“Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.”
While traveling across the Sea of Galilee, the ancient apostles confronted a tempest threatening their lives.
Though the Sea of Galilee is a relatively small body of water- only 13 miles long and eight miles wide, with an average depth of 84 feet and a maximum depth of 141 feet- it can be extremely dangerous. To an outsider the waters may appear peaceful, however an experienced fisherman knows a small lake can hold a lot of surprises.
Another small lake near where I live- Utah Lake- is about 24 miles long and 13 miles wide. Utah Lake is extremely shallow- averaging only 10.5 feet deep, with a maximum depth of 14 feet. While some locals view the lake as ordinary, Utah Lake has some fascinating features.
Fun Facts about Utah Lake
- High waves. Utah Lake can have waves up to six-feet high.
- Healthy water. Though the water appears dirty, it’s actually healthy compared to other Midwestern lakes.
- Murky water. Utah Lake appears murky because of algae and carp fish stirring up the lake’s sediment.
- Lots of carp. Carp arrived at Utah Lake when they were imported and placed in man-made pool near the lake. When the area flooded, the carp swam into the lake, began to breed and took over the lake. The carp are very difficult to get rid of as they are built like tanks.
- Little pollution. Much of the pollution caused by Geneva Steel has been washed away over the last decade.
- Buried treasure. One winter, a group of Native Americans robbed a Utah bank. As they traveled across the frozen lake, the robbers fell through the ice and drowned. As far as we know the coins are still somewhere in the Utah Lake.
- Big eels. Pioneers brought eels to the Utah Lake in the late 1800s. The eels that grew up to five feet long didn’t survive for long with harsh Utah winters.
- Evaporation. Eventually Utah Lake may evaporate down to a small river flowing through the valley.
- Animals. Utah Lake has pelicans and snapping turtles. Sailors even spotted an alligator once.
- Invasive reeds. All around Utah Lake there are invasive European reeds that clog the lake’s beaches(Phragmites). Lake officials are working on clearing the reeds to create more open beaches for visitors.
For more interesting facts about Utah Lake, visit http://utahlake.gov/utah-lake-top-20-most-interesting-facts/
“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Personal Notes: I learned about the Utah Lake when my family visited the 2012 Utah Lake Festival. We went on a boat ride into the Utah Lake with a crew of about 20 people. After we traveled out into the lake, our tour guide stopped the boat and explained most of the facts listed above. After learning about the lake’s interesting history and ecology, I gained a new appreciation for a lake I largely took for granted before.