birds singing, leaves rustling in the trees, the sound of divers sipping their coffee and talking in low voices as they wait for the gates to open – these are all typical things to hear while waiting to enter Blue Springs, our local state park and spring.
The gates open at 8am, and because of the popularity of the dive-site, the best bet for getting in the water is to get there 30-45 minutes early. This also means that the best parking will be available.
After assisting each other into our gear, my dive-buddy and I walk down to the diver’s entrance.
I’m wearing my 5mm wetsuit, and sweat begins to bead around my forehead. All I can think about is how good that 22°C water is going to feel.
Once in, there’s a short wade against a small current to reach the head of the spring. The spring is Category 4, which means that there is a strong upward flow. The spring head is shaped similarly to a bowl, sloping downward until the entryway is reached.
A few fallen logs cover the entrance, and then the spring begins to take on an hourglass-like shape, opening up before closing in, then opening and closing in again. Photographers should be quite excited about the wonderful photo ops, because you can look up and see the rays of the sun peeking through the logs.
At about 23m, the spring opens up into a cave, perfect for those with the proper certifications.
Afterwards, divers can float along with the current to the exit, where there is a whole lot to see! Lots of freshwater turtles munching on vegetation, Florida gar floating along right next to you, and of course, the manatees (above)!
Although touching them is not allowed, they have no problem swimming right up to you, and nothing is cooler than getting to dive with baby manatees.