The Seedy Underbelly of Lake Travis

— on July 2, 2018 by in Lake Diving

Lake Travis is the place to be for many people in Austin. They come to swim, to ski or wake-board or ride tubes and above all, they come to drink. That last one is a big deal and big money. There is an entire industry on the lake devoted to it. Party boats set out from numerous points on shore and converge and many locations. Many of the “boats” make 2 or 3 “cruises” a day. The boats are laden with people, many young, looking for a good time.

That good time usually means getting drunk while bobbing on the placid surface, sun and clouds over head and a cold bear in their hand. Or maybe they drink from a bottle of Patron.

Miller Late - A beer can sits on the bottom of lake Travis.

Why We Dive

When we go to the lake, we are there to dive. The water isn’t clear, far from it. The life is sparse and we mostly just go because we enjoy the activity.

Lake Travis Scuba - Darin Preparing to Enter the Water

Lake Travis Scuba - Darin Shivering

Along the way we like to collect sun-glasses. Don’t ask me how it happened. It is just our thing.

Lake Travis Scuba - Lost Sunglasses on the Bottom of Lake Travis

Most of them are junk. They were free promotional items or gas station glasses designed to be worn a short while and then thrown out or lost. Some were expensive designer glasses. After sitting on the bottom of the lake for a few weeks or months or years, they are all ruined. The lenses are separating or fogged. Many are covered in zebra muscles.

Occasionally, we find like new glasses though, which is always fun and keeps us in sunglasses.

Lake Travis Diving - Junk from the Depths - Like New Pair of Rayban Polarized Glasses

Lake Travis Diving - Junk from the Depths - My New Oakley Glasses

Junk We Find

We find other stuff people lost too. This weekend we found quite a haul.

Lake Travis Diving - Junk from the Depths

That is 20 pair of sunglasses (in case you didn’t feel like counting), a couple of which are still useful, 2 iPhone S – both totally destroyed and one in a wallet – got to mail that back, a working Apple Watch, two Yeti vacuum cups (32oz tumbler and a beer cozy), a nice anchor (we left others on the bottom – there were a lot), a broken watch, as well as miscellaneous other stuff not pictured. We collected all of it over the course of 2 45 minute dives.

We don’t even bother to pick up the trash as this point because our dive would last only a minute or two and we would be full up. And partiers would only throw more garbage into the lake faster than we could deal with it.

Lake Travis Garbage - Solo Cups - Or as we call them, Lake Travis Red Snapper

Because everyone needs a pirate flag, produced by slave labor and destine to polute the environment...

Lake Travis Scuba - More disposable 1-time use cans...

It turns out that the bottom of lake Travis is filthy, but not for the reason most people think. There is honest muck down there, but the real filth was dropped by people careless and probably drunk. I’m sure a good bit of it was dropped intentionally. We find reefs of cans and cups under the normal party boat tie ups, to many to be an accident even with so many boats.