Mermet Springs - September 2010

When we first started talking about adding a Dive Site of the Month, there was no question that Mermet Springs had to be the site that kicked this off. We absolutely love Mermet Springs located in Southern Illinois in Mermet, IL (located near Metropolis, IL pretty much on the boarder of Illinois and Kentucky). This site has everything. The owners, PJ and Glen, have really outdone themselves creating one the most professionally run dive sites in the Midwest. They offer everything and anything a diver would need. Of course, they cannot do it alone and have assembled one of the most interactive, dedicated, and friendly staffs you will ever find. Going to Mermet is like going home and catching up with long lost friends.

I guess the biggest attraction for Mermet is the Boeing 727. This is the actual plane used in the motion picture US Marshalls with Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes. After filming, the plane was moved to Mermet Springs to become a dive location. The plane is intact except for the wings and accessible to all levels of divers. The tail is in about 15 foot of water and the nose is settled in about 50’. If you dare (and have the proper experience) you can enter the plane and float through it from the tail to the cockpit. All along, remembering the movie. It is really fun to watch the movie prior to making the dive. The interior has been pretty much striped, but you can visualize the plane as it was in the movie.

Mermet strives to make each year a new experience. They have added much more than just the noted plane. They have a fire truck, ambulance, several other planes, a petting zoo, motorcycle, and what true dive quarry would not be complete without a school bus. Ropes and signs lead you the way to each dive attraction. The one thing we notice about all these dive attractions is that they are clean. It is not like many dive quarries where you have several inches of layered “muck”. The staff takes great pride in making sure the attractions are clean. Several platforms at all levels from 15’- 100’are available for training or just hanging out. These are sturdy and once again highly visible and clean. In fact, we have been asked at many quarries to describe the platforms at Mermet because they set the bar for all others.

The quarry is set up for all levels and experience. Many have received their certification at Mermet and then come back as they gain experience to make the deeper dives of 100’ or more. In these areas, you will be greeted by the large spoonbill that will float by to check out what is going on. It is amazing to hear a diver tell the story of their first spoonbill encounter. These fish are simply amazing to watch.

Topside is filled with all the comforts one would need from heated showers to real running water bathrooms and they are clean. Divers are sheltered by the many covered pavilions available complete with gear up benches, tables, and chairs. Surface intervals are like a family reunion with all divers interacting and simply enjoying each other’s company. The office provides a well-stocked assortment of gear and air fills are available onsite.

One of our most favorite and relaxing life experiences is performing a Night Dive at Mermet. The quarry is open and staffed for those that want to do night dives. To top everything off, they will play your favorite music through the underwater PA system as you relax on your dive. You have not met heaven until you have listened to Dark Side of the Moon during a night dive.

Mermet is definitely worth any amount of driving. Several of the Muck Diving Crew drives 6 hours one-way to visit the site. Every mile is worth the trip. Metropolis, home of Superman, offers discounts for divers at several hotels and restaurants. Make sure you ask when making reservations for the Diver Discount. For those of you that are not totally worn out after a day of diving, a casino is available in Metropolis. Maybe you can break even and pay for your trip with a go at the black jack table.

Mermet is hosting DUI Days on September 25-26th. If you have never been to Mermet, this is a great opportunity to check it out and also check out dry suit diving. We have been to several DUI events and once again, Mermet Springs sets the bar very high for hosting these events. It simply is a great time with great people.