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The deepest lake in Poland - diving in Hańcza

In the eastern Suwalszczyzna Lake District lies one of the most popular dive sites in north-eastern Poland. Over 100m deep (106.1m according to the latest data, 108-113m was previously reported) Lake Hancza attracts crowds of divers fascinated by its depth and the possibilities it offers to conduct difficult technical dives, but also to quickly reach
Published: September 16, 2010 - 16:44
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 07:33
The deepest lake in Poland – diving in Hańcza

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In the eastern Suwalszczyzna Lake District lies one of the most popular dive sites in north-eastern Poland. Over 100m deep (106.1m according to the latest data, 108-113m was previously reported) Lake Hancza attracts crowds of divers fascinated by its depth and the possibilities it offers to conduct difficult technical dives, but also to quickly reach considerable depths in recreational dives (the bottom slopes at an angle of 12°).The reservoir is a trough lake with rather poor flora (the so-called oligo-mesotrophic lake), which makes the visibility excellent, reaching even several metres! (water purity class I).

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Already from the entrance to the village of Blaskowizna, we can see signs on every house: ‘cylinder loading’, ‘nitrox’, ‘accommodation’, etc. This is just a prelude to a very well developed infrastructure. We stay in the house of Mr and Mrs S³owikowski, located literally a stone’s throw from the shore, from which we intend to carry out our dives. The complex of buildings offered by their ranch easily accommodates and feeds our group of 30 people. Conditions are great, with ample parking, a canteen (home-made food and great dumplings!) and a living area with several separate entrances. An interesting thing is the “chronicles” kept by the Slowikowskis about their dives on the Hancza River.

The eastern shore is the easiest place to carry out dives, here we will encounter car parks with entrances to the water and prepared wooden benches making it easier to dress the equipment. To use these luxuries we will have to pay 5pln per car;). When we enter the water, stones and boulders of all kinds escape our attention, but after a while they disappear and we gain depth very quickly.


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Our first target are the “hollow-tree boats” – boats made of hollowed-out tree trunks, which can be found at a depth of about 30m. Unfortunately, already at the beginning there are some minor complications. The waters of Lake Hancza are quite cold and already at 29m one of us malfunctions. The situation, although fully controlled, forces us to surface, because it is impossible to control the automatic. After changing the cylinders, we also change our target. This time we decide to check out the famous walls and visit the burbot and crustacean communities that inhabit them.

The dive is going according to plan and moving at the depth of 15-25m we visit the most attractive, from the visual point of view, part of the lake. In the holes hollowed in the walls we encounter a few burbot and quite a big crayfish. The inhabitants, however, are probably fed up with tourists wandering around all the time and try to stay as deeply hidden as possible. Due to very poor vegetation, the fauna is also not impressive in terms of numbers and diversity, and can hardly be compared to that found in Kashubia or neighbouring Masuria.

After the tour we check the equipment and set off for the next dive, this is our second approach to the aforementioned hollows. This time everything goes smoothly and without any surprises. We reach a depth of 32.2m and hang around for a few minutes. Great visibility and strong light create an unforgettable composition. The computer gives us a maximum time of 8min at this depth, so after a while we leave the depth slowly heading back. Another successful dive this day allows us to quickly forget about the problems we had at the beginning.


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After the meal we enjoy the local attractions and visit the local banya (a kind of eastern sauna). There is time to recover from the day and share our impressions with the rest of the group, which divided into smaller ‘squads’ explored the basin at different depths. When we return, the hardships of the past day and the long journey are felt and we do not manage to stay on our feet for too long. For all those who appreciate a good night’s sleep, I recommend not overdoing it with the local specialties, which despite their taste are quite heavy for the stomach;))

We start our return day with a quick dive on the wall. We have beautiful sunny weather, which makes the visibility great and without measuring instruments it would be hard to believe that we are swimming at a depth of 20-25m. We say goodbye to the wall dwellers and pack our gear into the car in the sunshine.

On the way back we debate at length about the uniqueness of the lake. The strange calm and magnetism it exudes is the first thing that comes to mind. The second thing is the danger that every diver can encounter here. The easily accessible great depth is a temptation you have to watch out for, and remember to double-check all your equipment, as the harsh conditions at Hancza can lead to unpleasant situations (freezing automata, inflators). However, for all those who dive with their head, do not overestimate their strength and plan their dives properly, Lake Hancza will remain in your memory a wonderful, unique body of water, to which you will want to return more than once.

Source: Divers24
Photo: Tryton Dive Centre

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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