Updated: May 1, 2018
Keuka Lake sprawled lazily across the face of Upstate New York. It was another beautiful summer day: the birds chimed, the water lay calm, and the sound of splashing beachgoers hummed from across the bluff. Gazing out from the dock, it looked like an idyllic August dream – but something was lurking beneath the surface of the waves.
Zebra mussels are no strangers to Keuka Lake. Their razor-sharp shells draw blood from the feet of many unsuspecting tourists – though it wasn’t always this way. These dangerous sea creatures arrived on the bellies of foreign ships to invade the lakebeds of Western New York, and have been a nuisance to bathers ever since. However, the tourists and villagers of Keuka Lake were about to discover the zebra mussels’ more treacherous cousin:
The Zombie Mussel.
Laying latent for decades, Dreissena bloodmorpha was about to rise from its sandy burrows. This species of mussel always preferred the dark shadows of life beneath the lake floor, but this year there was a force shaking the creatures from their homes. A strong force, shifting the marine menaces to the surface.
The newest trend on Keuka Lake was wakesurfing, and ballast-carrying boats were all the rage. These vessels threw huge waves along the shore for the Keuka Lake Surf Team to carve and rip – and rip they did, all along the shoreline. Under the woops and “kowabungas!” of the Keuka crew, the lakebed shifted. The sand was no match for the power of the super-wake, and the Dreissena bloodmorpha were roused from their nests. What happened next would change the lake – and the world – forever.