Dive Arkansas


 

It might be surprising to learn that there are over 30 different scuba diving spots to explore in the state including clear lakes, scenic rivers and deep quarries. “I think there are many unaware of how vast the dive community is in Arkansas,” said Terri Bernard, a dive instructor at the Dive Shop in Little Rock.  “Arkansas has some of
the most beautiful lakes and streams in the country. Most, offering excellent visibility.”

To help spread the news on this fact, the Dive Arkansas Challenge was created. This mission is to inspire divers to travel Arkansas and explore the diving opportunities here.

Dive facilities across the state have come together for the project and participation is simple. Sign up at an Arkansas dive shop that is part of the project. A list can be found here.

Get your initial logbook stamp then grab one or more of your certified dive buddies and dive a minimum of 3 verified dives at a minimum of 4 different geographic dive locations. (i.e. Lake Ouachita, Greer’s Ferry Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, etc.:)

Upon completion divers will have at least 12 logged and verified dives. Or as many as 100 logged and verified dives if they wish. After a few dives, take your logbook to the dive shop you chose and receive a stamp on each dive. Each stamp is worth one prize entry ticket at a recognition banquet on October 6.

The Dive Arkansas project was initiated by Dive Shop owner Mike McCrory and Bernard. It started with a conversation regarding specific questions they heard all the time, such as “where is there to dive in Arkansas?”

“We felt we needed to do something to educate potential and already certified divers, while also giving them a venue that would introduce them to the vast opportunities our state has to offer,” said Bernard.

During their research, they found a program developed for divers in Texas.  “It seemed to address the very issues we wished to address here,” said Bernard.  From that, they developed a very similar program for the state and named it the  ‘Dive Arkansas Challenge’.

“I feel like it will be a very important, annual event for divers living in, or coming to our beautiful state,” said Bernard.

Bernard’s had many memorable dive experiences in Arkansas including her first lake dive in Bull Shoals Lake, watching the feeding patterns of bass and crappie and finding herself in the center of hundreds of schooling white bass. “All experiences are met with wonder every time,” she said. “It’s hard to nail down just one memorable dive.”

Diving is a form of relaxation for most and “there’s a lot that can be learned about freshwater marine life when you’re down there observing it first hand,” said Bernard.  “There are varying types of fish habitats in our lakes, as well as presence of hydras and jellyfish.”  Of note, Arkansas’ freshwater jellyfish are about the size of a penny. Their stings cannot penetrate human skin and are harmless to humans.

As for suggestions for those interested in starting the sport:“Don’t procrastinate,” said Bernard.  “If you think this is something you would enjoy doing, do it now.” For more details on the project, check out www.divearkansas.com.



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