Ocean First at Blue Mesa Reservoir

Ocean First   Jul 01, 2022

In a first-of-a-kind trip, Ocean First instructors and divers donned their cold-weather clothes and drove to Gunnison County's scenic Blue Mesa Reservoir for a weekend of exploring what Colorado diving is all about.

Created by the Blue Mesa Dam in 1965, Blue Mesa is the largest man-made reservoir in Colorado and the highlight of a trip to the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Exploring this body of water is all the more dramatic when you consider that it is surrounded by the same ancient rock walls that make up the nearby stunning Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

While it's not the tropics, Blue Mesa has some of the clearest alpine water in Colorado - our divers reported visibility between 10-25 feet, better than most days at Aurora! Throughout the weekend, the divers completed four dives down to depths of 60ft in the 55°F water, including some exploratory diving at the Dillon Pinnacles (the most recognizable geological features of the area). Underwater sights included crawdads, trout, and rocks!

The accommodations at the Blue Mesa Outpost were quaint and cozy, with scenic views of the lake. Firepits sat outside of the log cabins and were a welcome addition to spend time thawing before and after the dives.

Most of the group earned their Altitude Diver certifications in conjunction with the trip, Seth walked away with a well-earned drysuit certification, and everyone earned some serious street cred for diving at 7,500 feet. The folks at the Aquatic Invasive Species inspection station didn't know how to react when a group of divers got in line where boats usually go. In full Halloween spirit, Kent and Ron spent their final dive carving pumpkins!

Overall, the trip offered a great excuse to get out and explore more pockets of Colorado - the possibilities are truly endless! We were thrilled with the positive response from our divers, and we look forward to planning another dive trip to a National Parks Service destination.