Exploring the silent world of lakes
Diving in lakes always appeared to me much less attractive than diving in sea or in old quarries. I didn`t like the poor visibility, I simply couldn`t enjoy watching flocks of fish and no matter how hard I tried, I wasn`t able to feel even smallest thrills while swimming in any lake.
After few not really attractive dives I focused on quarries, old stone-pits in the south of Poland (such as Zakrzówek in Cracow or Jaworzno near Bielsko-Biała), with great visibility and many attractions designed for divers (like sunken airplanes, cars, constructions and trees).
No one was going to convince me to dive in muddy lakes, I was completely sure of it till last month. I had a cold, so I was definitely too sick to dive deeper than 6, maybe 7m, but too healthy to resist the temptation. The lake was just a few kilometers away, so I decided to forget former prejudices and take my equipment for a small dive.
It was a jackpot!
Lakes- silent worlds
It would be impossible to write about every lake in Poland. Every one of them is unique and has something special to offer. In summer the water above the thermocline (average depth, when you find thermocline is usually 7-8m) is usually warm, under thermocline temperature suddenly falls to 6ºC.
Hańcza lies in north-east of Poland. It is the most famous and popular among divers lake. It is also the deepest lake in country, with 106 meters. Hańcza is different than any other Polish lakes, with dark and cold waters, huge stones, poor underwater fauna and flora and steep walls shelving to the bottom, where they disappear in darkness. Thermocline is usually at 6 meters, and below that you can expect temperature about 4 degrees. Visibility is good, for a lake of course, below 20 meters it`s between 6-12 meters, and below, in deeper part even 8-15 meters. Water is always very cold and very clean, thanks to local streams and rivers.
In Hańcza lake divers can find some attractions- wooden boats from Middle Ages (36 meters) or big monument of Mother Mary undoubtedly are going to leave great memories. Underwater springs, and steep walls are red because of iron, huge boulders are natural decoys for many divers.
Many divers lost their lives in those black and silent waters, but neither big amount of accidents nor extremely cold water couldn`t scare them away.
It is popular lake among technical divers, TMX dives and trainings. Most intense Hańcza divers are looking for small fish that lives near the bottom, on 100m.
You can find here two diving centers to fill your tanks with air, nitrox or trimix and ask for help in case of emergency.
This unbelievable beautiful lake lies in the west part of Poland, near Zielona Góra. It could be easily compared with famous Plitvice lakes in Croatia, with its light blue, green and turquoise colours and absolutely charming forest surroundings. Maximum depth is 56m, but all the pretty views are above, at no more then 7 meters. It was a lake, that stole my heart after few moments. Autumn, reddish leaves, old struck trees and branches created perfect conditions for fish, like pikes, perches, roaches, breams and many other. In rushes, near the shore, you can meet many krabs and small fish. It is the best idea to choose sunny day for diving, because you can then admire all the beauty created by light penetrating surroundings and bringing out the colours- red, green, yellow and different shades of brown.
Just look at the photos, in this case images are better then words.
Unfortunately there is no diving center around, but a CMAS/ PADI instructor who lives there is very helpful and will fill tanks for a small charge.
This lake lies in the middle of Poland and is considered to be the clearest in whole Mazurian lakes region. Best visibility is in winter, but even in summer you can expect 5-6 meters.
Local diving center offers almost everything you can imagine, except for trimix, but you won`t be needing this, as the maximum depth is only 29m and it`s pretty hard to find. Most divers won`t go deeper than 15 meters. Several attractions await under he surface- you can dive along the line and see a bicycle, a small yacht, a car and huge pipes, great for buoyancy training.
Divers, who prefer nature won`t complain either. Narty lake is famous for large pikes, accustomed to divers and diverse fauna and flora.
Text: Daria Boruta
Photos: Jacek Bierancki