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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scuba Dive Utah's Desert Hot Springs

Sunset magazine has this interesting article about scuba diving at "Bonneville Sea Base," a complex of developed hot springs near the south edge of the Great Salt Lake, just west of Salt Lake City. The article notes that scuba is a popular activity in Utah: "It ranks as one of the top 15 states with the highest percentage of divers per capita in the nation."

The Crater at Homestead Resort also offers a great hot springs scuba experience.

Below are excerpts from the article.

What Utah does not have ― and you may have noticed this if you've ever visited here ― is an ocean. An ocean of any kind. Which is why Nelson and her husband and d partner George Sanders had to create a substitute.

"A lot of the hot springs had problems," Nelson recalls. "Too hot, too something." Finally, in the Great Salt Lake Desert near the town of Grantsville, they found a series of warm saltwater springs. These, they decided, would become Bonneville Seabase, named for prehistoric Lake Bonneville that once occupied this terrain.

Seabase has four main dive areas: White Rocks Bay, Habitat Bay, Bubbling Sands, and the Abyss. White Rocks Bay is roofed so divers can use it during winter months when the air temperature hovers at zero. Habitat Bay teems with pompano and puffers and angelfish, many of which are rescued fish ― some, for example, retirees from the flashy aquariums at Las Vegas casinos. There are also two nurse sharks.

Then it's my turn. Like skydiving, scuba was something I had always wanted to do that scared me. Now I have a chance for my first lesson. Nelson and her son, Lorin, suit me up, and I dive with him into Habitat Bay, down, down. And, after one moment of panic, I am diving. I breathe through the regulator. I glide forward. I feed romaine lettuce to the angelfish.

... And I become a convert. Like the desert, underwater is a hostile environment you can learn to love...


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