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More Florida diving wierdness

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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C

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,067
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Disclaimer: Names, dates, and places have been changed to protect the guilty. Sorry, no pictures.

Diving into dark holes in the ground is a Florida obsession. There are thousands of scuba cave divers in this state and a very few freediving spring/cave/cavern divers. A good friend of mine is one of those, has been in more springs than most people would believe exist, and has infected me with a touch of this obsession. Some of this stuff is truly, beyond belief spectacular and we hunt for the next place like that.

He emails me a week or so ago. He has discovered a new spring that he did not know existed, its even close to his house, and would I like to explore it with him. His description sounds pretty interesting. This might be a real good place. Supposedly it was once a teenage hangout, a place in the woods you went to get drunk, bring girls of bad reputation, do things your parents would disapprove of, etc etc. Things got kind of wild, the neighbors objected, the local government bought the place plus a lot of land around it, and shut it down. That was a long time ago and, over time, people mostly forgot about it. When my buddy found out it existed, he had difficulty finding anybody who know exactly where it was. But persistence pays off. Out in the woods it was there, he found it, did an initial explore and called me. Required me to bring a bag big enough to get all my gear out of sight and my bicycle. Now these are not exactly normal requirements for for a cave diving expedition and sort of stoked my curiosity.

So, before light on Sunday morning, I'm in the truck headed for Central Florida. Stop at my buddies, get another cup of coffee (If you are as bad addicted as me, coffee works fine for freediving) and off we go, driving through residential areas until we park at a quick market/gas station . Out of the truck, pack all my gear in a big backpack, get on the bike, pedal down the road, just a couple of old guys out for a leisurely ride. First we pass though a subdivision supposedly full of paranoid people who would report you to the cops, then down a dirt road to a spot adjacent to a barbed wire fence. Stop, pass the bikes and gear over the fence, slip through ourselves and on down an old dirt path that had no foot prints. At this point, we are trespassing. Eventually we come to another fence, leave the bikes, wiggle though a hole in the fence and find ourselves on the lip of a king sized funnel. This thing is about 50 feet deep and not over 60 wide, very steep. At the bottom, it is very small and there is an even smaller pool of water, like maybe a good sized hot tub. And the water is clear and a little bit BLUE! For sure we were looking at a karst window, an opening into the underground limestone aquifer that is honeycombed with caves and water courses. Some of these make fabulous dives.

HURRY UP! As we squeeze into our suits and stumble down the steep muddy trail to the bottom. Hurry because its summer in Florida and hot as Hades in a 3 mil wetsuit. Then a long pause at the water edge as we try to figure out how to get in without stirring up a cloud of silt. Have to do one step in the muck and we are in, away from the walls and silt, in the clear. Now to explore. I'm offered the honor of the first dive and find the passage opens out quite a bit just under the surface, maybe 25 ft wide, I pull myself down the rock wall, carefully to release the minimum silt, then start to fall slowly, right into a.. . . . kids bicycle? I wondered what the story on that was on that as I drifted past. It was dark and every few feet I looked around to make sure the entrance was still visible. Turned around pretty soon and headed up, no sense pushing this thing. We keep diving, exploring the side tunnels, getting the feel of the place, and pushing deeper. The passage goes down at about a 60 or 70 degree angle, twisting to the right. We were getting beyond surface light fairly quickly and got more and more careful as we proceeded.

A few dives later, I drop into a circular room with a floor about 60 ft and the water suddenly went from clear to wow, Wow, WOW!!. Like the water isn't there, clearer than any swimming pool. Thats when I got excited again because it means flow from a part of the aquifer not affected by surface development. It means the potential for big caverns, spectacular stuff, what we keep doing this for. Looked around, no sign of flow passages. Time to get back to the surface. Several dives later by both of us and we found the flow passages both in and out of the room. Too bad, they were mostly blocked with logs and looked too small to get into anyway. At this depth, I wasn't going to even try. But, oh that visibility. I wanted to stay there as long as possible, wonderful!

A few more dives and it was clear that the side passages were only silt filled dead ends, and the surface vis was getting steadily worse. It was time to call it a day.

Maybe we can come back when the sun is high and shining in the entrance, like the Magic Mud Puddle. Maybe. . . maybe... Always looking for the next spectacular spot. They are out there, waiting.

Connor
 
Last edited:
monkeyhatfork

monkeyhatfork

leaf game novice
May 31, 2007
628
57
133
nice, nothing better than finding a good new site
 
C

cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
4,067
803
218
72
Of course its a tease. Most holes in the ground are. Its the ones that aren't that we keep looking for.
 
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aria.kingstone

aria.kingstone

New Member
Oct 9, 2017
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I like your writing style, nice story
 
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