In March of the year I went diving in Lake Traful, in the province of Neuquén, Patagonia Argentina. Villa Traful is located about 100km from Bariloche (2 hours by car) and is a really beautiful place to visit for its views and its tranquility.
Diving in lake Traful
There is no stable dive operator, so to go diving you need to bring your own equipment including tanks and compressor. This time I joined a trip organized by Sergio Massaro and the Minchen-Co diving school in the city of Cipoletti. The great attraction of Lake Traful is the submerged forest, which is located on the north shore of the lake, opposite to where the villa is located. During the Valdivia earthquake in 1960, the slope of a hill slid over the lake, leaving a complete forest of cypresses submerged, which remains very well preserved to date. On the other hand, the eruptions of Chilean volcanoes in recent years have deposited a thin layer of ash at the bottom of the lake and the forest, creating a mysterious and ghostly landscape.
Gustavo Markel in Forest of the Traful
During the first day we did two dives in the forest, where our maximum depth was 15 meters. Although we had to use a boat to cross the lake, both dives were off shore. Visibility was very good, exceeding 20 meters. Something to keep in mind is to avoid touching the trees since the ash that covers them is suspended creating a cloud that takes a long time to settle.
Diving in Paredón del Mirador
Juanchi Dibbern in Paredón del Mirador
The second day of diving we did it at the Mirador Wall. This site is located on the southern shore of the lake, just below the viewpoint of the lake next to the route. To get there you can walk along the beach from the El Mirador campsite to the east, where there is a very nice beach to equip yourself. The dive is a large dark wall with mica spots that falls to the bottom. With Juanchi, we reached a depth of 30 meters and then we began to climb up to some steps with orange spots at about 5-6 meters where we were taking photos.
Comparing both places, the forest is clearly more attractive for diving, but the logistics are more complicated. Here are some more photos of the submerged forest:
I also made a video with my GoPro of the forest.
Data and recommendations:
Water temperature: 16º C Sweet water: less ballast!
Deep diving (700m above sea level), remember to change the computer settings!