Trip Start Aug 08, 2009
5Trip End Aug 19, 2009
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I had planned on going to Abilene, TX and diving an abandoned nuclear missile silo to the south, but wasn't able to arrangeon such short notice.
Instead I divert north and east to Lake Tenkiller State Park in eastern Oklahoma. I checked out it's description on the Diving USA website and liked what I read. It's popular with divers and
even has a roped-off scuba park with submerged boats, a bus and even a small plane for divers to explore.
Nautical Adventures Scuba
But before getting wet, I drive to Cookson, six miles east of the park, to get an air fill at Nautical Adventures Scuba
Diver Death Trap
My first dive is at a site called Crappie Point, but I'm not optimistic--after all my driving I was arriving late in the afternoon--and Lake Tenkiller is also very popular with the boating and jetskiing crowd. That, combined with a moderate wind had kicked up the sediment to the point visibility was going to be an issue.
I was right. My descent is a slow drop into green static. I can't see a thing until I get to
fifty feet--and then it is just the outline of large rocks. I set a compass heading and begin pushing forward into the murk, waving my dive light beam back and forth like a windshield wiper blade. It doesn't take me long to realize that with visibility so low--this site could be a diver's deathtrap
and make my ascent, again using the tree trunk. I burn off a safety stop at 15, break the surface, relieved and backfin to the shoreline.
Da Plane, Da Plane
I decide to try my second dive in the scuba park--but the visibility isn't much better. Armed with the compass bearings given to me by Nautical Scuba--I head in the direction of the plane. At about 40 yards out--a white fuselage appears in the turbid waters. It's strapped in place with its wings removed, but still offers a welcome haven to curious blue gills. I swim through a hole cut out of the left side and through an enlarged window on the other. I hover over the top and toward the cockpit
A full-sized skeleton is still at the controls. Although just a plastic Halloween-grade set of bones, it still creates an eerie presence in the yellow haze of my light. After playing around a bit more and trying to shoot some video of the fish--I check my air and realize I'm at my predetermined turnaround point. No time for the bus or boats. I swim off my safety stop back to the shallows of the buoy area. As I break the surface--I realize what Lake Tenkiller lacked in visibility--it made up for in stimulating my imagination.