Thursday, October 4, 2012


We drove south (then east) until the Gators game was fuzzy on every station. Then we drove for a bit longer. While it's sometimes fun to take part in the crazy Gator game day festivities, there is definitely something to be said for an escape to the more remote springs on a beautiful Saturday. The trip to Alexander took about two hours - basically the first hour is south on 441 then the second hour is east on 40 through the National Forest until you reach its farthest southeast corner. This was my third or fourth trip to Alexander, but I will never get sick of it, and this time was exciting for many reasons, namely that it was Stephanie's first spring dive :)

As we pulled up for an afternoon dive/snorkel, we were welcomed by a crowded parking lot. After checking out the spring, we suited up at the car and walked down in all of our gear, which meant that we certainly did not have any trouble diving into the refreshing 72 degree water to escape the September heat. It's hard to imagine that everyone is turning on the heat and breaking out the sweaters back home in New England!

Stephanie in the main basin. Unfortunately, there were about a dozen other divers in the basin... the rest being open water students doing a great job of stirring up the bottom. The basin has always been crystal clear in the past, but the suspended algae and sand didn't seem to bother somebody used to diving in low vis lakes and salt water :)
As we dove below (in an absolute maximum of a whole 24 feet of water), Greg snorkeled above... probably a smart move to avoid all of the divers at the bottom -and it made for some cool swimming-in-the-sky pictures! 
After checking out the basin, we ended up spending over half of the dive in the shallows... definitely snorkeling territory, but still a blast. There were many friendly bluegill like this one as well as 2 turtles, bass, and quite a few little minnows.
Tight squeeze! This is Stephanie swimming for the stairs after a great dive... sunny blue skies above :) This is also just about the time when a few little kids got really excited (as we casually dove in 3 feet of water) and started marveling and exclaiming "Cool!! Divers!".
Up until this point, I guess we hadn't been slacking, as the title of this post implies. But there's still more to come. Greg just happened to have his slackline in his backpack, so we found two trees next to our picnic table and tried (quite unsuccessfully) this awesome new tightrope-like walking/balancing/falling act... needless to say, it's 100% addicting!
Greg tried it out first - and gave us some pointers on how to stand on a stretchy 3" moving line between two trees... not as easy as he makes it look...
Hands UP!
This is how all of my attempts inevitably ended... although I suppose it could have ended worse... And maybe next time, I'll consider bringing better slacklining attire.
 After becoming thoroughly addicted to slack-ing and getting many funny looks from other spring-goers, some afternoon clouds and the threat of rain scared everybody out of the park. We decided to hang around for a cool-down snorkel, which ended up being a great decision! With the whole spring to ourselves, we spent about a half hour freediving in the now clear and undisturbed water. It seemed like a new place and I was excited that Stephanie got to see it like this instead of just hear about "how beautiful and clear it usually is" secondhand from me. Near the end, the sun even peeked out from behind the clouds... perfect end to a great day :)

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