Diving with Altitude

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Map
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Sunlit silt
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Back at the beach
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Green grown the pond weed

It is not often you get to crack out the BSAC Altitude Dive tables, but when the opportunity to sneak a dive in Lake Jindabyne (915m, over 3000 ft) Rick and I jumped at the chance. Lake Jindabyne is part of the Snow Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme. The dam was completed in 1967 and the old town of ~250 people was relocated to its current location beside the lake. A rummage around the University of Sydney library managed to pull out a map showing both the lake and the old town. While the lake in the map doesn't exactly match Google Maps, it gave the impression that if we went in from East Jindabyne and headed west we would hopefully hit something...well that was the plan.

There is a four wheel drive track off Rainbow Drive just before Alpensee Way, which leads down to a small beach. The lake water looked pretty clear and inviting. We kitted up and did a surface swim out ~200m heading in the direction of the bowling club on the opposite shore. As we descended the clear(er) water lasted ~2-3 m, before there was then a thick layer of plankton and a thermocline and around 15m. Beneath that, it was pitch black, but the visibility improved to ~5 m and the bottom loomed into sight at around 32m . There was fine undulating silt in every direction so we headed off further west, after around 10 min we turned around and headed back. After little more than a hump in the silt, we canned the plan of swimming back to the beach underwater and headed up.