Dive Site: Caumasee, Switzerland

As one of the smallest countries in Western Europe, Switzerland nonetheless boasts around 1,500 lakes, with two of Europe’s largest on its borders. In fact I took my first dive in Lake Constance (Bodensee), which shares its shores with Austria and Germany as well.

The Caumasee in the canton of Graubünden is one of the country’s smaller lakes, but that doesn’t mean it lacks anything compared to its larger brothers. Unusually, the lake is fed by underground sources rather than a river or rainfall. The water level varies throughout the year depending on the pressure of the winter snow mass, which pushes down from the mountains and forces the lake’s water level to rise. At 3,271 feet (997 m) above sea level, this is also a perfect location for an altitude-diver course. It’s important to remember that most mountain lakes fall within 1,000 to 10,000 feet (300 to 3000 m) above sea level, so divers must know how to adjust their RDP and computer to compensate. Altitude also affects your general physiology and your gauges, so it’s important to have the correct training.

The skiers among you may have heard of the nearby ski resort of Flims/Laax, which is only a short drive away. It’s also a great spot for mountain bikers.  The lake itself is set in a small wooded area at the foot of the alpine hills, making it quite picturesque. In summer the lake also doubles as a swimming lake, so it can get busy on sunny days. The dive starts well away from the swimming area though.

Underwater, the lake has a milky blue hue with variable viz, depending on your depth. The lake bottom is covered in rocks and boulders from a prehistoric mountain landslide, and includes the remains of the ancient trees that went with it.

The nearest dive center is Scubalino in the nearby Alpine city of Chur, which also features a nice old town at its center.

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