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We just completed our first dive trip to Bluestone in Thomasville NC. I have to say for quarry diving, Bluestone has some of the biggest bang for the buck. For coastal divers its not-so-conveniently located about 3h45m from Wilmington NC... and that was the biggest appeal. It's very down home & laid back, just as we hoped it to be. The only cattle to find are in the nearby fields. It's not crowded...lets keep it that way.
All the divers we encountered were friendly & more than willing to share info and experiences. Bluestone is a GREAT place to certify new divers & there are tons of indepenent as well as dive shop instructors holding classes everywhere.
The staff... outstanding & more than willing to lend a hand lifting a tank or two. Didn't encounter the 'holier than thou' attitude of many larger operations. Just friendly locals running a down home dive op.
The facility... Bluestone is ScubaPro authorized & has an abundance of rental gear. They service & repair equipment on the premises & I believe are in affiliation w/ Blue Dolphin Dive shop nearby (don't quote me...but I'm perty shure). All of their gear is well maintained & the equipment we rented operated perfectly.
The quarry... 19 Acres of abandon limestone quarry. Max depth around 80 feet. Visibility varies at depth & with weather conditions. If you go after a rain storm, you may only be able to see your hand in front of your face. Like all dive sites, it's luck of the draw. Our trip was planned on a dryer weekend, so day 1 had 10-15 foot viz, day 2 was about 5-10 foot. But it's pristine non polutted spring fed quarry water... no funny smelling wetsuits at all, very clean. Thermocline around 20-30 feet yeilds a 15-20 degree drop in temp.
The sights... Fish everywhere. But beware ladies, they like blondes. Carie got pecked perty good & though I smacked her in the head... I SWEAR it was the fish. It has an excellent confinded water area. There are a number of sunken boats including a WWII PT Boat, a Mustang, MULTIPLE dive platforms for classes at various depth, and a moderately long pipe to simulate cavern diving (non cert cave/cavern divers stay out please).
Gear you'll need... A 3mm wetsuit at the very least. Plan on 5-7mm if your staying below the thermocline & wear a hood. Tank refills are only about $4.00 so depending on your dive profile 2 standard tanks are more than enough.
Where to stay... We stayed at the Quality Inn in Lexington right off I-64. It's only 8 mi from the site. I book w/ Hotels.com at abot 63/night. There's also a Days Inn in Thomasville (also listed w/ Htl.cm).
All in all... GREAT dive. Great people. Great quarry. We'll be back, & I'll be posting our trip here on Scubaboard.com. Look forward to seein' ya'll.