A snorkeler stands ready to enter Bonneville Seabase in Grantville, Utah.
It was a moment of insanity," admits Linda Nelson, standing by the saltwater snorkeling and scuba spot she and George Sanders, her husband, opened in an unlikely place: Grantsville, Utah, 900 miles from the nearest ocean.
Bonneville Seabase was born in 1988, when the couple was looking for a divetraining site to complement their Salt Lake City scuba shop and came across a trio of salty geothermal springs in the desert 40 miles west. They tapped the water to fill three pools that drop as deep as 63 feet, then stocked them with dozens of varieties of tropical fish, including docile nurse sharks and a 50-pound silver-and-blue pompano.
Snorkelers hop in with lettuce to attract spotted argus fish, and anyone who enters the water receives a free "pedicure" from hundreds of tiny mollies that nibble at the soles of the feet. The feeling is as strange and enjoyable as Seabase itself. (435) 884-3874, seabase.net.
Photography by Adam Finkle
This article was first published in November 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.