Clark Lake harbors an underwater fleet. It consists of sailboats, runabouts, and row boats. Add to that a boat lift, two jet skis, a snowmobile, and sleds. They are tied up at their own underwater yacht club, near their dock. And all of this is 20 feet underwater.
The remnants of these watercraft are all that remain of their once proud stature as they floated on Clark Lake’s surface. This ghost village is the work of Divers Mast who train here at Clark Lake. Over time, divers gathered these sunken vessels from other underwater lake locations, moved them to this area, placed them in a formation, and tied them together. Nearby is the dock–a 12 foot square platform that is the gathering point for training exercises at the west end of Clark Lake, about 60 yards off shore from the Columbia Township Park. “The platform rests about five feet above the lake bottom,” says Divers Mast’s Jim Hall. It’s constructed of Wolmanized wood in a steel frame.
Video by Kelly Kohn
How does a boat lift find itself in water this deep? Kelly Kohn says it happened a few years ago in the fall. “It held no boat, wind filled the canopy like a sail, and deposited it upside down in the lake.” A concerned neighbor investigated. He told the divers he couldn’t find the lift’s owner, and there it stayed. Kelly comments “we positioned the lift so it wouldn’t be hit by a boat prop and removed the canvas canopy.” So it, too, became part of Clark Lake’s underwater ghost village.
Recreational use of the lake has gone on for a long time. Jim Hall says “you see lots of evidence of that underwater. Our team has recovered motors and other valuable items and returned them to their owners.” Kelly adds “the lake is definitely cleaner than 30 years ago. You find fewer pop bottles and other trash on the bottom.” Jim notes “well over a thousand divers have patrolled Clark Lake’s bottom, and our divers have removed a lot of accumulated trash.”
At 20 feet below the surface, light from above is muted, particularly at this time of year. Jim continues “water clarity is terrible right now; but in the spring, it’s clear enough so someone in a plane passing overhead can spot items deep in the water.”
How’s the weather at this time of year? At 20 feet depth, says Jim, “it’s in the 70s.” “But in the deeper parts of the lake there are springs, and you would not want to put your foot in that water–it will numb you out.”
You have to wonder what stories Clark Lake’s ghost village conceals. Are there tales of summer fun, family outings, romance? Some of those artifacts have been there many decades according to the divers. If the boats could talk, they might fill in some of Clark Lake’s lost history.
Divers Mast is not taking slip reservations for your boat. But when another ghost shows up, they have a place waiting.
This story is “to be continued.” Divers have insights that surface dwellers do not have. Coming up–more about Clark Lake underwater, and that includes exploring the mysteries of the Eagle Point drop off.
Thanks to Jim Hall and Kelly Kohn for their help on this story. The video was recorded and produced by Kelly; the ghost village map hangs on the wall of Jim Hall’s Divers Mast at 2900 Lansing Avenue, Jackson.
To view the story of Clark Lake’s underwater monument and why it’s there, please click here.
To view the story that explores the mysteries of the deep waters off Eagle Point and how the Brooklyn Big Boy factors in, please click here.
Since this article was published in 2016, Divers Mast’s Jim Hall has retired. He still dives–here are Kelly and Jim at the Township Park on June 30, 2022.
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