So yes: Smooth, glassy, no horizon.
Sounds a bit dangerous, eh?
So in 1990, a pilot flying a few friends around the lake in a Cessna 210 observed that the lake is below sea level, and figured it'd be pretty funny to fly so low that the altimeter read backwards.
In an evil-minded way he was exactly correct: It was dead-set hilarious.
With no horizon reference he became disoriented and... well, he landed in the lake
Picture, if you will, the moment of silence between everything coming to a halt and the first word out of a passenger's mouth...
He was 12 kilometers from the shoreline, so the rescuers simply left the plane where it was, and it's sat out there ever since. It's been out there for 22 years, a white plane covered in white corrosion on a white saltpan. Almost impossible to find even if you have the GPS coordinates, which, of course, we did.
Crashed Cessna 210 VH-XAG
Time hasn't been kind to it, and it no longer has recognizable wings or empennage, and it's maddeningly hard to get a good photo of it when the sun is too bright to enable you to see the camera's digital viewfinder... but the top left of that photo definitely shows a Cessna fuselage, and the story definitely isn't an urban legend.
The Warburton River near the north end of the lake streams unsalty water uncontaminated by pink algae into the lake, so the water is a different colour. It runs about three quarters of the length of the lake down its spine, a grey stripe in pinky-brown brackish water. The moving water also erodes the lakebed, so it's called "The Warburton Ditch" when the lake is empty.
The Warburton Ditch
Most of the lake is currently only about 1 foot deep. In some places it's definitely deeper, but never more than about ten feet. Here's the deepest bit we found:
"Deep." Don't think a life jacket would be very useful...
As the water evaporates it leaves salt on the lake shore, water in the centre, and... something else in between.
Just North of ABC Bay, near the south west corner, looking south.
After a bit over an hour of sightseeing, we headed back to William Creek for lunch.
To be continued...