Quail Run (Rolla, MO) August 2012

It’s been a busy year so far and unfortunately we haven’t been able to do as much diving as we had wanted. I did receive an email late one night from our fellow MWMDers saying they were thinking about heading up to Rolla and checking out Quail Run. Huh?? Isn’t Quail Run closed, I thought? Well, not anymore. It’s been a few years since we been there and a fun time for the better half of our dive party since they were originally OW Certified in the quarry back in the day.

It was an awesome day for Mid-August with ambient temps in the 80’s. Although the drive for me was a little over 2 hours, I really enjoyed winding through the back highways. As I pulled into the quarry I was a little shocked to see so many trucks and cars backed up to the quarry. The quarry was full of students working hard to achieve their OW certification. I couldn’t help to think back when I was one of them and how many places I’ve dove since graduating OW.

The quarry has limited accommodations and is basically on the honor system. This day nobody was working the office; so, I pulled out one of the liability forms from the envelope on the front door, filled it out and deposited it with my $15 into the mailbox. In doing so, I wondered exactly how many divers actually do the honorable thing and fill out the forms and make payment. Most divers maintain a high standard of ethics and morals; so, probably everybody or at least a high percentage. As I walked around I noticed there were no covered pavilions except for the pop-ups that people bring with them. The restroom was the traditional blue box Johnny-on-the-Spot. They did have some changing rooms built out of a lumber with hinged doors. Not the greatest accommodations, but very workable for me. While waiting for the rest of the MWMD crew to arrive I gazed into the water and it looked great. You could see the rocks through the water and many fish just begging for me to drop them a little something to eat.

Once everybody arrived, we geared up and into the water. Fairly easy entry points if you walk down the at one time road leading into the quarry. Upon entry, the water was a little chilled due to the spring feeding the quarry, but nothing that true muck divers couldn’t handle. Initially, all that great viz that I thought was there really was not there. The water was fairly murky with a lot of suspended particles – possibly the result of the many students that had been training in the quarry for the weekend. We proceeded with our dive and found patches of basic blackouts to some rather good viz maybe 10-12 feet. The water temp was in the 77-degree range with no noticeable thermocline (I believe max depth is around 35 feet, but we stayed around 20-25’). Not a lot of attractions to be seen except for some old push mowers and a platform or two. But, there were an abundance of very friendly fish – sometimes too friendly wanting to peck at your mask and ears. We circumvented the quarry for about an hour and 20-minute dive. All in all, not a bad day of diving.

So, what is our impression of Quail Run? If your looking for a place to get wet and it’s not too far to drive I would recommend stopping in. It’s not a Mermet Springs or Haigh Quarry, with all the attractions and accommodations, but it is a nice quite quarry to get the gills wet.