Monday, November 21, 2011

#6: (Jackson) Blue Spring

This was actually the only diver we saw in the water! Just finishing his deco stop after diving the cave. I am ~30' into the cave at this point looking back at him heading to the surface.

After a second dive in Morrison in the morning, we drove an hour East for our final dive of the weekend: Jackson Blue Spring. This is the first 1st Magnitude "Blue" spring I have dove (there are 4 of them... so confusing/unoriginal). We stopped at Edd's dive shop on the way so that we could check in and fill up our tanks. Jackson Blue is technically a cave and since we're not cave certified, we dove it like a cavern (aka always stayed where we could see the entrance). Our maximum distance into the cave was 200 feet, because past that point, the entrance and daylight would have no longer been visible. Upon entering the water, we were immediately joined by lots of bluegills (type of sunfish common to FL springs, Lepomis macrochirus). There was a beautiful sandy bottom outside the cave entrance and a huge patch of beautiful green seagrass. Harry led us around inside the cavern for ~30 minutes and the view from ~30 feet in the cavern was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It's hard to capture it on camera, but the way the air pockets reflect on the ceiling and the way the crystal clear water seems to suspend you and the fish without actually being visible, is an experience entirely impossible to describe.

Jackson Blue from the surface. The cave entrance is actually just to the left of this picture, right under a diving board. This spring is also cool because it's in a lake rather than a river. There are 2 other cave dives in the lake (but you have to take a boat) that I hope to do some day.

Looking back at the entrance from our farthest point into the cavern - the fact that we can still see the light is important. There are also really cool fossils embedded in the rocks in the foreground (and all throughout the cave). Most were from sea biscuits, kind of like those in 40 Fathom Grotto, but on a much smaller scale.

Kate's legs above the typical cave STOP sign with the Grim Reaper...

Some bluegills inside the cave shimmer as I shine my light on them.

Back at the entrance. 
Safety stop with the bluegills (Lepomis macrochirus).

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