Ginnie Springs, Florida
April 19-21, 1997
Dive - Site..................Depth - Time
Into April and another dive trip. Once again I was on my way to Ginnie Springs, except this time I was the trip leader with the Atlanta Ski Club . After a brief stop to pick up Pam and Brian, we left Atlanta and headed for Florida.
This time, we were staying at Ginnie Springs itself. Now, Ginnie normally provides camping facilities (with camp sites and trailer hookups) but they do have one cabin available for rent which is where we were staying. The cabin is nice; with three bedrooms, a kitchen and a nice deck and grill outside. Arriving at Ginnie, we took a brief trip into town to pick up food and supplies for the weekend then settled into the cabin.
The rest of the group showed up overnight and so the next morning we headed down to the springs. There were only two of us in the group who were certified divers but the others were going to snorkel. We rapidly checked out the springs; Ginnie itself and the three Devil's springs (Devil's Claw, Devil's Eye and Devil's Ear). The water was as clear as always and the springs were less crowded with divers than the last time I had been down. At one point, I think we were the only divers in the main spring!
The springs at Ginnie empty into the Santa Fe river, which is usually opaque with tannin. This time, to my surprise, the river was fairly clear. The visibility was very bad compared to the springs themselves (of course) but seemed to be around 20 feet. We could easily drift on the surface and see the river bottom.
That afternoon instead of diving we rented several kayaks and took them out onto the river. We paddled up and down the length of the resort and visited the springs across the river. We found both of them to be small and weed-choked and were content to peer in from the surface. As I said earlier, the river itself was fairly clear and we could often see the bottom. We also had several encounters with wildlife, such as this turtle.
We had planned to visit Devil's Den spring on Sunday, but everyone was moving slow Sunday morning and we decided to head back towards Atlanta. We did stop along the way at Madison Blue spring. Madison Blue turned out to be a good-sized circular hole with a cave entrance on one side. Since there wasn't much to see outside the cave we elected to snorkel only. A good number of local teenagers were diving from the platform. Madison Blue has an underwater wooden platform for holding classes and we swam down to it and looked into the cavern. None of us went in and we did not see any cave divers while we were there. After a brief swim, we took advantage of their shower rooms and headed back home to Atlanta.
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