Not every trip can be to the crystal-clear ocean, so in between fabulous exotic dive destinations, we spend quite a bit of time in local waters.
All summer long, three out of four weekends of each month (and sometime every weekend), the Crew at Calypso heads out to do some open water diving at one of our local bodies of water.
We are very lucky to have several places from which to choose, especially considering that the drive times vary from only 45 minutes to 3 hours for the longest distance. There is plentiful marine life to see once you get there and nice Ozarks scenery on the way there, making for a delightful day!
Our local dive destinations include a local, retired limestone quarry that was initially stocked with fish about 30 years ago. It is spring-fed, but not to the degree that the water temperature is a problem. The constant, gentle influx of fresh water helps to keep the water clear and healthy, and makes for a perfect environment for plentiful fishes. The crappies, bass, channel catfish, and long-ear sunfish are unafraid and you’ll think you’re diving in an aquarium instead of a rock quarry! The site is close enough that we can do three dives in the morning or the afternoon, making open water evaluations easy and convenient to accomplish.
Beaver Lake in Arkansas is a remarkable dive destination created by the Corps of Engineers when the spring-fed White River was dammed up. There are many sites with a terrific variety of underwater terrains that are attainable by shore, and even more if you have or rent a boat. Some artificial sites have been installed and include a school bus, boats, a helicopter, and more.
There is a cliff face that extends down to 100+ feet that gives many divers their first-time wall diving experience. Being just over an hour away makes Beaver Lake another one of our favorite places to play.
Also less than 2 hours away is Table Rock Lake, the next Corps of Engineers project on the north fork of the White River. The lake is primarily in Missouri but also extends south into Arkansas. The city of Branson is “next door to” the lake, and that means that there is a vast array of things to do when you’re not diving, and for non-diving family members to do while we’re playing underwater. There are music shows, amusement parks, theme parks, shopping, restaurants and hotels galore. Some of the sites are only reachable only by boat yet there is so much shoreline that there’s plenty of places to hop in and enjoy the local waters.
Bull Shoals Lake is yet another body of water created on the same river, but is farther away and further downstream (after Lake Taneycomo). Huge and remote, it is a mecca for fishing and diving, with less boat traffic than most of the other lakes and pristine waters.
We do an annual trip to Bull Shoals for a couple of days of spear fishing, and it is definitely worth the 3 hour drive required to get there. Sometimes you just have to get away from it all to find it all!
Stockton Lake is a handy 1½ hours away and is much smaller than the other lakes. It is such a nice place to go that several of our clients keep their boats there permanently. There’s no spear fishing allowed, but there’s plenty of fish-watching to be had!
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