So I went to the nearby lake this weekend; to do what else? Dive, of course. I was with some of my friends from AZ-DiveBuddies, some chose to camp overnight, two brought boats, and it was generally a great weekend; camping, grilling, and of course diving. I dive freshwater a lot I know, and some say it’s not as cool as saltwater; but the nearest saltwater is 4 hours away, so I stay local most of the time, and besides; Arizona has a lot to offer in terms of freshwater diving. Between Mohave and Mead there’s plenty to see and do underwater, and Lake Pleasant is a nice little nugget of fun just north of the Phoenix area.
So the water at Pleasant this weekend was decent, visibility away from the boat and dive classes traffic was actually slightly better than 10 feet and even 15 feet in some places. The fish are spawning, the sun was shining, new students were in the water taking their first steps towards the awesomeness that is diving, I was in the water without a hood, oh; and there was trash. Everywhere. And yes, I did just say awesomeness. Back to the trash. Everywhere. I couldn’t swim in any direction without seeing a bottle or a can. Luckily my dive buddy was prepared. He had a bag, and we started collecting as we moved. We boat dove near the center of the lake, and guess what? More trash. Everywhere. But that wasn’t what bothered me the most. I don’t mind picking things up as I dive.
My biggest concern this weekend was the insane amount of boats that blew past my dive buoy and our boat (complete with dive flag) at stupid speeds, and well within the 100 yards that is recommended, a few boats were even as close as 25 yards. The local law enforcement (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Dept.) stood there, and watched, and did nothing. This is typical for them though, so I’m not complaining; but I will say this: I sincerely hope it doesn’t take an accident for there to be any enforcement of dive flag law in the state of Arizona. The Fed at lakes Mead and Mohave are sadistic about enforcing all boating and flag laws, but that’s where it stops, the state and county LE organizations just seem to not care. I’m beginning to feel unsafe at Lake Pleasant, and not just as a diver, but with a boat as well.
It’s not going to stop me from diving, though. Seriously, as dangerous as it is; I’d still rather be diving. Just for those diving in the future, remember to be safe and watch out for those that aren’t watching for you. Diving is supposed to be fun, without the hassle of a near heart attack on the surface. Always use flags and buoys, and surface markers if you know you’re surfacing away from your buoy or boat. Be safe, and have fun; and be extra careful at Lake Pleasant!
Dive Safe. Dive Often.