Cromwell and Lake Alta: ice diving

Together with Christopher, Elaine and Jack we have managed to organize a healthy group of 12 people from University Dive club keen to go up to 1,8000m snowy peak on Remarkables, to do… not skiing, but scuba diving under ice. Elaine has rented a van, and we have started the adventure on Friday. Arrived in Cromwell just before 10pm, tired, went to sleep early. On Saturday we all got around 6am, and started the trip towards Queenstown and Remarkables at 6:40am. Ski field reached shortly after 8am, and off we go onto the ski lift. Short ride. Then walk. Beautiful blue colors of the ice. Lake. Flat sheet of ice covered in snow. We hike up with Jack and Christopher. Up to a little summit. To have a better view. Then we hike down to the road, carry the gear, and off toward the big hole. Clothes change and wait. Logistics. Checks, dive pairs, and order. We go as 3. Cold initially, than stable. Huge cracks under the ice. Perfectly clear visibility. Big hole behind us. Not going too deep, playing. Testing upside-down walking on ice. Getting cold in my hands. Checking the cracks. Air bubbles locked in the perfectly smoothed ice. Ice makes cracking noise, or so it seems. Hands reaching the pain barrier, really cold. Body ok, but my thin gloves with holes do not work that well. Elaine getting cold. Christopher keen to stay. Time to go back to the reality. We’re out. Quick run. Warming up. Second dive? Nope – I’ll pass. One will do. Changing clothes – the spa too busy for a wait. Elaine is soaking tho, and having fun. Hot soup. Photos.

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