Norfork Lake / Jordan Marina May 2014
If you haven’t heard, this last winter in the Midwest was one for the record books with heavy snow, ice, and cold temps. It’s starting to warm up in the Midwest – Finally! This can only mean one thing….it’s time to get out and dive.
Once again our good friends Denise and Dan at Jordan Marina reached out to us in early April enticing us with 45 foot viz to get down to Norfork Lake and catch some of the best viz in Mid-America. We once again missed the best of it, but as Memorial Weekend came upon us we finally made it down. The viz was still fairly good with some areas reaching into the 25-30 foot range. The water temp seemed to be climbing each day, but with the strange weather patterns of one-week summer heat and the next fall like conditions the lake didn’t know what to do.
This trip we thought we would try and take in as many of the dive sites the lake has to offer while at the same time trying to avoid as much of the holiday weekend crowd as possible. Even with the additional holiday crowds, the lake was comfortable for everybody. Definitely, not like some of the other lakes where it is almost too dangerous to attempt to be on top of the water, let alone under the water on a holiday weekend.
We visited the Dynamite Shack near the dam. Our first attempt was not too successful trying to swim from shore to find it. On our 2nd attempt, we dropped anchor right on top of the shack from the boat and descended down the anchor line right next to the shack. This is a building made of timbers used years ago to store the dynamite when they originally built the dam. A fascinating structure after all these years of being submerged in the lake.
We visited The Ark and again didn’t fool around and simply dropped anchor right next to the ship. I have to tell you these GPS Coordinates are dead on. This was our first dive on The Ark and not really sure why we hadn’t dove it before – probably because it is a fairly long swim from the shore. The Ark is maybe a 60’ cruiser sitting right side up in approximately 40’ of water. Definitely an interesting dive.
We wanted to try and find the Moody Homestead (old home structure), but a houseboat had taken up residence for the weekend on the site so we went next door and dove the A1 Wrecks. This dive is in about 20’ of water and consists of several small boats. Not the most challenging dive, but something for beginners.
One of the more interesting dives on the lake is the School Bus. What reputable dive location does not have a school bus to dive on? This one is a little different. It kind of resembles a school bus, but is actually a barge with a school bus structure on top. I don’t know the history of this, but it probably is something they used once upon a time on the lake or river to transport people. I don’t know this for sure and only guessing.
We had been hearing some rumors of a sunken plane from other divers in the area. Not a lot is known about this and how it actually came to be. Maybe it was simply luck, but we actually found the plane. It is a small passenger plane in fairly good shape.
We also had to do our normal dive around the Cliffs by Jordan Marina. You never know what treasures you will find and this time we found several sunglasses including some nice Oakleys, a watch, and a water logged I-Phone. I’m sure somebody was having a bad day when they lost these items.
Finally, if you have read some of our previous blogs about Norfork Lake and Jordan Marina you know how impressed we are with Jordan Marina. The facility is simply one of the best-run marinas we have ever visited. The owners, Dan and Denise, are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet and make it a point to do everything they can to make your visit enjoyable. They cannot do it alone and rely upon a well-oiled staff. In talking to Dan, they have a young team this year, but you really would not know it. Much of their help is made up of high school and collage kids. Let me tell you these are not your typical kids, they are go-getters arriving for work early in the morning and leaving late in the day. In-between they are constantly helping customers in the store, fueling up boats, cleaning boats, and in general attending to whatever needs to happen. We were very impressed with how they were always there to help customers and believe it or not with a smile and often times with some small talk. This really makes you feel like you are appreciated as a customer.
Our site is dedicated to telling you about some of the special dive locations in the Midwest. If not for that, I would try and keep Norfork Lake a secret, but that isn’t what we are about. We highly recommend that you take time to check out Norfork. The diving is best in the spring, but really pretty much most of the year you can find some good diving. We have dove it pretty much every summer month and had some awesome dives each time. If you don’t want to hassle with the heavy neoprene, we enjoy diving Norfork in August in just our swim trunks and dive gear. The biggest draw for us, other than the fine folks at Jordan Marina, is that Norfork is not the typical tourist lake with hundreds of boats and SeaDoo’s zipping by you constantly. Much more laid back and let’s face it probably the most dive sites of any lake in the Midwest. Check your calendar and get your trip scheduled. When you get down there, stop in and say Hi to Dan and Denise and let them know your friends at Midwest Muck Diving sent you.
Until then Be Safe and enjoy the dive season………