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Get Out of Town, | Jan 28, 2016

Dive into scuba

Find an aquatic adventure in a flooded Southern Indiana strip mine.

A sunken car rests at the bottom of Sunset Lake.

As you stand on the shore, your gear weighs you down like a suit of iron armor. In the water, you become weightless.

Take a deep breath. Ten feet deep, the light begins to fade. Twenty feet, you notice the water has become slightly cooler. Thirty feet, rays of sunlight stab through the greenish murk as bass and bluegill swim in and out of visibility, curious about that giant bubbling creature in their domain. At the bottom, you silently land on a large wooden deck, slick with moss.

Another deep breath, and you step off the platform out into the lake bottom, bubbles rising as you exhale. Welcome to life underwater.

All it takes to become a scuba diver is two days of instruction. “We’ve been training a steady five to six new divers every month for about three years now,” says John Wright, dive master at Southern Indiana Scuba in Bloomington.  John and his colleagues will help you become certified as an Open Water Diver, the first level of scuba diving. Beyond that, there’s the Wreck and Rescue Diver ranks, which require knowledge of exploring sunken vessels and what to do if your buddy’s oxygen runs out, respectively. Courses in night diving, navigation and underwater photography are other options.    

Twice a year, the company schedules group trips to diving locations such as the Caribbean or the Mexican coast. But before you go out into the ocean, it’s good to get some practice. Southern Indiana Scuba takes you to Sunset Lake once you’ve reached the final phase of your training.

Sunset Lake, Linton

Depth: 12-30 ft.

Directions: Go west on State Road 45 and continue west on State Road 54. Turn right on County Road 1000 W, then left on County Road 200 N.

Equipment you’ll need:

$5 entrance fee

Scuba mask (goggles that cover your eyes and nose)



The rest of your gear can be rented from Southern Indiana Scuba.

What you’ll discover at the bottom:

A stone angel called “The Sunset Angel”

The shell of a retro school bus, placed there by Greene County

A two-door car with the trunk rusted away

An old speedboat, sunken on purpose

Who you’ll see at the bottom:

Jellyfish (seriously!)


Red ear (fish)


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