The cobble stone road leads directly to the soil separator, to 30 meters in depth and then continues as a sand path to the deepest part of the lake. The street is easy to find due to the curbstone. The cobble stones are partially covered in sediments. At two locations the cobbles are covered due to landslides, but you only need to dive straight ahead and you will find the road again, seeing as the road runs straight all the way until the soil separator. In the area between the street and the shore several small trees grow, which regrettably lose more and more branches due to careless fin kicks. After the fish spawning time swarms of thousands of tiny bass like to spend their time here. On the other side of the road you will see swells and anchorages where the conveyor belts used to run. You can also find small ducts for shut-off valves for the water pumping lines along the curbstones.
The ducts are full of mud, so that the shut-off valves can only be felt for. In places empty oil drums litter the street and a sheet metal pipe lays on the road, which in the past could have been swam through. Parallel to the street at a distance of about 3 – 10 meters runs a steep slope, which runs out to a depth of 45 – 55 meters. At depths of 3, 6 and 12 meters training platforms are next to the road for beginners training. On weekends lively training is held here and often visibility gets better after the first platform. This diving location lies on the south side of the lake and is in shadows all day long.
The Conveyor belts
Parallel to the road run old swells and anchorages for conveyor belts, which used to transport the chalk from the soil separator to the factory. All over the lake old pieces of the conveyor belts can be found which the fish like to use as shelter.
In the past a conveyor belt ran directly into the front aisle of the soil separator to transport the chalk which was separated from stone. After mining operations were halted the conveyor belts were almost completely removed. Another moveable conveyor is located on the west bank at a depth of 13 meters.
Concrete rubble silos
These are about 1.5mx2m large vats that are generally found on construction sites today. During cement production these were used to fill several machines and furnaces with ground chalk. Originally two “concrete-bombs” were settled at a depth of 45 meters, below the steep slope at entrance 1. To allow beginners to view the silos one was raised in 1996 to a depth of 23 meters and stood up right next to the curbstone. The rubble silos are marked with buoys.
The first car is a metallic blue Mitsubishi, which was used by the DLRG to haul equipment in the past. At first the car was at a depth of 25 meters, then was raised to 15 meters and pushed back down the slope by vandalizing divers. In times past the car was without a engine, brake lines, tank etc. but was still in good condition.
Meanwhile the car is totally demolished and could earn the name of “wreck.” After the fishes spawning time small swarms of fish find shelter here. It now lies at a depth of 20 meters on the south side of the lake and is best visit during a dive early in the morning.
Car 2The second car is a VW Polo which lies directly in front of the blue Mitsubishi. This car was sunken as a film prop for the show “notruf.” In the film a woman and her child drove into the Hamburger basin, it was filmed here for visibility reasons.
The formerly white car looks very demolished because vandalizing divers pushed it down the steep slope and it hit bottom at 51 meters in depth. In years past it stood on the road, then directly on the boundary of the fish farm, then by the flier and now by the other car. There is not much left of the car, but has reached cult status in the meantime.
Soil seperatorThe soil separator is located at 32 meters depth at the end of the cobble stone road. It is a 12 meter high concrete structure with an adjacent bridge and underground tunnels. The separator was used to separate chalk from flint stones that was brought there by three large mining trucks. The chalk was transported on a conveyor belt through the underground passages. In one passageway the operator has his little hut in which to this day stands a little stove and pallet.
Tool benches and metal lockers can still be found in the back area as well as assorted replacement parts and tools that lie in the chalk-mud. The passage ways were locked down in 1996 by a diving company. Within the separator two large air bubbles have formed in which you can converse with one another. At this depth it takes very long to fill your jacket per inflator, which means ice can form within your regulator!!! Those that would like to talk to each other here must talk very quietly and slowly because of the massive echo.
The air in the bubble is only suitable for a short stay!!! The adjacent bring was used for the mining trucks to dump the chalk into the funnel. Today an unloading truck stands on the bridge! Underneath the funnel is where the actual soil separator was located, which was removed before the pumps were shut off. Directly by the steep slope, in front of the separator, at a depth of 43 meters, there are large wooden stairs that used to lead to the pump station at 120 meters depth. The best time to dive here is generally early in the morning, seeing as visibility is not too clouded then. In the mornings and evenings the sun shines towards the separator and lights it up significantly. During mid-day, especially during the winter months, it is shady here because the sun isn’t as high in the sky.
The aforementioned pumping station is still under the lakebed today. The water ran out of underground springs into the pit and was pumped up to the factory where it was used for production of cement. Excess water was pumped out via small canals. The pumping station was buried after a waste dump on the western slope slid into the lake during mining operations. This waste flattened the lake out to the current 60 meter depth. Between the depths of 55 and 60 meters the lakebed is as flat as a soccer field and has no interesting diving locations. The western slope has no steep side due to the land slide, and runs down gently with several notches to the lakebed.
The truck is a Mercedes Atego with a kipper tower. The truck is relatively new and is still complete, although without any machine or oil-containing parts. It is located with a raised kipper directly on the bridge to the soil separator as if it was dumping its chalk load into the separators funnel. We tried to simulate a situation from the working days of the mine. The mannequin “Lily” sits in the driver’s cabin to represent the truck’s driver. During good visibility the truck seems impressive from all sides and you can successfully imagine how work was conducted here. The sinking of the trunk was very extensive and took a total of three days! For this several lifting bags of 2.5 tons and one lifting bag of 5 tons was put to use.
At a depth of about 35 to 55 meters an old forest is located with trees that are about 10 meters tall. The trees stand directly on the edge of the steep slope and are coated in a white layer of lime. It is essential to keep an adequate distance because the trees branches are very fragile and break easily, and in the future the forest would only consist of bare trunks. If diving near the trees is conducted you should expect lower visibility because the fine coating of lime falls off of branches easily. The forest is prettiest when viewed like a bird, gliding with a sufficient distance above the tree tops. Around mid-day is when the best light conditions are in this area. The distance from entrance 5 is about 200 meters.
Flyer Piper 28
At entrance 0, at 10 meters depth, a free floating Piper 28 flyer can be found, which was owned for over 20 years by Alan Shepard. Mr. Shepard was an astronaut, he was the first American man in space in 1961 and in 1971 the fifth man on the moon. The flyer is lacquered neon yellow and is visible from far away. When in approach the flyer it is easy to startle one’s self because there is a skeleton sitting at the control column. On the back seat lie and open money case with money sacks and bombs in it, a radio and a pistol. The origins of the money case and the skeleton have not been clarified to this day…!? You can reach the flyer with a compass setting of 70 degrees from entrance 0. It hangs from a large pipe socket foundation at 27 meters depth. When you approach the flyer from the bottom it looks as if it is flying over your head! An approach from the water’s surface is also very interesting as you cannot see the lakes bottom! Regrettably some divers have broken open the locked door and have stolen the fake pistol, since this, sharp metal pieces are present here!
At entrance 4 at a depth of 14 to 17 meters lies a 13 meter sailing yacht with 3 cabins, a machine room and a large helm cabin. The main mast of the right-up resting wreck starts at 5 meters depth and is marked with a buoy of the water’s surface. The stern end of the yacht extends about 1 meter over a drop off into free water, which gives an impressing view by an approach from below. The wreck is a perfect training object for “wreck diving.” It lies about 25 meters next to an old mobile home.
Mobile home 1
The first mobile home is a former DLRG guard wagon, which during strong autumn storms was blown into the lake. In the beginning the mobile home floated on the surface of the water due to the fact that it is for the most part made of wood. After a rescue attempt was too extensive and expensive, the mobile home sank to a depth of 25 meters. All of the guard’s equipment was also lost. Nowadays only several scattered items lie on the lakebed near the site of the accident. Seeing as the mobile home has turned rather green with time, many divers write their names in the algae which in turn slightly destroy the ghostly atmosphere. The door is rather small so you should look through the windows. Generally this kicks up a lot of sediments, because to do so you almost have to kneel, and makes visibility low. The mobile is visible all day, because the sun shines on it from all sides.
Mobile home 2
In a covert action at night a diver tried to sink 3 mobile homes. One was damaged so badly that only the floor plate sank. The Styrofoam walls were recovered from the water’s surface. The second mobile home sank to a depth of 38 meters and is easily accessible for experienced divers, but it is not marked with a buoy. It lies about 30 meters to the north of the first mobile home. The third mobile home was luckily recovered completely intact due to the Styrofoam insulation keeping it from sinking.
North bank steep slope
The northern bank has a steep slope that runs down nearly vertically from 1 to 35 meters in depth. At 35 meters it goes into a steep oblique angle then ends at around 55 meters. Here you can find occasional small bushes and several little things that have been lying there for possibly 100 years. In the meantime trash from today’s world can be found underneath the bulkhead that was just tossed over the fence. Within the slope itself you can find several small “caves,” no larger than 2 to 3 square meters. You should not stick your head in too far because rocks will fall when bubbles rise up from your regulator. In several small caves arm thick eels have found shelter. In several places the slope has overhangs that are rather impressive when you start surfacing directly next to the slope. This diving spot lies at the northern bank and is in direct sunlight all day. Due to the great depth here beginners are at the wrong place. As you can never really see the bottom here, this spot has something special for experienced divers as well.
The steel mesh is actually large wire mesh fences put up to secure the slope. They are located above the driveway to the soil separators bridge, and were used in the past to to prevent rock fall upon persons or the mining vehicles. Today they are so strongly rusted that they will soon fall to the lakebed by themselves. In some places they hang 1 meter away from the bank and could have been swam through if it were not so dangerous. A large amount of sediments fall down when they are swam through and it would be very easy to entangle yourself here. Occasionally larger fish find their shelter here. The best time to visit here is early in the morning, because at other times this location gets no sun.
This boat is an 8 meter long sail boat made from fiberglass-reinforced plastic, which is still completely rigged. The boat still has all fittings, ropes and sails. The boat has a small cabin which still has tableware in it. To prevent entry into the cabin several strutting were fitted to the boat. Unfortunately in 2005 the boat was moved without authorization by several divers to a slope and then sank to 51 meters. Luckily it was not damaged during this process. After the not so simple Lifting operation it was set down up-right at 12 meters depth on the road.
These are two pipes that used to house electric cables for the pumping station and the electric excavators. In some places they are buried in the slope and emerge again further down. At the deepest part, under 50 meters, they run into the lakebed. It is strange to imagine that they run another 50 meters into the ground. The lake has many relics of the times when the mine was in operation dispersed about, but these or often only found when diving about without a specific goal in mind. This is especially the case in the newer rear part of the lake. You can find oil drums, cable rolls 2.5 meters in diameter, lines, wooden racks, garbage cans, large hand carts, wall remains from small transformer houses and sheds, signs, shovels etc. in this area. Even old street signs can be seen, although nobody rightly knows their origins. Along the northern bank in shallow water old pipelines and sample chambers can be found. A large, old set of wooden stairs is located under the church, although it slipped down not too long ago and lies at 20 meters depth now. This corner of the lake is only reachable by swimming or by pedal boat. The distance from the soil separator is about 400 meters. This area generally has good visibility, as people rarely dive here.
These statements only describe the diving objects briefly and superficially
For more information a member of the Kreidesee team is always available.
© Holger Schmoldt 2010