Monday, April 23, 2012

Manatee Spring (sans manatees)

A bit of rain passed through this weekend, but the threat of thunder storms didn't keep us out of the water on Sunday. We crammed all of our dive gear into one Prius and drove through the back country roads of Bronson, Chiefland, and tiny Suwannee towns to make our way out to Manatee Spring, one of the first springs I free-dove in when I first came to Florida in August. Despite its name, there were no manatees (nor did we expect there to be any). The long spring run is closed to divers and swimmers, but fishermen and boaters are often allowed to use these waters. The spring basin is only about 25 feet deep and there is a small cavern in which I managed to get down to about 35 feet deep. What struck me first was the amount of algae; the entire basin was coated, just like Alexander Spring. The flow coming out of the cavern is so strong that you have to pull yourself along a fallen tree to even get near the entrance and it makes it look like all of the algae is blowing in the wind. We were the only divers in the basin when we first got in and as we were getting ready to get out, a class came in and started stirring up the sand. Perfect timing :) We then spent almost an hour free diving. Next time, we will each bring 2 tanks and dive the nearby Catfish Hotel, which is a duckweed-covered sinkhole attached (by caves) to Manatee Spring. Under the thin layer of bright green weeds, it is apparently a crystal clear 80 foot hole with a cool cavern to explore.

More pictures coming soon :) Or check them all out HERE.

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