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florida free divers

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Aug 13, 2001
New to this post and looking for florida free divers. Especially Paul
who I talked to at swim baby class in Indiatlantic. My Alaska dive job got reschedualed I want to get together and do some training, I am way outta dive shape. I need to get back in bluewater mode!
I travel to central florida quite a bit. My folks live in Ocala, I have two brothers in Tampa, and a sister in Inverness. I just moved (june 1st) to Atlanta (rats!) from Ft. Lauderdale and I'm paying for it now. Gotta get in the water soon!

I never had much luck finding an organized or interested freediving community in Florida. Anyway, I'm anxious to try some springs in central Florida sometime in the next month. If you know any that are especially cool...

My sister and her husband are big SCUBA-heads. I've been with them to the Rainbow River a few times, but it's just not very deep. It is plenty cold enough , though.
Greg & Frogman12,

I freedive all the time in the Springs of Florida (I live in Lake Mary, near Orlando). I usually make a weekly trip to Blue Springs (Volusia County) as well visiting others about twice a month (Weeki Wachee last week and Warm Mineral Springs tomorrow).

Let me know if you want to hook-up.

Tell me more about your favored spots. I'm due a trip to Ocala in the next few weeks. I'll know specific dates by Wednesday of this week. We could definitely coordinate.

There are so many great spots. Troy Springs on the Suwannee is one of my favorites if you've got a full day (and the river isn't too high). Weeki Wachee Springs and River are a new favorite. If we only have a few hours, I've been wanting to try Devil's Den again - which is fairly close to Ocala (although they may only allow Scuba these days). Just let me know what your schedule is. Note that I usually (not always) travel with my two sons, ages 11 and 10 (well-behaved, most of the time :))

Sounds like you have the area mapped! Which of those spots offer good depth (50+?), visibility, little current, and temp around 86 degrees?:eek: OK, I'll take 3 out of 4...

Don't worry about kids. That's not a probelm. My schedule's the problem. But I'll let you know in the next few days how things are shaping up.

If you've got a full (and I mean full) day, we can do Troy, Orange Sink (Peacock) and Royal in one day. All are 50' or more, no current and, generally (depending on the river level), have great visibility. There are a couple of other springs we go by on this route for a quick dive as well - if we want to get greedy.

We have to drive through Alachua to get there and maybe can meet Christopher and have him join us.

Let me know what your schedule is and we'll see if we can work it out.


Free-diving in central Florida?

I will be visiting Orlando in January and would like to take
a weekend to go free-diving (snorkeling). I don't spearfish,
and dive to about 60 ft. Looking for recommendations where
to go, what there is to see, and what the conditions are

Are there any scuba operators that visit not-so-deep sites,
and would take a free diver along? Either shore or boat
diving is fine.

Or, if you live nearby and would like join me ...

Any and all suggestions welcome. Thanks for help!

-- MR

I am only familiar with the Florida Springs, which offer great freediving. Let me know as the time approaches and maybe we can get together.

January might be a prime to visit springs frequented by manatee. Scott is probably better informed than I regarding which springs would offer the best dive and chance of manatee encounters, but these gentle giants may not be around much longer (near extinction), so if I were visiting Florida and interested in freediving in January, I think Crystal River or Blue Springs (Volusia Co.) would be top choices. I would not pass up this chance in favor of an ocean dive.

Let me know - I would try to join you if you are interested.
Scott, cjborgert:

Thank you for your information and suggestions. I would definitely consider diving the springs. How far are they from Orlando (which direction), what are the conditions like (i.e., current, temperature, depth, visibility, boat/shore), and would one day be sufficient or should I plan to spend a day at each spring?

I would definitely welcome a local guide/company. I will be in Orlando Friday 1/25 afternoon, and have the weekend of 1/26-27/02 free.

Any more tips from anyone? Thanks!

-- MR

The springs themselves are a constant temperature year round (70 - 73 deg F), but the rivers into which they flow can become colder in winter (if you can call Florida in January "winter"). Visibility in the springs is usually exceptionally high by most standards- some are so clear it seems like swimming in air. Some of the springs frequented by manatees are a little less clear, though still exceptional compared to most marine waters. Crystal River requires a boat, but there are charters available, and if I can get free that weekend, I may be able to bring a boat.

Scott can tell you driving times from Orlando better than I, but many springs are within 1-2 hours of Orlando. Crystal River is west of Orlando; Blue Spring east. If you are willing to drive 3 hours north (near me), you could do an entire day (actually, an entire weekend if you choose) of spring diving the numerous unique springs and caverns along the Sante Fe and Suwannee Rivers.
florida freedivers

Hey guys,

I am kinda new to this sport- done mostly things in the pool, but would like to try some real ocean or springs soon, and get better. I live in St. Petersburg, near Tampa, and my schedule is working weekdays and off on weekends. Is there someplace where I could go during the winter where the water wouldn't be super cold, and would anyone like to join me and kinda show me the ropes?
Nicholas Lash
Get the book!


You are in luck - all of the Florida springs (at least, all that I know or have heard of) are a constant temperature year-round, generally 70 -73 deg F. That's not warm, but it is not cold. A 5 mm wetsuit will allow you to dive all day at that temperature, and a 3mm wetsuit would probably be all you need most of the time.

You must buy a copy of "Diving Guide to Underwater Florida" by Ned DeLoach. It is available in nearly every dive shop in the state. It may be in its 11th edition now (The 10th was out in 2000). It gives a description and driving directions to all of the major and minor springs in Florida as well as off-shore dive sites.

I'm not as familiar with the Springs in your area as Scott - Scott knows the whole state - hopefully he will see this post and give you some more help on sites in your area.

If you are ever game for driving as far north as High Springs / Branford, drop a line. There are dozens of good springs to dive up here and I'd be happy to dive them with you.
Sorry Guys:
Since Sept 11 I have been working all overseas I just returned from one of the Stans and will be going back Jan 11, I need to get some family time and clean up a bit. Have a big blue water job scheduled for Feb 14th in the S. Atlantic but dont think Ill make it very hard to hook up with people unless I am stateside.

The best springs in your area (within an hour/hour and 1/2 or so) are Rainbow Springs, Crystal River Springs, Weeki Wachee Springs/Hospital Hole and Warm Mineral Springs. The Spring at Weeki Wachee will not open until April or so.

For an introduction to Florida Springs, I would recommend Rainbow Springs. Not very deep but beautiful and you can freedive the Rainbow River for miles.

Get DeLoach's book as suggested as this is a great reference tool. Also check out

for a county by county listing of all of the Florida Springs (although this is somewhat dated).

Hope this helps.

get the book!

Hey cjborgert,

Thank you for all the information! I will rush out and buy a copy of that book, that's just what I've been looking for is something to tell me where to go and stuff, because a lot of people don't really seem willing to show a stranger. Are there any that are warmer than 70-73 degrees? I do have a 3 mm wetsuit, but no hood. How far are you from the Tampa area? If there are some really good places that you could show me, I might be willing to sacrifice a trip up there:eek: It's nice to finally meet some freedivers that are actually in florida, and not someone on AOL who's in Indonsia or someplace like that LOL.
get the book!


Thanks for the info- sounds like you know these areas pretty well. Are the warm mineral springs warmer than the other ones, or is it just the name they give it? Do you dive much in the winter, or do you usually wait until spring to start? I know you probably have a group of guys who are pretty good at it to go with, but if you ever need someone give me a holler-
No group!


The Spring country around Branford/High Springs is about 2.5 hours north of Tampa.

I love to dive in the winter. Fewer people; fewer mosquitos. The water temp is the same, so once you're in, the air temp doesn't matter much.

You could pick up a nice hood with full bib for around $20, or a hooded vest would add even more warmth. Depending upon your metabolism, you would be fine in that for several hours.
No group!


Yeah, that's true, I bet in the winter the water seems warmer because of the air temp being colder. I do have a fast metabolism and get cold fairly easily, so that's why I was looking for something nice and warm LOL. So I guess I would probably need a hood in winter? How often do you get to go?

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