Crater Dive Site Review
have commented that diving in the crater is like diving in a hot
tub. I didn't find it that hot, but it was wonderfully warm,
warm like a bath tub (and y'all laughed at my diver getting into
the bath tub graphic on the Basic Courses page...well now you know).
mentioned above, the crater is located at an altitude of over 5,200'
and so dives should be planned rounding up on the altitude tables
to 6,000'. For computer divers, unless your dive computer automatically
accounts for the change in altitude, you will need to manually change
your altitude settings.
crater was formed thousands of years ago by the depositing of minerals,
forming a hollw rock formation that subsequently filled with local
natural hot spring water. The water inside was discovered over a
century ago and has been enjoyed by bathers and now scuba divers
ever since. According to the resort, the water in the crater is
completely replaced about every 2 days by natural water circulation.
The balmy water temperature varies between 91-96 degrees Fahrenheit.
Above water while inside the crater, it is a warm steamy environment
as long as no one leaves the tunnel door open too long! To quote
one of my favorite movies, Army of Darkness: "Close the door....were
you raised in a barn?"
crater rock itself raises 50'+ above ground level and it is reported
that the water level used to reach almost to the top, but has receded
down to ground (which is a good thing or the tunnel would be underwater...).
The water reaches a maximum depth of about 65', but they don't want
divers to venture much below 45' to avoid stirring up the silty
bottom. From that depth you can easily see the bottom anyway
because on most days the visibility is reoprtedly quite good. I
wouldn't say it is crystal clear due to all the minerals in the
water, but it is a better than an average day in the Northwest.
The crater is hourglass shaped with its widest points, the top and
bottom, at a little over 50' and the narrowest, the middle, at about
a reported 35'.
Life: A plastic sea turtle and a plastic alligator.
You may wonder why I mention these. Well, they will give people
completely new to the underwater environment a little jolt.
Real, not real? Both creatures in nature are typically found
hanging out with little to no movement. Then add that to the
fact that other divers constantly move them to different positions.
Hey, I thought that turtle was plastic AND it used to be
over there!!! Actually Todd, the guy running the scuba desk
in the tunnel told me that there had been unsuccessful attempts
to introduce tropical fish to the crater. So, no life except
other divers, snorkelers, and hot tubbers.
Important Dive Site Notes: Reservations
are required to teach classes and highly suggested for recreational
dive use because the crater is not that large and can only accomodate
so many divers in the water at one time. Use the mineral formed
ridges of the crater walls and the suspended objects (PVC pipe,
wagon wheel and platform) to orient yourself in midwater and maintain
Water movement: None except for the occasional
bubbling of hot springs at the base of the crater.
The crater is at a very high altitude (5,200+'), and therefore must
be calculated as a 6,000' dive. Although the bottom of the crater
is only about 65', it must then be calculated at a depth of over
80'. Additionally, if you are planning on driving anywhere after
diving, you will need to consider your route and plan an appropriate
surface interval time as there are several mountain passes in this
area. Changes in altitude by traveling over a mountain pass can
cause similar effects to a diver's body as flying after diving.
Oh and one more potential hazard is the occasional out-of-practice
diver bumping into you...
Directions: This site is located in the city
Homestead, Utah about an hour South of Salt Lake City and a half
hour South of Park City. For accurate directions, I suggest using
a map for specific directions based on where you'd be traveling
and other information: The crater is run by the Homestead
Resort. More information and diver rates may be found on their Web
site by clicking the following links: Crater
info and Crater
Nicolle's personal note: This
site is not one I would personally travel to for the sole purpose
of recreationally diving. There is almost nothing to see in the
crater other than admiring the formation of the crater itself. It
is, however, a good training site for instructors who have student
divers within the vicinity if warm water is desired and it is more
economical to travel to Homestead than to a tropical locale. It
is also certainly a place to experience if you are conveniently
in the nearby area or there are other activities such as skiing
that would interest you in planning a trip to the Homestead/Park