Are There Jellyfish Lurking In This Popular Boise Swimming Hole?
When you hear the name of this pond you immediately think of stand-up paddleboarding or floating on some absolutely ridiculous inflatable that you picked up at Albertsons. But for some? It's a scuba diving destination!
Whether you grew-up calling it Bob Rice Pond, Clocktower Pond or Quinn's Pond, the pond along the Boise River Greenbelt has been part of summer fun for decades. Most of the time we've spent there has been on top of the water or swimming not too far below the surface, but there are people out there who've gone through scuba certification that love exploring what's deep beneath the waters of the 30 foot deep, 22 acre wide pond.
If you search through YouTube, there's actually a few videos of dives in Quinn's Pond showing what you can see as you dive toward the bottom. There's a surprising amount of fish like bluegills, largemouth bass, yellow perch, catfish and rainbow trout. You'll also find a submerged trampoline that dive instructors use as a platform for students during open water courses. The video that I watched showed a touching tribute to a local diver by the name of Harvey Harris who passed away in 2005 doing what he loved most. During a rebreather dive at Thunder Reef Divers in Washington State, something went wrong and Harris ran out of air while under water. Divers back home in Idaho put a plaque at the bottom of Quinn's Pond, where Harris would frequently dive, to honor his legacy.
What else (beside a multitude of lost sunglasses) lurks beneath the waters of Quinn's Pond? Something that gives us the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it! Jellyfish.
According to an archived 1997 article from the Deseret News, a Girl Scout troop was learning to scuba dive at Quinn's pond when they made a surprising discovery. A crystal clear jellyfish swam right past their swim masks and thought it was awfully strange to see something like that in a fresh water pond. The girls caught it and took it in for testing, which confirmed that it was indeed a jellyfish found. And not just any jellyfish. These little guys were part of the same family as the man-of-war, so they were considered "a little poisonous." Luckily, the jellyfish swimming in Quinn's Pond were only the size of a penny so it's unlikely that they would be able to penetrate human skin with their stings. They're considered indigenous to China, so how they got to Idaho is kind of a mystery. At the time of the Girl Scout's discovery, they'd only been found east of the Mississippi in the Untied States.
So, what's the likelihood of you coming face to face with one during your swim? A non-indigenous aquatic species database on the United States Geological Survey's website listed another sighting at Quinn's in 1999. The most recent sighting came in the form of a Boise Scuba Center Facebook posit in 2017.
By the way, Quinn's isn't the only local swimming destination with jellyfish sightings. The USGS website lists similar sightings at Eagle Island State Park as well.