Ozark Orgy

The naked truth about Missouri's backwater Sodom and Gomorrah

Warmed by sun, boat exhaust and vast amounts of human urine, the iridescent green water of Party Cove sloshes about at a tepid 85 degrees. Twenty feet below the surface a new biosphere unfolds. Here, the lake sits cool and undisturbed, with silt and sediment lending the water the look and feel of chocolate milk.

Swimming through these murky depths, diver Tim McNitt spreads his thick arms wide, allowing his hands to rake across the muddy lakebed. Like a foraging catfish, McNitt blindly feels his way through the muck, seeking sunken riches among the discarded beer bottles, plastic Mardi Gras beads and sundry crap blanketing the floor of the cove.

In this slow, deliberate fashion, McNitt estimates he's discovered $700,000 worth of jewelry and other valuables in the twenty years he's been plunging into the gloomy hollows of Lake of the Ozarks. Among the jackpots struck in Party Cove, McNitt's found Rolex watches, gold chains, diamond bracelets, rolls of cash and scores of designer sunglasses. Most of the loot he sells on eBay or hawks directly through his business, Atlantis Dive & Dock Salvage.

As for the less-marketable finds -- the one-hitters, the syringes, the pistols, the unopened liquor bottles -- McNitt discards all but the dildos.

"They're great for practical jokes," exclaims the 42-year-old McNitt, who says he sanitizes the sex toys in his home dishwasher. "I leave them on doorways or tie them to people's bumpers. It's a hoot."

Yet for all the untapped spoils lurking on the floor of Party Cove, located a mile south of the Grand Glaize Bridge, McNitt warns that his is not an occupation for the weak or timid. He routinely goes deeper than 100 feet in his treasure-hunting pursuits, and as he sees it, his barrel-chested physique is perfect for the job. At just five-foot-six, he's small enough to keep his limbs from getting tangled in dive cords, yet powerful enough (he claims to bench-press 315 pounds) to bring to the surface damn near anything he finds on the lake bottom.

Most important, McNitt has the proper disposition for the task.

"You have to be half-rat to do this," he cracks, preparing for a dive earlier this month.

Among his Party Cove war stories, McNitt tells of drunken hellions bombarding him with M-80 fireworks. He recalls run-ins with angry fish, water snakes and saber-toothed muskrats. He describes in detail how Vaseline protects the skin from corrosive solvents polluting the lake. He bemoans the ear and throat infections he invariably picks up during his frequent scavenger dips.

"I don't know how many times I've been down there and come across a used condom," McNitt says before disappearing into the water. "The things people do in this lake: It's disgusting."


Health hazards be damned, this Labor Day weekend tens of thousands of Midwesterners will descend upon the Lake of the Ozarks for one last salacious salute to summer. Of those vacationers, the Missouri Water Patrol anticipates between 8,000 and 10,000 will enter the lake's notorious Party Cove, an audacious free-for-all that's earned the reputation as a backwater Sodom and Gomorrah. There, under the late-summer sun, partygoers will burn their plump flesh the color of ballpark franks, expose themselves for cheap plastic beads and engage in provocative sex acts with perfect strangers.

To McNitt's good fortune, an untold number of thrill-seekers will drop valuables into the drink. At least two people, according to Missouri Water Patrol statistics, will be carted off to the hospital for excessive drinking. Dozens more will be arrested on charges of boating-while-intoxicated (BWI). Chances are better than average that someone will die, with a drug- or alcohol-related drowning occurring in the mile-long Party Cove roughly every three to four years.

All of this serves to fuel the inlet's notoriety, which after some twenty years in existence as a party spot may now be reaching its zenith. In May, Men's Fitnessmagazine named Party Cove the No. 1 summer party destination in North America -- ahead of Las Vegas, Cabo Wabo and South Beach -- describing it as a "Greek kegger meets a Roman orgy."

A simple Google search on the term "Party Cove" reveals several X-rated Web sites chock-full of photos and videos of bare-breasted women, sunburned genitalia and lots and lots of public sex. A half-dozen other sites carry discussion boards devoted to Party Cove's orgiastic escapades, and at least two competing firms now offer knockoff Girls Gone Wild videos filmed in the infamous inlet.

In recent months, the cove has been featured on the Playboy Channel and the television show A Current Affair. Just last month none other than the New York Times ran a front-page story in its July 22 travel section, dubbing the cove "the oldest established floating bacchanal in the country."

It's a reputation confirmed by the Reverend John Mark Hott. For several years the Lake of the Ozarks-based evangelical minister was a fixture in Party Cove, preaching fiery sermons from aboard his 78-foot-long houseboat.

"We had to learn to preach clothes back onto people," says a dead-serious Hott, whose off-shore ministry ended in 2003 when his insurer dropped coverage of his floating church. "Whenever someone exposed their genitalia to us, my response was always the same: 'God has seen everything you got. We don't need to see it, too!'"

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1 comments
onedotson
onedotson

Nobody wants to comment on this lol-- I've actually never heard of such and I live on a prostitute set lol. But these same people troll the city crime stories to tell us how bad we are. Romans.

 
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