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When you think about scuba diving in Alabama, there’s a good chance you’ll be thinking about the Gulf Coast shoreline and dreaming about that next beach vacation. But did you know there’s great scuba diving closer to Birmingham?
Blue Water Park, a former quarry in Pelham, provides fun underwater exploration opportunities to practice and learn how to scuba dive. It features training facilities for instructors and students of all ages and skill levels. You can even paddle board on the lake!
Formerly known as Dive Alabama, the popular diving spot which had changed hands on a handful of occasions since the early 2000’s was purchased by Mark DiGiorgio, owner of Scubaadventures Inc, in Birmingham, and reopened in 2016 to provide ‘the premium inland diving experience for the southeast’.
When the park opened, Mark said;
“The park is designed as a place for scuba instructors to come and teach students scuba diving in a controlled environment, and yet give the instructor a wide variety of training facilities like water depth and platforms. And then we offer the average diver a facility to come and practice their skills”.
Where is Blue Water Park?
Blue Water Park is located at 100 Industrial Park Drive, Pelham, AL 35124, which is about 18 miles (or 25 minutes) away from downtown Birmingham. Doesn’t that sound better than a five hour drive to the beach?
The star of the show is the quarry
The 26 acre submerged quarry at Blue Water Park ranges in depth from 4 to 130 feet, with an average depth of 100 feet.
“As a former quarry that’s cut to different levels, it makes great scuba training”, “A lot of people don’t actually know the lake is here. Unlike the area lakes around, this lake is spring fed, so the water tends to be clearer and a little cooler.”
During the summer months, the surface temperature stays around 86 F. The bottom temperature, however, always remains in the 52 F to 54 F range. Visibility ranges from approximately 25 feet in the summer to 50-100 feet in the winter.
You don’t have to own your own diving gear
Mark explains that the park can “provide full service for anybody doing any kind of scuba training, whether it be technical or recreational scuba, we provide everything that you’ll need in order to do that. We have a full line of rental equipment. The only thing you need is to have your scuba card, or come here with an instructor.”
If you do have your own equipment, the park can fill SCUBA tanks and NITROX fills as well.
Explore sunken treasures
There’s no hidden gold (that we know about) but you can still feel like a treasure hunter while exploring underwater attractions such as sunken sailboats, cars, a school bus and even fire trucks!
Can you find them all?
There’s an abundance of aquatic life in the lake
Just as you would expect to see a host of creatures in the ocean, you can also expect to see lots of aquatic life in the lake, including; bass, sunfish, catfish, bream, bluegill, Japanese koi, carp, freshwater jellyfish, and turtles.
I didn’t even know there were freshwater jellyfish!
It’s not all about scuba diving, they have paddle boarding too
There’s an above water way of enjoying the lake too. You can bring your own paddle board or kayak and enjoy the lake for a $7 entrance fee. They also have rentals at $15/h.
Ever wanted to give paddle board Yoga a go? Blue Water Park have teamed up with a local instructor to bring you that opportunity.
This might well be the best alternative when you can’t make the ocean.
Divers can enjoy a full day of diving in the quarry from $27 per day.
Beginners and learners can be connected with experienced instructors to help gain their diving certificates. A range of training plans, from Discover Scuba to Dive Master Certifications (PADI) are offered.
The park offers equipment rentals so all you need to do is turn up.
November- March: By Appointment Only. Mon.- Wed.: By Appointment Only. Thurs.- Closed. Fri.: 10am-5pm. Sat.: 9am-6pm . Sun.: 9am-5pm
Location: 100 Industrial Park Drive Pelham, AL 35124
So what are you waiting for? Dive right in!
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