The Irish have an expression ‘take a walk until your hat floats’. I am not sure what it means, but you could do it in the Grüner See in Spring provided you are a certified diver. But I run ahead of myself. Where is this ‘Green Lake’ I speak of? That part is easy. It is in the Austrian municipality of Tragöß in the Styria province, and nestles among the snow-capped Hochschwab mountains rising to 2,277 meters / 7,470 feet above the ocean far, far away.
Grüner See Diving
In winter, when the mountaintops are frozen the lake is approximately 150 meters / 500 feet wide and a maximum 2 meters / 6 feet deep. The surrounding area becomes a country park where Tragöß residents come to relax over weekends. Energetic families go for hikes while anglers try their luck with diving salmon. Lovers seek out quiet benches where they can gaze across the peaceful water and speak of their affection.
Time for Diving
In Spring the snow begins to melt high up on the Hochschwab mountaintops. Trickles become streams, and streams cataracts that hurtle towards the Grüner See causing it to flood. The lake becomes 100 meters / 325 feet wider and ten meters / 30 feet deeper in the centre. However everything – including spring flowers remains in place to create a paradise for diving that is quite unique.
Come In but the Water’s Cold
Before you reach for flippers and goggles I should mention that the snowmelt is very, very cold and that you need to come prepared. Only pre-certified divers may enter the water where they are free to frolic on their own or go diving in groups. At the height of summer they start to disappear, as the water recedes and determined hikers return in shorts and boots. The cycle is complete, and nature is reinstated until the return of the next season.