive gear but want to dive? No problem! There are a couple of shops in the vicinity, and our favorite is Lehigh Valley Dive Center. You can rent an entire kit from them. To get all the information you need about them, including directions and pricing, go to http://lvdive.com. They are conveniently located just five minutes away from Dutch. It is strongly recommended you call them in advance and reserve whatever gear you'll need if you're planning to rent from them. They're extremely busy at that time of year and there's high demand for their rental gear.
- Non-dive: There's plenty of stuff to do around the lake; they have a swimming area with huge inflatable icebergs floating there that you can jump off; or if you're more inclined to relax, you can just hang out in the late Spring weather and catch some sun. Bring a towel, a blanket and hang out!
- Barbecue/picnic: Stuff to eat; this includes anything for grilling or outdoor dining, and be sure to bring enough for one or two other people. People typically bring burgers, dogs, chicken, condiments, beverages (alcoholic beverages are not allowed at Dutch Springs). We're renting a very large grill from Dutch Springs, so anything you want to cook we can! Nothing like a juice burger and a Coke after a morning of diving the quarry!
- Social: Your friends, those that dive and those who don't! This is fun for everyone, divers and non-divers alike. It's a big picnic with diving thrown in a pretty scenic setting, so bring everyone you know that might want to come!
- Sun protection: Sunglasses, sunblock, coverups, and even a fleece for when you get out of the water. It does get chilly, so when you get out, you're going to want warm up.
Rain or shine, we'll be there. The pavilion will provide cover!
Admission, diver: $36 per diver
Admission, general: $23 per adult, $17 per child (ages 5-9)
Camping: $10 per person/per night
Night Dive on Saturday night: $5 per person
Instructors: get FREE entry to Dutch by providing C-card and proof of current insurance.
Everyone entering Dutch Springs must fill out a waiver before entering. They have waivers at entry concession, and you only need to fill out one per year. If you'd like to fill it out in advance and bring it with you, it'll save you some time. You can download it by clicking here.
About Dutch Springs Quarry
For the uninitiated, Dutch Springs is a quarry in Eastern PA, about an hour and half drive from NYC. It's easy to get to, and during the summer months becomes a mecca for diving in the northeast. It's where lots of people do their open water dives, go to test out gear, or just get underwater. Many people even consider it a rite of passage for all divers in the northeast. If you haven't been diving in Dutch, well, you haven't done the diving that's here to be done!
Dutch is an old cement quarry, and the shell of the cement factory sits on one side of the lake. The lake is stream fed and the water is pretty clear. At some point zebra mussels were introduced into the lake, and as a result, the visibility can be quite good, ranging up to 40 or 50 feet at times. It really depends on the hour of the day and the day of the week you dive there, because on a busy weekend day there are lots of people in the lake, and it tends to get silted up. If you're first in line, though, you might actually experience crystal clear water and good viz!
In addition to the zebra mussels there are a few species of fish, such as Koi, Blue Gill and Large Mouth Bass. To make the underwater topography more interesting, they've sunk a bunch of different things in the lake, such as a Cessna plane, a trolley car, an oil tanker, a school bus, a couple of boats and other such attractions. There are also platforms that many dive shops use for training purposes, and they also make a great point of reference while underwater.
Water tempteratures can range from 70 or so at the surface during the peak of summer, and dip down into the low 40s and even the high 30s, depending on the time of year you're diving. Wear a 7ml suit and some gloves and you should be good to go!
Are you setting up on peninsula side again?