Did you know... there is a geothermal “ocean” in Utah?
Just 30 minutes from Salt Lake City is Utah’s very own “ocean”. Built out of natural hot springs is the Bonneville Seabase, where you can go snorkeling and scuba diving! You will also find many different types of tropical fish during your underwater expedition.
Seabase gets its name from Lake Bonneville, a massive lake that covered the western half of Utah, and parts of Idaho and Nevada until about 13,000 years ago. The owners of Seabase, Linda Nelson and George Sanders, bought the land in 1988. Back then, it was a muddy marsh land covered in garbage. Today there are four areas to train and test your diving skills.
The first is White Rock Bay. It is the best place to see the tropical fish that live at Bonneville. Due to multiple warm springs located there, White Rock Bay The best time to see all of the fish is during the winter months, as that is where they congregate to keep warm.
Second is Habitat Bay. The pool is a man-made area underwater where air used to be pumped in so people could breathe while diving. While air is not being pumped into the pool continuously anymore, a diver can request for it to be filled up temporarily. The pool also has a sunken boat that is used for training and platforms that are 24 ft (~7 m) deep which makes them perfect for open-water scuba training.
Next is the Trench. The Trench is where Seabase is kept natural. While it is somewhat shallow, there is an abundance of fauna and natural biology. Due to its length, the Trench is a great place to practice your fin kicks and swim some “laps”!
Finally, there is the Abyss. While it is 62 ft (~19 m) deep, it has been altitude adjusted to 84 ft (~26 m). The Abyss was built for deep water training and is a good place to try out your buoyancy skills. It is also great for learning about safety stops, the importance of buddy diving, and night/limited visibility skills.
As mentioned before, Bonneville Seabase has an abundance of marine life! The “ocean” has fish of all shapes and sizes, from the 50-pound grouper to the little mollies. They have schools of pinfish and two friendly cortez angels. While you are exploring the waters, you might also find butterfly fish, snappers, mullet, black drum, jacks, tunicates, grunts, and more!