This past weekend myself and a few other people went up to Natural Springs Resort in New Paris, OH to do some Scuba diving. New Paris, OH is located just north off of I70 right along the Indiana / Ohio border which is about an hour to an hour and a half drive from the Cincinnati area.
I was a bit nervous about the site, as I was not sure what the conditions would be like. Our last experience diving in Ohio at Stonelick Lake had not turned out too well.
Natural Springs was fantastic though!
The week before, we (Melissa, David (Meilssa’s brother), Jess (David’s wife), and myself) reserved a ‘rustic’ campsite for two tents. The plan was to go up Saturday morning, do a few dives during the day, camp that night, and do some more dives on Sunday. We had rented some 5/4 wetsuits and weights down in Cincinnati to bring with us. We were able to rent tanks at the dive site for $8. The fee to scuba at Natural Springs is $17 / day which also includes one tank refill. We ended up doing two dives on Saturday which totaled $25 dollars to Natural Springs.
When we first got there, we were happy to see that the visibility of the water was pretty good (about 10 to 15 feet). They had a nice dive shack set up near the water which opened at 10am. Picnic tables around the area made it easy to relax and put on gear.
Throughout the first half of the day we had a few delays due to thunderstorms in the area. But this didn’t last all day. Melissa and I got to the dive site around 8:30AM not realizing that the dive shop didn’t open until 10AM. We got in our wetsuits and snorkeled around the area a bit. Around 11:30AM we were able to do our first dive. We didn’t have much of a specific dive plan since the water wasn’t too deep or vast. We saw on a map that there were sunken items scattered throughout the quarry, so we set off to find them. On the first dive we found some giant sewage tubes that were separated near the bottom, attracting fish life I am sure. We also saw lots of lake fish (Sunnies and Catfish among others) and found an old sunken Buick at the end of our dive.
The water was very pleasant. For the first 17 feet, my computer registered the water temperature at 77 degrees. What wasn’t too pleasant was going below 17 feet, though. You could see the shimy of the thermocline at 17 feet, and as soon as you crossed it and were below 17 feet, the water temperature dropped to the mid 50’s. Melissa’s computer read 50 degrees as the lowest temperature, while my computer only found 57 degrees. Either way, it was uncomfortably cold. The plus side is that the only place that the quarry really goes below 17 feet is in a long trench. If you want to spend time down there, you can, but it is easily avoidable.
The first dive lasted 43 minutes.
After the first dive we were instructed to find a rope near the area we got in the water and follow it out to find all the goodies that were under the water. After an hour surface interval, we got back in and did as instructed. We followed the rope and first found a 10 foot x 10 foot wooden platform that various fish liked to hang around. Melissa and I sat on the platform and played paper/rock/scissors and blew ring bubbles for a bit before moving on. Following the rope we also found a sunken row boat, big screen TV, computer and computer desk (where I made sure to hit CTRL+ALT+DEL since it was a PC), and the Buick again. It was very easy to follow the rope, which made things very nice. After reaching the end of the rope we explored a bit more before ending the 44 minute dive when we heard thunder and saw lightning when surfacing.
The camping that night was very nice as well. The weather cooperated after it’s last outburst during our final dive and the sun even came out for a bit. There were only 10 rustic campsites for people who didn’t require power or water on their site, three of which were occupied which gave us lots of room to relax, cook over the fire, have some marshmallows, and play hillbilly golf.
The next day we decided we didn’t want to pay the $25 dollars again when we could only dive in the morning before having to leave, so we went to their beach instead. It is an OK beach. The sand was hard with a good amount of rocks scattered in, but not unpleasant. They had a diving board and two large platforms floating in the water a ways from shore. Most of the beach area had a depth of 11 feet or more, so all the kids swimming stayed in a smaller, shallower area. We took a frisbee out to the platforms and threw it around for a bit though. I think we were supposed to pay for a wristband to get into the beach area (or maybe that was only for people that were not camping), but no one was checking, and we didn’t see any other wrist bands, so we didn’t worry about it.
Overall, we all enjoyed Natural Springs very much and are looking forward to getting back there sometime soon. I would high recommend checking it out.
Natural Springs Webpage: http://www.naturalspringsresort.com/