Blog Archive

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pennsylvania: Dutch Springs

For the month of July, I've been spending every Tuesday evening at the Prospect 
Park YMCA working towards my scuba diving certification.

Five weeks, five classes, one multiple choice exam and two days in Pennsylvania
at Dutch Springs Quarry, I am finally a certified open water scuba diver. It was a whirl
wind of events the past couple of weeks with my triathlon training and scuba diving
certification classes, not to mention work, but it is all leading up to the finale which
will be discussed soon.

But first, Dutch Springs Quarry... 

In 1933 the National Portland Cement Company purchased
about 300 acres from several farms near Nazareth, Pa.

By 1935 the company had completed construction of a cement 
plant and began mining the adjacent limestone for use in cement 
manufacturing. Soon after the mining started, the quarry began 
to flood, and it became necessary to pump water out to keep the 
quarry operating.

When mining operations were stopped during WWII, the water 
rose again.  When the company was ready to resume mining
after the war, the quarry was completely flooded and had
to be pumped dry.

The quarry continued supplying limestone until the 1970s when 
National Portland Cement went out of business.  When operations 
ended and the pumps were shut off, the quarry, now as deep as 
100 feet in some areas, flooded again, becoming a 50-acre lake.

In 1980, the property was purchased and converted into one of 
the largest fresh-water scuba diving facilities in the country.  
Dutch Springs is spring fed from an underground aquifer 
that seeps through the limestone, filtering it to provide 
20 to 30-foot visibility, which makes it ideal for scuba diving. 

Today, Dutch Springs has expanding to include the Aqua Park, 
Sky Challenge, and NorthStar Adventure, which provides 
adventure-based teambuilding experiences for corporations 
and other groups.  Our goal is to make Dutch Springs 
recreational facility with adventure fun for the entire family.

During the two days I did four dives, two a day, varying from 25 to 45 minutes 
with a maximum depth of 52'. As we were getting certified in a quarry vs. the ocean 
(salt water) the water was much colder and we were wearing a very heavy, 7mm, 
Farmer John, wet suit, which is made up of two pieces and extremely hard to get 
on and off.

Waking up at 6am both days, driving 1.5 hours, diving, and driving 1.5 hours 
home was exhausting. Even though I had a blast, I was glad that the weekend had 
come to an end and I was officially certified. Thankfully Sara went with the the first 
day for a refresher drive so I had some company and some support during my first dive! 

... and August Adventure: Part II, will be announced shortly!

1 comment:

  1. When I saw the first picture I got a little nervous! haha! You & Sara are going to have a blast! Congrats on your certification!