[NOTE: I posted the details on Lake 16 on a previous post, but we didn't complete the dive. This time we did, so I am going to repeat the lake's detail for those who didn't read the previous post.]
Lake 16 MI DNR LAKE SIXTEEN MAP
Location:Allegan County, Michigan Between Martin and Shelbyville.
Directions:131 South from Grand Rapids, Exit at Shelbyville, head east to 10th Street (first 4 way stop) take 10th Street south (turn right), until you see the three big silos on the left hand side (this is the corner of 222). Take 222 east (turn right) about 2 miles, until you see the lake on the south (right) side of the road, slow down as the driveway is hidden.
Maximum Depth: 87 ft
Visibility: Better than last time, but still not good. My guess would be inches – 10ft, depending on where you are. I was told by someone who dives it often, that the best time to dive Lake 16 is April-June, and then sometimes in the fall. The algae count is very high right now, reducing visibility, and some years are better than others.
Points of Interest: There is an underwater scuba course, often used for testing, and just plain fun. It includes toilets, a boat, platforms, a car, and a snowmobile. I’m sure there is more stuff to see, but these are what I know are there. Oh and lots of fish.
Location Description:Like said in the Directions, the drive is small and hidden. It’s just a small boat launch, no dock, just a cement drop. Limited parking and single handicapped accessible out house, that is large enough one (or two, if you are not shy, or are with your spouse) to change in. The boat launch isn’t very wide, looks mostly used for small fishing boats. No swimming area near here, but did see people swimming off the launch, I don’t know why, it is a very mucky/weedy lake.
I remembered to take a couple shots of the area. The first picture above, is of the parking lot facing the water, the second, below, standing near the water facing the lot. You can see it is small, and see what is offered. There is a small grass patch in the corner that you cannot see in either pictures, that has a picnic table.
Out of Water Conditions: Both Saturday and Sunday were nice, clear, hot, sunny, summer days
Underwater Course Location: I will try my best to describe how to find it. The picture below is taken standing in the right back corner of the boat launch facing the course. I circled the diver’s flag the group had tied off to the first platform. That is not normally there, only if someone who is diving put it there. Now if you are looking straight out at the water from the boat launch, turn to the left (at about 11 o’clock) to face where the course is. It’s about 150 ft or so from shore.
- CLICK TO ENLARGE
Our Experience: We dove on both Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
We did 2 dives on Saturday evening/night. The first was a deep dive, the second a night dive. We accompanied a group that was there doing their Advanced Diving dives from Great Lakes Dive Locker. (The instructor is how we found out about Lake 16 in the first place)
Dive 1: The Deep Dive
We went in around 7pm, swam out to where they placed the dive buoy, and descended. We stopped at the diving platform, with a toilet seat on it, at 15 ft and lined up, got all situated, and made sure everyone was there. Like I mentioned above, the visibility is not very good this time of year. Having people there who knew the lake, and where to dive, made a huge difference. Now, I believe there are a couple ropes leading off this platform, but I couldn’t see them, so there might have just been one. (If I haven’t mentioned it before, I will now. I AM BLIND WITH OUT MY GLASSES!! I have not purchased a prescription mask as of yet. Don’t ask me why. My eyesight was a problem during these dives, so I will definantly be getting a prescription mask in the near future.)
We followed the line down, if I remember correctly, there was a sunken boat with 2 ropes heading off in different directions. We continued down following one of the ropes off the boat, in a single line. It ended at a platform with a toildet on it at 85 ft (probally technically 87 ft, but I didn’t lay on the bottom, so my computer read 85 ft). All I really remember about this first deep dive is that it was COLD!!!!!! and dark, but really COLD!!!!! The instructors, and a couple others, were in dry suits, so us in our 7 mm wet suits FROZE! Ok, the temperature was 37 F, I’ve had some people say, oh well, that’s not that bad, and of course they are not divers, and are thinking about standing in just above freezing air. Well I say to them! Being completely submerged in 37 F water, that is sucking out your body heat, is FREAKING COLD! Even in a 7mm wet suit, gloves and hood! Actually, my body was good, it was my hands, head and feet that were cold, especially my hands.
So anyways, as we were hanging out in the 37 F water in the dark, we were asked to do a couple math problems. They were testing to see how we handled that depth. They wrote the math problem on our lil underwater writing tablets, and we couldn’t look at them until we were down there. My first problem was something like 2147 x 14. Well, lets just say I have forgotten how to do long multiplication LOL Hey, it’s not my fault, the schools gave us calculators from 7th grade on, it’s been, what, 15-20 yrs since I’ve had to do a math problem like that. Anyways, I think I concerned the instructor, because I just kept staring at it, go to start writing, then stopped, finally he pointed to the second math problem, which was like 5278 + 1649, I was done with that one in less than 5 seconds. (When we got out, I looked at Brian’s math problems, and he was given just addition and subtraction problems, how unfair was that! He’s Mr. HumanCalculator, and I get stuck with the long multiplication LOL!)
Okay, back to the dive. Well there is not much else, we headed back, single file, made sure we still had everyone, then hung out for a minute at the 15 ft dive platform, where we swam a 100 ft line, 3 times, to count our kicks. LOL I must’ve had a small case of ADD that day. When we surfaced, the instructor asked me what my kick strokes were, and I had forgotten to count! So I went back down to redo it. I counted this time. We surfaced, got out, de-geared, and ate dinner.
DIVE 2: The Night Dive
This was Brian’s and my first night dive. We geared up and headed out into the water after dark. This was to be a nice calm, leisurely dive. Which it was. Everyone diving split off into 2 groups, we had 5 in our group. We weren’t planning on heading to the underwater scuba course or go very deep. Our goal was to hang out with the fish. The first time we dropped down, we all lost each other. That happened a few times. I thought it was dark down at 60 ft in Baptist Lake, that was NOTHING compared to diving at night. You literally can notsee anything except for where your flashlight points, and if you’re lucky, your dive buddies flash light and glowstick/strobe light (you attach these to your tank or shoulder, someplace, so hopefully your buddy can find you.) After descending and surfacing a few times because we lost people, we split off into smaller groups of 2 and 3. My group was Doug (the instructor), Brian, and me. In the shallower waters, I was having bouancy issues, even with extra weight, I was having troubles staying down, so Doug grabbed my hand, and led me around for the rest of the dive. Personally, I suggest if you are not experienced, and are doing a night dive, keep your buddy right next to you, hang on to eachother or something. There was no more concern of loosing people, plus the added benefit of having both flashlights.
We swam around for about 25 minutes. According to my dive computer, the deepest we hit was 23 ft. We saw a lot of fish (well the best I could see) We saw blue gill, perch and bass. The fish are funny at night. They think the flashlight is the sun for a minute, so when you shine it directly on them, they stop like they’re stunned and lean toward it in a daze, then suddenly come out of it and swim away. I saw a turtle. Actually, it swam in front of me and around, just as I was surfacing in a very shallow mucky spot, I stood up and fell backwards, I swear I landed on it, but it was gone when I looked.
All in all it was a good diving day!
Lake 16: 7/27/08, Sunday’s Dives…to be continued…..
- Have you dove Lake 16? If so, let me know about it!
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