The mystery of Lake Bled

Who knows all the mysteries of Lake Bled? If anyone, it’s the Bled divers, the members of the Bled Society for Underwater Activities. In May this year the divers performed the 28th annual lake cleanup campaign. A group of over 50 volunteers removed more than half a ton of trash, including traffic signs, tyres and bicycles, as well as the invasive foreign zebra mussels.

Before the divers entered the water, the Society’s president, Janez Andrejc, said he was hoping the divers would be able to pull out all the garbage and that the amount of trash would be lower than in the previous years. “Last year Bled received fewer visitors than in the years before, so we expect to pull out less garbage.” Unfortunately, he was wrong, since his team recovered about half a ton of different types of waste.

 

Lake Bled Cleanup campaign is the oldest ecological campaign in Slovenia

Labodi v jutru - bled - Ales Krivec.jpg© Aleš Krivec

Dr. Mitja Slavinec, President of the Slovenian Diving Federation, said the Lake Bled Cleanup was the oldest environmental campaign in Slovenia. “The cleanup is important because it considerably improves the cleanliness of Lake Bled and delivers a very important message, which is that we are all responsible for our waters. We should not use the lake as a disposal site because the divers can never remove as much garbage as people can throw in.”

 

Clean Lake Bled

 

The Bled Society for Underwater Activities has recently carried out an extremely important task by checking every centimeter of the siphon that functions as a depth outflow from the lake. “Every inch of the siphon is now recorded. We worked the whole summer, spent countless hours in the water and lots of time analyzing the data, all to prove that the siphon system works,” explained the Society’s president, Janez Andrejc.

Bled divers are also monitoring and controlling the population of the invasive mussel species that has spread in the lake. Its population is now under control, but we cannot say the species has been eradicated because it keeps reappearing in certain parts of the lake. When a new occurrence is detected, all the mussels are removed, and regular weekly screenings of the lake are performed.”

 

Lake Bled is the main fish tank for Bled divers

 

Lake Bled is the home turf for the local divers, a place where many of them made their first dives in the waters they know like the back of their hands. They are here practically every day, carefully monitoring the state of the lake. The divers report that the lake is currently home to 18 fish species, as well as several crabs and mussels. It is a dynamic and closely inter-connected ecosystem. According to the divers, the visibility in the lake is very changeable, and the diversity of life also varies during the year. The lake’s bottom is muck, and there are rocks along the shores. Underwater photographers have made many exceptional photographs in Lake Bled, and the waterlilies growing at several places along the lake shore have established themselves as the undisputed stars of the lake flora.

 

Life in the lake

water lily bled© JPT Photography

The lake is occupied by 18 fish species, such as the catfish, carp, pike and chub. One of its most photographed motifs is the white water lily, an aquatic plant that grows up to 3 metres. The water lily’s floating flowers, famous for their tapering petals, measure up to 15 cm. They are triggered by the sun and open when exposed to sunlight. The white water lily flowers from June to September. Declining in number and distribution, white water lilies are classified as endangered species, which makes the preservation of their Lake Bled habitats even more important.

 

Max the Catfish, the largest fish in Lake Bled

 

Bled divers are very familiar with the catfish since it is a regular resident in these waters. It can grow up to 3 metres. The catfish thrives in stagnant water and is strictly a nocturnal feeder. During the day, it prefers to hide away in deep water or amidst plant roots. The local divers made friends with a giant catfish called Max, and the friendship lasted until Max became a fisherman’s trophy.

 

Quality of water in Lake Bled

Grajsko-kopalisce-Bled-Jost-Gantar-MALA-6© Jošt Gantar

The water quality of Lake Bled is regularly monitored by the Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for the Environment. Every year before summer the quality of bathing water is checked, and the parameters are retested every 14 days throughout the bathing season. Lake Bled has been ranking among the highest quality bathing areas in Slovenia for years. Bled’s public lido, Grajsko kopališče Bled, is the first bathing area in Slovenia to be awarded the Slovenia Green Beach certificate, which means that it is included in the Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism. A total of 260 metres of lake shore offers everything guests might need for an unforgettable summer day: two waterslides, a jump board, plastic rafts on the lake, fenced pools with a depth of 50, 120 and 150 cm, a swing, playgrounds and a sandpit for children, kayaks, massage, table tennis, board games, 'books on vacation', deckchairs, sunshades, rich catering offer, and much more. The guests can use the tidy changing rooms, lockers, toilet areas, several outdoor showers, swimming area access for the elderly and people with disabilities. The international Blue Flag eco-label is a proof that the public lido operates in accordance with strict international standards regarding eco-friendly management, safety, cleanliness and good water quality. The public lido is managed by Infrastruktura Bled.

Romana Purkart, Green Coordinator of Bled