Notes about things regarding scuba diving that I have come to know.

Pete's Southern Maine Regional Dive Site Guide
Mousam lake at Junction of Routes 109 &11, Acton

Mousam Lake is the headwater of the Mousam River that flows through the town of Sanford. This site is located adjacent to a bridge that spans the transition from what are sometimes called the upper and lower sections of the lake. Mousam Lake is a very popular boating and fishing location and will be busy in the summertime. Oddly, the nearby roadway, narrow bridge passage for boats and heavy traffic give this site much of its appeal. In general we save this site for off-season enjoyment though a carefully chosen summer visit is possible.

It is said that diving in the ocean is about what you see whereas diving fresh water is about what you can find. This site is all about finding stuff. The lake has a long history that goes back into logging. The narrow passage between upper and lower Mousam serves to make this area something of a collecting point. The nearby roadway and beach have littered the bottom with generations of old bottles and artifacts. Contributing to the riches are the boats that need to slow down to await their turn to pass under the bridge. When diving this site bring a catch bag, perhaps 2 of them!

A summertime skin-dive can be enjoyed up along the right hand shoreline. The irregular bottom slopes down to silt at about 20 feet in most areas. Along the slope there is plenty to check out. Remember that there will be numerous boat docks along the shore and boats may be coming or going at any time.

As for a scuba dive you can make any one of a number of dives. What ever dive you make be sure to bring and use a dive flag! Consider the time of day as much as anything. Being a sloping bottom for the most part in the narrows of the lake the angle of the sun can do a lot to make things enjoyable. The left (W) side will look best in the AM. The right (E) will light up in the PM sun.

It is possible to make a round trip dive here. It's best to do so in a clockwise pattern so you cross the channel in front of the bridge with fresh bearings. Once in the water and out do a divable depth descend with a heading that will bring you to the left shoreline safely past the bridge and perhaps 15-20 yards from shore. On your way you may very well come across a large rock filled timber crib that was probably used to manage log drives. It ends perhaps 6 feet below the surface. There are the remains of a smaller one to the right of the entry beach. Following your heading you will land on the slope that is the left shore. Pick a depth where you're happy and work your way north exploring and looking for goodies.

Depending on your plan you can turn the dive and back track. Another option is to head east and cross the lake. If this is your plan I suggest doing so while you still have 3/4 of your air. The crossing will be colder and deeper, on the order of 30+feet. The bottom in the middle will be barren silt and depth perception will be limited. Be sure to bring a good light or 2 since conditions will range from dim to dark depending on the state of the thermocline.

Once you find the east shore you can continue home on a southern course until the natural contour diverts you west towards the beach. You can of course make a reciprocal dive up the east side as well.

When setting up I generally bring my dive flag across the road and have it waiting on the far side of the guardrail. Then I can cross the street in full gear unencumbered. The entry is easy and there is plenty to search for along the way. Be sure to stay with your dive flag. Be aware of boat sounds and if you must surface try to make your way to shallow water and come up adjacent to your flag. If you are not comfortable in moderately stressful conditions stay out of the middle of the lake. The dim light, cold water and moonscape bottom can be unsettling to some.

Ted's Fried Clams just east of the site on RT 109 serves good eats.

This Dive Site at a Glance:

  • SCUBA: Yes
  • SKIN-DIVE: Yes
  • PARKING: Free
  • TOILETS: In season
  • TIDE: N/A
  • SEASONS: April - November
  • ENTRY/EXIT: Easy
  • FOOD: Nearby convenience store & summertime vendors
  • GPS: 43.503194,-70.857587
  • Google Maps accepts GPS points.

Parking is across the street at the bottom of the photo. The lot is now nicely paved.

The diving range is south of the peninsula on the right.

This page created April 2009