Salzkammergut Ice Paradise: Fairytale World under the Ice
When Lake Attersee is majestically covered by an ice blanket in the winter, walkers cannot guess what fascinating nature spectacle is covered underneath. Already in the summer time diving in the unspoilt lakes of the Salzkammergut is a pure pleasure. Yet true experts take to the cold season. Diving then is even better: The water is slightly clearer and views of up to 25 metres can be enjoyed. There are no noises of motor boats; there is no shipping and no screaming of swimmers to disturb the magic of the moment. You dive into the crystal-clear water and already after few fin strokes under the ice blanket you are right in the middle of a mystical, completely different world.
You can only hear the sounds of your own breathing and the pictures you see are like in a science fiction movie: gigantic ice formations the colours of which change depending on the insolation. Air bubbles that look like glass balls before they burst. And once in a while an iridescent creature that needs no respirator: Some 26 kinds of fish are found in Lake Attersee, from common pike, trout or eel to the Rutilus meidingerii, a carp fish that is very rare in Europe. The underwater flora thrives too thanks to the water quality of the lake and it makes the lake a paradise for underwater photographers.
Underwater Place of Happiness
A special attraction is the “sunken forest”. A small wood area that slid into the lake with a mountain slide – to the delight of the divers who always appreciate to float through surreal scenery. Here in Lake Attersee that with a surface of 48 square kilometres and a depth of up to 170m is Central Austria’s biggest lake is also the first underwater signpost of a Place of Happiness. In the Salzkammergut only selected places that with their special natural beauty and location or with their spiritual power are able to induce true moments of happiness are attributed that way. Only divers can experience what makes the first underwater Place of Happiness so special – but all others can explore some 200 Places of Happiness ashore.
Diving Schools in the Salzkammergut
Not only Lake Attersee is a perfect location for ice diving. The fjord-like Lake Hallstätter See, a mountain lake located in the northern foothills of Dachstein Mountain, is also perfect for it: In every winter it freezes at least partially and especially steep face divers can get a buzz from diving there. No matter which lake of the region you pick: Before you start your adventure you should get information on the respective diving zones. To protect lake dwellings and spawning grounds diving is forbidden in some areas. Even more important, not to say: essential for your life, is a profound instruction before you start your first ice diving session, even for experienced divers. Zauner Diving School in Hallstatt and the Nautilus Diving School in Weyregg am Attersee offer special courses that introduce you to the most important do’s and don’ts and some ice diving basics ranging from the selection of the suitable starting place to the right behaviour in an emergency. One of the many safety precautions for ice diving is that one dives only in a team and never without being secured by a rope. But there is another pleasant risk involved: it’s incredibly addictive. Those who have once seen the magic underwater worlds under the ice, will want to explore them again and again.