November 27, 2010


The following day I got my dive gear ready to dive a famous mine complex called Bonne Terre Mine.  This place is a commercially run business with a flooded mine that has all kinds of extended mine systems underground.  It is a pretty interesting place but there are a lot of people that come here to dive this place.  It is a recreational diving facility so it works out pretty well for all levels of diving  and they also teach cavern courses for people interested in learning about the first stage of cave diving.

They also got a lot of rules governing these dive trails that they outline and you have to dive certain trails before you are able to advance on to the next class of dive circuit that you can complete. I was not sure when I was going to come back here so I went on trails 11, 12, 14 which are the first three people have to do.  Also make sure you bring your dive book back or else you will have to dive these first three trails again….weird…

So I get signed up with 12 other people in my group and we head down a dry shaft to a passage room the took us to the dock site and the floating dive center they got set up. They had the mine lit up and it was a nice operation with tanks and a fill station right at the waterline.

The water was crystal clear which was nice too but we were not allowed to bring lights into the dive as they were not allowed. We stride into the water and perform a safety check in shallow water to make sure everything is working. We than take a tour around some of the artifacts that were left behind when the mine flooded like a drill piece, stairs, and other machinery. We made a circuit around some passage and came back to where we started.  We all get out and an hour later perform our second dive deeper around some pillers and into a truss system.  The Ambient light peered into the passages we went through which was interesting and the artifacts of a mine that use to operate were still present.

The third dive was very similar to the second dive but with the water at 55 degrees and spending pretty much all day in the water, I started to get a bit chilly. Once we ended the three dives I packed up and left back in a snowstorm to Chicago just before the snow got really bad. 

Overall it is a nice place to visit if you want to see some history and go diving in a overhead environment but it is not on my list of places to visit due to how commercialized it is. Is it worth a visit?. Absolutely!
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