Norfork Lake / Jordan Marina September 2015
I am always amazed how time flies. Here we are again celebrating Labor Day Weekend and enjoying another long weekend at one of our favorite Midwest Diving Spots – Jordan Marina on Lake Norfork in Northern Arkansas.
This year has been a very strange year for the MWMD Crew. I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but this weekend was basically our first dives of the 2015 year. This year life happened and has impacted our ability to get out and dive. We have been spending time taking care of our mothers who oddly enough both have been and still are in nursing homes. Half of the crew celebrated their 25 year wedding anniversary this year and traveled to Europe touring England, Whales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. What an awesome trip, but I was threatened by my Diva Diver that it wasn’t in my best interest to schedule any dives on this trip…..I guess the River Thames really isn’t something I wanted to dive anyway.
I guess if we had to take a year off diving, this year was a good one. Lake Norfork is still flooded out with current lake levels about 16 feet above norm, but dropping about 1 inch a day. Once again the Midwest suffered massive rains in late spring and early summer causing the lakes to rise. Lake Norfork seems to suffer the most being the lower dam from Bull Shoals and Table Rock. The purpose of the dams is to control flooding and Table Rock has much of the tourism dollars so controlling the flooding there is high priority leading to the other lakes filling up more.
If you are familiar with Jordan Marina the lower circle drive is still underwater, the road leading to the boat ramp is underwater, and many of the campsites are also still underwater. Denise even told us they suffered a financial setback due to somebody opening some of the campsite water spigots that were underwater causing themselves to contribute to the lake flooding. We’ll just say they didn’t enjoy that water bill. Regardless, the marina is open and fully functional. They just have had to get a little creative with how they do things.
So, onto the diving. Actually not bad at all. Water temps were in the low 80’s with a lower thermocline around 25 feet. Temps didn’t really fall much at the thermocline. Visibility was a little strange. In general, around 10 feet in the upper layer, then you hit basic blackout between 25-35 feet, but then it opens up around the 40 foot layer. Any dive on the lake under the 40 foot mark was a great dive. The odd thing for us was that normally as you get closer to the dam the visibility typically is always better. However, on this trip the diving seemed better the farther you got away from the dam. We have never seen this before and the folks at Jordan Marina had not either (I’m pretty sure they think we might had gotten narced).
If you have been following us at all you have heard our ramblings about the good folks at Jordan Marina. We simply think they are awesome. We still do! I have to tell you this is a diver’s paradise. This is a full operating marina that caters to everybody that wants to be on the water – to include a top of the line dive shop. Denise and Dan are both divers and know what a diver needs. They can help with anything from air fills, to gear, to an actual dive boat rental, to simply information about the best dive sites and conditions on the lake. They take the time. Their Crew….what can I say. Most of them are young students. I have never seen such a hard working crew dedicated to doing the job. They are there early and stay late. You will not find any of them sitting around, they are always busy pumping gas, greeting customers, attending to the store, cleaning boats, making pizza. Oh yea, the pizza, hot fresh pizza right there at the dock. Here’s our story…we finished a dive and as we were pulling up the anchor we decided it was time for lunch. We grabbed the phone and called in our pizza order to the marina and by the time we got back to the marina the pizza was their waiting for us. As we enjoyed our lunch right there at the marina I couldn’t help but think there isn’t anything better in the world….I’m simply in heaven.
Until then, stay safe and let us know how your trips are going…………