October 8, 2012

Midwest Diving: Part 1

Busy weekend here! Friday, I took Tyler to his first ever Chili Cook-Off in downtown Belleville. It was a little cold and rainy but it was perfect for some hot chili. We started at the first booth and bought a sample and every time we finished one off we'd stop at the nearest booth to get another until we taste-tested ourselves around the town.

Saturday is the day that Tyler was most looking forward to. We woke up before the sun and headed to Bonne Terre, MO so Tyler could dive the old lead mine that has since flooded and become the largest underground lake in the world.

He was particularly excited about this site because it touts it's super clear water and was even ranked by National Geographic as one of it's Top 10 U.S. Adventures. And to boot it is only an hour and a half drive from our home.It's big enough that he can dive it many times and keep exploring new places within it. 

Driving into the town and even the parking lot,  you'd never guess there was a giant mine stretching underneath the ground in every direction. The entrance to the mine is very small and unimposing (the old entrance for the mules) but the inner expanse goes for miles and there are five levels in total.  It's big enough that there was even a Red Bull Wakeboarding Competition that was held inside (Link to a video Here if you're interested. It shows a lot of the mine in the beginning.)

There were some problems with Tyler's experience; in the dive group set to go out prior to his someone reported that their air smelled funny and was possibly contaminated. So all the tanks had to be drained and refilled from the compressor. This delayed their dive approximately 2 hours.

Meanwhile, I was sleeping in the car. I tagged along thinking we'd be able to hang out when he wasn't in the water but the way they operated kept us separated most of the day.

We did have the chance to get lunch and buy some scarecrow clothes for Sunday, but then it was time for him to go back down for more diving. He was assured by the staff that they would make up the lost time so he could fit in all three dives he had signed up for, but that turned out not to be the case and he only got in 2 in the planned time frame with no refund or credit. We headed home at 5 instead of him doing his last dive because we had plans that evening and it had already been a very long day.

Despite the few hiccups Tyler really enjoyed the diving. He got to use his dry suit to keep him warm in the 58 degree water and the experience was different than his past diving. There are no fish or animals to see in the water but the formations and old mining equipment provided plenty of entertainment. He's excited to go back  for more exploration.

During his second dive I went on a walking / boat tour of the mine and got to take these pictures to share!

And this doesn't even take us to the end of the weekend...



  1. love the blog, Amy! and I just saw this dive site on NatGeo! how awesome!! love you both <3

  2. Wow! Seems like old times, reading your blog and wishing I were closer to you....but now I'm only an hour's drive instead of 3000 miles! Now I can get the full story of your adventures in person. Still, I look forward to your blog as you 'turn a great tale' and have a great writing style. Keep it up...love you both,

  3. THanks Lindsey, for reading and commenting! ...you're the first one! (Besides Tyler but he doesn't really count.)

  4. And Dad... I couldn't see yours yet when I published that comment, but thanks to you too!


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