Norfork Lake / Jordan Marina April 2011 (The Flood)
“April Showers bring May Flowers”, I guess that is how the saying goes. The MWMD crew headed to Norfork Lake located in NE Arkansas for a week of diving. We had planned to return to visit our good friends Dan and Denise at Jordan’s Marina for what we hoped to be a week of awesome viz…. we missed this by one week. Unfortunately, it rained and rained to the point the lake hit flood stage. But, we were able to experience some of the viz everybody was talking about early in the week.
This year we towed our boat the “Muck Diver” down. We launched the boat and then the rains hit. The next day we were greeted to record rise in water to the point the parking lot to Jordan’s Marina was under water. We were not going to let a little water spoil our diving so we headed out and found some great diving. As we pulled up to some trees that typically sit on the bank of the lake we peered down into the water and were amazed to see crystal clear water to the bottom….”just like the tropics, I’m telling you”. Like little kids on Christmas morning we rushed to gear up and jump in. We were amazed to see 40 foot viz amongst green foliage of trees. What an awesome experience, but this didn’t last long as the mud line was making its way through the lake with all the runoff. We found the rest of the week the best diving was near the dam with visibility ranging in the 25’ range and water temps at 59 degrees.
One afternoon tied up near the bank, we were enjoying lunch on the Muck Diver after a dive and out of nowhere heard a voice, “What’s going guys”. We turned to notice a Game Warden standing on the bank. He explained that he noticed us “hidden in the trees” and thought he should check us out. He asked to board the boat and inquired if we had any spear fishing equipment on board. We told him we were just recreational divers taking pictures and video. At first he couldn’t believe anybody would be diving this time of year and not spear fishing. However, we must have satisfied his curiosity and he left wishing us well with our diving…reminding us to stay within 300 feet of our dive flag.
All in all, we had a great trip. Yes the diving wasn’t what we had hoped for, but this is the Midwest. We now have another excuse to return to Norfork later this summer. Norfork is oddly not talked about a lot in the circles of divers. It has many great dive attractions and many foundations of homesteads that once clustered the area before the lake was built. Jordan’s Marina caters to the diver and runs a great operation to support any need a diver may need…air refills, just about any gear needed, or boat & slip rental. Both Dan and Denise are Certified Instructors and can certainly train anybody who wants to become a certified diver. On top of all that, they are simply good people and enjoy talking to divers. They definitely make you feel welcomed when you visit them.