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Mermet Springs, IL Quarry Review

Discussion in 'Central United States' started by PoPo Diver, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. PoPo Diver

    PoPo Diver Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: North Alabama
    28
    12
    3
    Review Number 2!!!! I just (like 4 minutes ago) posted a review of the first site of my diving weekend, and here is number two. Mermet Springs located in Belknap, IL. It boasts the slogan of "Dive in First Class". It's claim to fame is it was a (mostly) full length Boeing 727 airliner. Please note and take heed, their slogan DOES NOT END THERE!! From the moment my father and I arrived at the site on Saturday evening, we were met with friendly faces, warm greetings, and the owner, Glen. We had pre-registered on line so we did our check in to dive on Sunday, 09/30. From there, Glen, who had walked off to check on something, personally found us and gave us a walking tour of the grounds. There are many covered pavilions that are outfitted with picnic tables and separate gear tables. The gear tables sit at the perfect height to rig your gear and have elastic bottle ropes to secured standing tanks. Our number was 35 and there were many more after us. Another positive is the pavilions are powered, with ceiling fans and lights. The quarry has a fully functioning shower house, flushing toilets, and a snack bar with hamburgers, cheeseburgers, light sandwiches, and the like. The niceties don't stop there though. There is an on site gear shop but it sells accessories you would need to complete a dive. The owner stated he believes in shopping at your local dive shop for hard equipment and goods and while those tend to be more pricey than online, I couldn't agree more. He also went on to tell us about the MULTIPLE paddle fish and attractions in the quarry to view. One thing that spoke to my OCD heart was the color coded (that's right, COLOR. CODED.) buoys in the water. White denotes platforms, and orange for attractions. More OCD-ness, the buoys are labeled ( you have to be next to them to see the letter) with the attraction they are on, and the depth (remember, Dive in First Class). Now, not all attractions have buoys, however, there is high quality rope COMPLETE WITH ENGRAVED SIGNS, going from one attraction to another. DIVE. IN. FIRST. CLASS!!! Couple this with the underwater sound system for emergency messages regarding weather, but also so you can dive while listening to some good music. I mean real good, like Aretha Franklin, Lynard Skynard, GOOD. DAG-GUM MUSIC. The morning of the dive started out on an amazing foot for my father, as the staff offers free coffee. Refer to the slogan. Now for the dive profiles:

    1. 09-30-18, entry time of 0818 with a dive time of 55 min. Ambient air temp was 55 degrees F, and at our depth of 40 feet, 66 degree F. All we had to do was descend on a platform and follow the labeled lines. We ended up seeing most of the shallow (less than 40 feet) attractions. Then, we made it to the main (or so we thought) attraction. The Boeing 727. With the tail at 15 feet, the nose sat right at 40-42 feet, and is completely open to swim through. The vis was a little lacking above 25 feet but below the thermocline, opened up to about 25-30 feet. The only thing in the plane that was not swim through was the cockpit. There was some narrow rebar where the door used to be, I'm assuming to keep folks out of it and avoid incident. There are also multiple Cessnas on platforms or suspended for divers to see.

    2. 09-30-18, entry time of 1000 hrs with a dive time of 44 min. Air temp was 66 now and our max depth was 41 feet, again with a chilling 67 degree water. Now is where we say the other stars of Mermet Springs, the Paddlefish. These critters, wow. We were told to go down about 20-25 feet and hover and just wait. We did as instructed and were not disappointed. We were swarmed by about 15 paddlefish, ranging in size from 3 feet to 6 feet in length. We swam back to the 727 and finished out the dive with a wall dive that brought us back to our platform.

    We ate lunch at the on site snack shack and packed up our gear. Now, what's a dive trip without swag right??? While the shop had a decent compliment of accessories, one thing they were not lacking was Mermet Springs stuff :yeahbaby:. Multiple styles and colors of t-shirts, a few hats, du-rags, lanyards, license plate frames, and patches. They also had multiple stack of stickers that were free (as the staff says "the best prices around on stickers").

    Guys and gals, if you are remotely ( I live in North Alabama and we made the trip in about 5 hours) near this place, you have to check it out. The staff is amazing, the facility is top notch, and the diving really is "First Class".
     
    Dark Wolf and drrich2 like this.
  2. PoPo Diver

    PoPo Diver Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: North Alabama
    28
    12
    3
    Holy smokes I can’t believe I forgot to mention this. I’ve never seen a site do this. They have for sale, and reasonably priced at that, a full out dive slate with a map of their quarry on it. It has attractions and depths on the same style dive card as a PADI AOW skills card or dive planner.
     
    Dark Wolf and drrich2 like this.
  3. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    4,978
    3,341
    113
    My home quarry in the Chicago area, Haigh, has a slate map as well. The quarries near you must not do it. Mermet is very nice. I’m not that fond of the monster sized catfish. :wink:
     
    Dark Wolf likes this.
  4. Dark Wolf

    Dark Wolf Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: SW Missouri
    382
    45
    28
    I was fortunate enough to dive Mermet in 07. Top notch site, to say the least! Glad to hear it has only gotten better! Planning a return trip in 19.

    Lobo
     

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