LAKE GEORGE DIVING

"Lac du Saint Sacrement"
By Don
The mountains that bordered the lake were covered with dense green forest, the sun's rays sparkled off the surface of the lakes crystal clear waters like a many faceted diamond. The lonesome sound of the loon's call could be heard as it echoed across the water.

These must have been some of the sights and sounds that met one of the first white men to see the lake, Father Isaac Jogues, a Jesuit missionary who christened the lake "Lac du Saint Sacrement" in 1646. But the tranquil setting was soon to change as war broke out between the commercial powers of the time. These conflicts spanned over 100 years and ended with the American Revolution. The lake retained the name "Lac du Saint Sacrement" until 1755 when it was renamed "Lake George" by Sir William Johnson in honor of England's King George II.

Lake George is located in New York State about 60 miles north of Albany. The lake played an important part in American History. During the French and Indian war and again during the American Revolution it was one of the most significant water routes in North America.

At the south end of Lake George is where Fort William Henry is located. Troops from this fort would move by the hundreds up the lake to attack Fort Ticonderoga which was 5 miles past the 32 miles of Lake George. Some of the boats they used were called Bateaux. These were flat bottomed, double ended vessels. They also had floating gun batteries called Radeaux. They were seven-sided with cannon ports in each of the seven sides.

By now you're probably wondering what the heck all this has to do with diving. Well, Iím getting to that.

Because boats couldnít be used in the winter after the lake became frozen, the British would fill the boats with rocks and scuttle them. That way the French couldnít sneak in and destroy them during the winter, or if the campaign took them elsewhere, the boats wouldn't fall into French hands. In the spring they would remove the rocks and refloat the boats. In the fall of 1758 over 250 boats were sunk. Some of the boats were recovered, but unfortunately, for the British, some of the boats went into deeper water where they couldnít be located.

Well, seven of these Bateaux have been found from "The Sunken Fleet of 1758" and are located about 150 feet northeast of the Wiawaka Holiday House boat house, located on the east side of the lake. Mostly bottom planks remain, it is an easy dive of about 40 ft.

About 1/2 a mile northeast of Tea Island is where the remains of the Radeaux Land Tortoise is located. The Land Tortoise was intentionally sunk in October of 1758 to keep it safe over the winter. But it slipped into deep water and couldn't be located in the spring of 1759 and considered lost. It was not seen again until 1990 when it was re-discovered. The Land Tortoise has been designated by the Smithsonian Institution as "the oldest intact warship in North America." Registration with the Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 5 is required to dive the Land Tortoise. Their Mailing Address: Route 86, Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296. Phone (518) 897-1200. You can register for diving the Land Tortoise at DEC's facility at Lake George Beach from early June through Labor Day. Here is a quote from DEC's Land Tortoise brochure: "This is a cold, deep dive. A safety/decompression stop is recommended. The nearest re-compression chamber is over 150 miles away. Keep this in mind!" The depth of this dive is about 105 feet and water temperature at the Radeaux ranging between 35-45 degrees F.

You can also dive on the 45 foot tour boat Forward. The Forward was built in 1906 and years later, while on a fishing trip it burned and sank. It's located East of Diamond Island. (Look for Lake George Diamonds around Diamond Point). There is little evidence of any fire and the boat is partially intact, the name can still be read on the bow. It is located in about 40 ft. of water.

No permit is required to dive the "Sunken Fleet of 1758" or the "Forward" and is on a first-come-first-served basis. Your dive boat must be tied to the dive site mooring buoy, no anchoring with in 500 feet of the site. Because of the size of these two sites, you must tow a dive flag so bring one along. Additional requirements can be found in "New York's Submerged Heritage Preserves Guide" which you can obtain from the address above.

Located about three miles north from the "Million Dollar Beach" and in the middle of the lake is Diamond Island and west of Diamond Island is Diamond Point. Diamond Island and Diamond Point derived its name from quartz crystals found there as early as the 1700's. In the early 1820's some enterprising people collected them and sold them to the tourists of the time. Although finding crystals on Diamond Island became rare around this time, more were found on the shores of neighboring islands and Diamond Point than Diamond Island.

The following is a description of the crystals by Benjamin Stilliman in 1819. "The crystals of Lake George, are hardly surpassed by any in the world for transparency, and for perfection of form. They are six sided prisms and are frequently terminated at both ends by six-sided pyramids."

Today, finding one is rare but divers may occasionally be rewarded with one found on the bottom of the lake.

Lake George is a spring fed lake 32 miles long . Visibility in the lake is about 30 ft. Water temp. in the summer may get into the 70ís but there is a thermocline at about 30-40 ft and from there down it gets cold (50ís and below) so if you plan on diving there take your gloves and hoods.

Dive shops are scarce so bring your own tanks & gear.

Diving Discovery sometimes does dives at Lake George and you can get equipment and/or set up a dive with them.

Lake George Village is at the south end of the lake. This is the area that is most commercial and where most tourist come. This area is also called the southern basin. The lake runs north and you can follow the western shore on Rte. 9N that goes through Bolton Landing (another Small town). To my knowledge there is only one place on the lake you can get tanks refilled and that's at Northern Lake George Resort.

Northern Lake George Resort is Located north of Bolton landing just south of the village of Hague. If you want your tanks filled in a hurry don't expect it to happen here. They say their hours are from 10 AM to 3 PM week days and 11 AM to 3PM on Saturday ( I think). Recently I went there at 9:30 AM and I was told they would fill them at 10 AM and they got to it at 10:45. Another day I got there at 3:10 PM and they wouldn't fill them at all, so make sure you aren't late. Fill price $6.00 per tank as of 9/3/00. Their phone number is 518-543-6528.

If you stay in Lake George Village area, there is a dive shop located in Glens Falls called Morin's Dive Center about 12 miles south of Lake George Village. Their phone numbers are 518-761-0533 or 1-800-924-DIVE. They offer gear rentals and boat dives on the lake. If you have a car, this may be a better choice for getting tanks filled, I hear they are more accommodating, but I would call first. For more information on Morin's check our Comments Page. . You can also rent tanks and gear in Ballston Spa or Albany but its not very convenient 45 min to Ballston 1 hr to Albany one way.

We own a summer camp in the Northern Basin, directly across the lake from the village of Hague, NY. We do most of our diving in the Northern Basin. There are some islands just north of Hague called the Waltonians which have some walls that go from 20 ft to 150 ft. Rodgers Rock is also a good spot. There is a State camp site there and is a popular dive location. If you are going to spend some vacation time at the lake and prefer less people and a less commercial atmosphere than Lake George Village has to offer, the Northern Basin and the area of Hague and Ticonderoga is for you. There is information on this area on our Northern Lake George Information link below.

Because there is a lot of history here, you may want to do some reading on the area. Find out were some of the army's bivouacked and dive in that area no telling what you might find. Take a look at "Chronicles of Lake George" By Russell P. Bellico. A good book on old boats is "Sails and Steams in the Mountains" also by Russell P. Bellico. This book tells locations of old steamers that went down. We found the John Jay located just North of Hague, but it had burned and there's not much left of it. Some of it is in shallow water and can be snorkeled, some beams, bottom planks and ribs remain. If you would like to read about the sinking of the John Jay click on the link above.

Lake George is definitely not warm water diving but if you brave the cold you will see nice walls and plenty of fresh water fish including Bass, Perch, Sun Fish, Lake Trout and Salmon. You may even find an old cannon ball, Indian arrowhead, musket, perhaps another Bateaux or even a *Lake*George*Diamond*

Located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, a visit to Lake George makes a nice summer vacation trip.

Coming to Lake George to do some camping? Try this link to a nice campground in Northern Lake George. Brookwood RV Resort.

Want more information on Lake George? Try this link.

Lake George Area Vacations

Charters are also available through AQUA HUT DIVERS out of Scotia NY they can be contacted at AQUAHUT@aol.com or by phone at (518) 887-2769

By the way, do you know what "Adirondack" means? If you would like to know e-mail me and I'll tell you.

Don's Underwater Photo Album

ARUBA BONAIRE CURACAO MAUI NASSAU
LAKE GEORGE COZUMEL FLORIDA KEYS ST CROIX

Want to try some Lake Trout or Salmon fishing with one of the best on the Northern Basin? Try this link.

Justy-Joe Sport Fishing Charters

These links have additional information on the Lake George area.

Southern Lake George
Northern-Lake-George.Com
Snug Harbor Boat Rentals Fort Ticonderoga
Fort William Henry Adirondack Home Pages

Snug Harbor