More than one certified diver has been posted to Wainwright, and sold their dive gear, assuming there was nowhere to dive in the middle of the Canadian Prairie. Sometime after arriving in Wainwright, they discover Alberta Adventure Divers, and the local diving community, and the local dive sites!
Where are these dives sites? You can dive in many of the lakes around Wainwright and Lloyd. Arm Lake - been there. Schuster Lake - yes, it has fish & weeds. Golf course water hazards - they have lots of silt and lots of golf balls. However, the most popular location is Clear Lake, near Edgerton, Alberta. Clear Lake has a lot to offer divers.
The Public Beach on the west side of the lake is the common access point. Divers can set up at their vehicles and walk their gear down to the dock to enter the water. From the shore it is a bit of a surface swim to get to the drop off. At the drop off, water depth increases from 7’ to 20’+.
If a large group of divers are out (like Alberta Adventure Divers on a Tuesday night!), dive flags may be tied to landmarks. If not, you can carefully descend so you don’t kick up the silt at the drop off and swim east. Within a few kicks, you will either find a boat, a shark, or a line, suspended 2’ off the bottom. You can follow this line either direction, to find the dive course.
The dive course is extensive, with more than two dozen interesting features to check out. These include teaching platforms, Ogopogo, a shark cage, a dive bell and many more. You can see pictures of some of these on our website. One should monitor their buoyancy when swimming between objects at different depths, taking care to vent air as they swim shallower, and add air as they swim to deeper locations. Because the swims are mostly horizontal, changes in depth can easily sneak up on the unsuspecting diver!
The entire course is connected with ropes which are firmly secured. New divers can hold onto these to assist with their buoyancy if required, but within a few dives, they should be able to use the rope as a guideline only. More experienced divers will swim near enough to reach out and grab the rope in the event of a silt-out. Because of the silt bottom, silt-outs are very easy to cause with a typical flutter kick. For this reason, divers are encouraged to stay close to the guidelines or use a frog kick, and use careful buoyancy control to avoid the bottom. Experienced divers can do an entire dive without disturbing any silt. The best way to do this is to dive lots and gain experience! Of course, we can help out to improve skills with courses like Peak Performance Buoyancy.
If you are interested in checking out the flora and fauna, it is worth your while to take a swim along the drop off. You are likely to see schools of minnows and walleye (with their distinctive white tail spot). To lazily swim along the drop off on a warm summer day is a very relaxing experience. It also makes for a great safety stop!
There are a few safety recommendations. If you are diving by yourself, fly a dive flag, and carry it with you for the entire dive. Clear Lake is very popular for all sorts of recreational activities, not just diving. If you are with a group and a dive flag is set up, you should send your DSMB up every time you surface. This is a valuable skill for warm and cold water divers. If you need to brush up on your skills, you could consider the DSMB specialty.
For divers who are looking for a buddy, feel free to contact the store, follow “Alberta Adventure Divers” on Facebook, or check out the “Lloydminster and Area Divers Connect” Facebook page. As well, please join us on Tuesday nights! Every Tuesday night from the beginning of June to September Long Weekend we are out with the Alberta Adventure Divers trailer, and can provide on-site air fills. If you need gear, contact the dive store by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 780-842-2882. Ask about the Dive Night gear rental discount!
Even after hearing about all the things to see underwater, many people still ask “WHY?”. Of course, there are many reasons. When you are diving locally you will have the opportunity to improve your dive skills through practice and training. When you go on a dive trip, because of your experience the diving is easy, and you can enjoy the diving without focusing on the diving. As well, Tuesday night dives provide an opportunity to meet other divers, and discuss a shared interest. Warming up around the campfire after a dive while discussing the things divers usually discuss can be as much fun as the diving itself!