We decided to do something a little different this weekend. Myself, Matt, Lea and Tom went up to Lake Champlain for some planned exploratory shore diving. We also figured we would hit some of the restaurants and breweries in Burlington.
There is an area in Lake Champlain called Thompson’s Point which is rumored to have some very cool topography (vertical wall) underwater. It’s an area that is also one of the deepest points of the lake.
We had no real ambitious plans to go “super” deep but we carried our usual assortment of bailouts (2 AL80s – 21/35 and 50%) with trimix in our diluent. (In Tom’s case he opted for air. I don’t blame him since wasting double 130s of trimix is not a cheap endeavor.)
I debated not posting this since it is a pretty deep area of the lake but I decided anyone with a brain is able to look up depth charts and do their own research. It’s also a pretty popular shore diving site listed many places so it’s not exactly a hidden secret.
Just to post an obvious and blatant warning. It can get very deep here and you can easily get yourself into trouble with lots of deco. Boat traffic is also a major concern in the summer although in the fall/winter there appeared to be very little boat activity.
Unfortunately the winds and weather did not cooperate with us on Saturday. A steady 30kt+ wind was blowing into the cove with lots of whitecaps on the lake. We opted not to dive but instead walked around Thompson’s Point scouting areas for easy access and entry. There are a couple areas we found and were also told about by some local Vermont friends and from the folks at Waterfront Diving Center in Burlington, VT.
These picture does not do it justice. It’s a beautiful view but the lake was very angry on Saturday.
First area for entry
Beautiful cove with rocky beach. There is public parking at top of the hill. There were some obstacles and “attractions” in the water here setup by local dive shops so I imagine they do teach some classes here.
Second Area for entry
We were told this area is basically a shear vertical wall in some spots according to some friends that have dove it. It also looks very much that way on the depth charts. Unfortunately the parking looks like an issue here. Although it’s mostly summer homes we didn’t want to park in someone’s vacant driveway and the access road is narrow. You could easily drop off gear and park up in the other lot if you wanted but we weren’t feeling that ambitious.
In any case, Saturday was a complete blowout for diving so we opted to do a local mini brewery and restaurant tour around Burlington, VT. Thankfully on Sunday the winds completely diminished turning Lake Champlain into a mill pond with barely a ripple in the water.
We opted to dive at the rocky beach/cove location since the parking was easy and we had never been here before. It would also save Tom some stress climbing down rocks in his double 130s.
Overall it was a very cool dive and I woul estimate we had approximately 25ft of visibility and maybe even 30ft+ in the shallows. One thing is for sure, it turns completely black around 80ft up there. I was very glad we all had decent primary lights.
There were tons of bottles but nothing of old vintage that I felt the need to take. Actually that is not completely true. I think Matt found/dated something circa 1920. Otherwise there were lots of 1990s Budweiser and other bottles left by boaters or people ice fishing.
The area that went in followed a gradual slope until you hit your “target” depth. The bottom here is deep mud that is easily disturbed so you want to be pretty careful. We took a slightly different heading back into the cove and encountered some pretty cool rock formations and areas where it turned more wall-like as opposed to gradual sloping.
I was told by some friends that the other entry point is almost a vertical an shear wall in some spots but unfortunately we didn’t dive there this trip. Hopefully we’ll have some time this winter to get back up to Lake Champlain for some more diving before the cove and this part of the lake freezes over.