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Diving into Darkness - 2024 edition

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Chris J.
Diving into Darkness - 2024 edition


This is a book-on-your-own trip! This trip is to dive the underground lake at Bonne Terre Mine in Missouri on the weekend of April 6-7, 2024, and then to stay around for the total solar eclipse at about 2 pm local time on Monday, April 8.

The dives at Bonne Terre Mine are guided, and if you haven't been there within the past year or so you have to do the beginner trails. You can do this with a basic Open Water certification, as in nearly all cases you are able to pop back up to the surface with no overhead environment. It's a neat dive, with lots of artifacts from when it was an active mine, but it's also a bit dark. The guides carry bright lights (one leads the group, and another follows behind). You have to walk down steps to reach the dive platform, and walk back up to the surface after every dive (plus carry your gear back up at the end of the weekend of diving). They provide tanks and fills in the mine; I'm bringing my own gear, drysuit, and weights. The water temperature is 52 F.

The center of the path of totality of the solar eclipse passes about 70 miles south of Bonne Terre on Monday at 2 pm, with about 4 minutes duration. If you haven't see a total solar eclipse before, it's pretty amazing when the corona of the sun pops out after the moon occludes our main view of the sun! No guarantees on weather (cloud cover), of course. When we did this in 2017, Waze was able to direct us on county roads to get north so we had only about 45 minutes extra on the drive back to Chicagoland.

Here's an interactive viewer of the path of the eclipse. 19:00 or 7 pm UTC is 2 pm in Missouri.
See also this web site, which includes (as Fig. 3) the average cloud cover by region based on 2000-2020 data:

This is a book-on-your-own trip. Call West End Scuba in St. Louis at 314-209-7200 to book (I think it's $85 per dive, with nitrox extra). See if you can join Chris Jacobsen's dives (I'm doing 6 dives on nitrox; my wife is coming but will skip the dives as she's done them before). I also booked lodging at the Super 8 in Bonne Terre:
One can also stay at the Mine, and there are additional hotels nearby.

This is the last total solar eclipse the midwestern USA will experience until 2045!

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