On our way to a family Christmas in Peoria, Illinois, we stopped by the Bonne Terre Mine (an hour's drive from St. Louis) for two days of underground diving. Here are a few pictures, a short video, and links to more.
100 years ago, this was the world's largest lead mine. Now the site hosts tourists.
Everything we see started as solid rock. Miners hollowed it out but left supports. So, the town's houses and businesses sit 80 feet above us, on a platform of 50 feet of rock. From our point of view, the supports go about 30 feet up and 100 feet down into the water. Pumps used to keep the whole mine dry. Now, pumps keep the water (mostly collected rain water) at a good level for tours.
We enter the 58°F water, about 10°F warmer than Seattle's water, but 30°F colder than typical vacation diving.
The guides lead us to an oar cart (and for some reason encourage us to touch it)
86-seconds of video clips with a surprise at the end
p.s. More pictures with captions can be found here on FB (no account needed): https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 05b5293258