Billion Gallon Lake Resort: Bonne Terre Mine

Billion Gallon Lake Resort: Bonne Terre Mine

I haven’t been on a ton of one water dives since I was certified, but I have seen some pretty awesome things below the surface. From my first shipwreck in Aruba to feeding reef sharks in the Bahamas, I can’t wait for my next dive. Since I was certified, I assumed all of the good diving took place on islands or in remote destinations like Cabo San Lucas (diving in Cabo is horrible, by the way) or places like Cozumel. Since I am required to dive every year to keep my certification, traveling to places like this can get quite expensive. But not all dives happen in paradise… I think my next dive will be in Missouri.

When I think of Missouri, I don’t think of scuba diving. But there is a really cool dive spot just 60 miles south of St. Louis.

The Bonne Terre Mine was closed in 1961. The mine produced more lead than anywhere else on earth during the Civil War and even pumped out raw materials for WWII. Since the mine was closed, it has been flooded with billions of gallons of water, and has since been made a tourist destination for unique diving conditions.

The mine remains a cool 65 degrees, and the water temperature rarely gets above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. After diving in near 40 degree water for my open water certification dives and 62 degree water in Cabo, the cold waters here are something I’m used to. I am sure I’d have to wear a 7mm wetsuit, but that’s what I wore for the certification dives. Diving this mine just seems cool, and with over 60 different dive sites some 150 foot below the surface, I’m sure there are things down there I never knew existed.

Doug Goergens is responsible for the mine as we dive it today. He took control back in 1981. “They decontaminated the place and got out, leaving everything basically untouched. Now it’s this amazing, underwater ghost town.”

In the mine you will find endless tunnels, train tracks, office buildings, lockers, and magazine all untouched…there is also a movie theater down there. Everything is as it was in 1961, left for us to explore. Diving in the mine is also affordable, with a two tank dive starting st $70. I never thought I’d say this, but my next dive might be in St. Louis. Let’s get wet!