Lake Berryessa is located in California in Napa Valley. It’s a beautiful place to spend the day and admire the lake’s serenity. One man decided to fly a drone over the lake to check out all of its beautiful angles when he discovered a large hole in the middle of the lake. It was as if the hole had appeared overnight. He couldn’t let it go. He had to investigate.
Evan K created a YouTube channel to share videos he took with his drone. As he was working in California, he decided to take some videos of Lake Berryessa.
High Tech Drone
Evan’s hobby was using his drone to check out the beautiful area from above. He worked at a water sports shop on the lake, so he was pretty familiar with the area and the lake itself. He was shocked to discover something new when he was flying his drone one day.
As Evan examined one of the pictures he took of the lake at an aerial view, he noticed something mysterious in the water. It looked to be a large, mysterious hole near the edge of the lake.
Sucking All of the Water Up
Evan was confused as to what had created this hole. The water from the lake was flowing down into the hole, but where could it possibly be going?
Evan couldn’t think of any logical explanations for this random hole in the middle of the lake. It must be some fantastical reason for the draining. Evan decided to investigate the matter more.
Evan spent another day with his drone at the lake. This time, he wanted to get closer to the hole and take more pictures. Maybe this would supply an explanation for what was going on.
When Evan’s drone got closer to the hole, his feed was interrupted. He couldn’t see what was on his screen anymore. Something was blocking his device from transmitting video.
Examining the Drone
Evan took the drone back to his store to examine it. It turns out the batteries were low, but he knew that there must be more to it than that. He was lucky enough to have flown it back to land before the batteries went completely dead, though.
Before the drone’s signal was lost, Evan was able to capture a picture of the hole close up. Unfortunately, he couldn’t see what was inside the hole, leaving the mystery wide open.
Having some experience in drones, Evan knew that he would need to be more careful due to the gravitational pull of the hole. Before he went back out again, he wanted to do some more research about the lake.
During Evan’s research, he couldn’t find anything about mysterious holes appearing randomly in lakes. However, he did find something interesting about Lake Barryessa that could help solve his mystery.
The Lake’s Past
Evan discovered a sad story that took place at the lake in 1997. A woman had been swimming when a whirlpool sucked her up and drowned her. She had fought to get to the edge of the lake for 20 minutes. Evan knew he had to find out what caused the whirlpool.
Measuring the Hole
From the pictures Evan’s drone took, he determined that the diameter of the hole was 72 feet. However, he still didn’t know how deep the hole was.
Evan wasn’t the only one to notice the large hole in the lake. People would stop by the edge of the lake and ponder about the mysterious hole. One of these people was Kevin King. He was an operations manager for Napa County’s water facilities.
“I went up there the other day and there were about 15 drones flying around and people taking videos. It’s really dramatic to watch,” Kevin King said. Other people were really taking quite an interest in the hole.
California isn’t known for its large water supply. In fact, it’s a fairly dry state. So, the government went ahead and made lakes themselves. Lake Berryessa is actually one of the biggest man-made lakes in the country. It turns out that the engineers that built the lake were also responsible for the mysterious hole that opened up.
The lake is home to the Monticello Dam, which holes 526 billion gallons of water used for irrigation and drinking by nearby towns. It also provides electricity to 600,000 residents.
While designing the lake, architects added a spillway to keep the road beside the lake and the dam from flooding.
The engineers had to make sure that the water was constantly flowing from the dam, so they created a path into Putah Creek. They did this by making a funnel leading from Lake Berryessa to Putah Creek.
During a drought, which happened quite often in California, people could see the spillway peeking out of the water in the lake. Once the water rose above the spillway, it would go down the funnel and into the creek.
When Evan discovered the hole, California had just experienced a lot of rainfall, ending a recent drought. So, the lake filled up quickly and had to drain out the excess water so it wouldn’t flood the road or dam.
You can consider the spillway like a drain when you fill a bathtub. Once you open it, the water goes down and into a different location. In this case, if the water reaches above 440 feet above sea level, it will go down the spillway and into the creek.
If you didn’t know what the hole in the lake was, it could seem pretty fascinating and mysterious. It may look extremely dangerous to those who don’t know much about it.
Safer Than It Looks
While the hole looks menacing, the flow of water actually isn’t too strong. However, you should stay way from it if you’re swimming in the lake.
For people who don’t know what the hole is and have never seen it before, it can seem like an incredible phenomenon. The design of the spillway is actually a very unique architectural design and is uncommon in other dams and lakes.
The design of the spillway was called a bellmouth. While uncommon, it is used in places such as Montana, England, Japan, and Hong Kong.
During the heavy rainfall in California, Lake Oroville, another man-made lake with a dam and spillway experienced a crisis. The sudden amount of water caused 18,000 people to evacuate because engineers weren’t sure if the dam would be able to hole.
Word about the hole in the middle of the lake spread and people from all over stopped by to take a peek at the phenomenon.
Just six months after the mysterious hole in the lake, Evan made headlines again with his photographs. On October 8th, Evan woke up to a number of messages from friends and family asking if he was okay. He knew something was wrong.
California is known for its dangerous forest fires. Evan’s county was engulfed in the flames and he was asked to evacuate from the area to safety. He took some incredible photos of the fiery fury.
The people who lived in Napa County saw the smoke from the fires around Lake Berryessa and grew nervous. Many of them packed up their belongings and left. Evan’s father was included in those residents.
As part of the fire safety council for the area, Evan knew that he couldn’t leave his home. He had to help other residents safely evacuate and keep their homes safe.
The residents of Napa County near Lake Berryessa were forced to evacuate, but Evan decided to stay behind. While he wasn’t a firefighter, he knew he had to do something for his community.
Documenting the Fire
Evan decided to use his drone to take photos of the horror that was taking place in his hometown. He would use the video feed to monitor what was happening and the damage the fire caused.
Evan had to make sure that the fire didn’t go passed the ridge, just a mile from his home. So, he slept in shifts throughout the night. While he was awake, he would use Facebook Live to document the fires for others to see.
The fires caused power outages and cell phone towers stopped working, so Evan had to find places to get reception and keep his live video feed going.
Helping the Community
Residents could see their homes still in tact through Evan’s live feed. He also fed neighborhood pets and animals as he filmed.
Evan’s neighbors were so thankful for his staying and recording what was happening in their neighborhood. They started a GoFundMe page, which raised $6,000 for Evan to cover the expenses he accrued.
Evan’s Big Break
Evan had no idea that his video of the mysterious hole would gain him such popularity online. His video had received 14 million views. He had to keep up with his newfound Internet fame. So, he continued to film incredible nature scenes for people to admire.