Photos: The Clearest Lake on Earth

Two lakes

Blue Lake in New Zealand's South Island

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

Blue Lake (below), in New Zealand's South Island, is the clearest lake in the world. It is fed by water from Lake Constance, above. Both are found just next to Mount Franklin, in the Tasman District's Nelson Lakes National Park. Photographer Klaus Thymann took these photos during a February trip to Blue Lake on New Zealand's South Island, after getting approval from the government and the native Maori people, who consider the lake a sacred site.

From the helicopter

Thymann's team had to take a helicopter to get to the remote lake

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

Thymann's team had to take a helicopter to get to the remote lake, which required further approval from the government.

Under the water

Thymann put on a wetsuit due to the coldness of the water

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

Thymann put on a wetsuit due to the coldness of the water and, once he got there, began snapping away.

Reflected color

the lake's bright colors reflect off the lake's surface

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

One of the most mesmerizing aspects of the experience was that the lake's bright colors reflect off the lake's surface, visible from within the lake, Thymann said.

Swimming in the lake

visitors are barred from entering the lake

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

Normally visitors are barred from entering the lake, to preserve its legendary water quality.

Record visibility

Visibility in the lake stretches up to nearly 260 feet (80 meters)

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

Visibility in the lake stretches up to nearly 260 feet (80 meters), according to Robert Merrilees, a hydrologist with the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

Green bottom

The lake has algae on the bottom

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

The lake has algae on the bottom. Thymann wasn't allowed to touch the bottom, to observe Maori customs that consider the lake sacred.

Another view

Another view of the lake bottom, covered by plants

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

Another view of the lake bottom, covered by plants.

The lake from above

Another view of the lake from above

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

Another view of the lake from above.

Sinkhole

his is a sinkhole through which the water drains out.

(Image credit: Klaus Thymann / Project Pressure)

This is a sinkhole through which the water drains out. Thymann said that some of these holes were almost as large as him, and he avoided getting close to them, for fear of being sucked in.