Even in northern Massachusetts, escaping to the sea was often the only way to avoid practically melting in the blazing sun, and I realized at some point mid-college that the reason I claimed to love summer and the hot weather was that I had a way to escape it when it slowly crept in shortly after the last snow piles melted. I had a secret place to go where I could bundle up, drag my feet in the waves with my sister, and come back to shore completely refreshed and looking totally crazy with windblown hair sticking up in directions I didn't even know were possible.
Moving to north central Florida was scary because I thought I would lose this escape. Being landlocked was perhaps my biggest fear. But after yet another weekend of melting temperatures spent at the springs, I have come to realize that the feeling I get after being in a spring is much the same as coming in from a long afternoon of sailing - it's refreshing both temperature-wise and for the mind. In both cases, I'm cold when everything around me is hot. And unconditionally happy.
|Despite the sweltering summer temperatures, it appears to be|
fall in the main Ginnie basin :)
|Stairway out of paradise.|
Normally, Ginnie on a Saturday isn't exactly a relaxing outing. Actually, if at all possible, I go during the week to avoid the crowds and have some hope of getting some decently clear shots in the springs before everybody and their grandma comes into the springs with tubes, rafts, noodles, and air mattresses galore. But this weekend, I really really wanted to go diving with the amazing springs artist, writer, enthusiast, and co-Springs Eternal Project founder Lesley, so we decided to brave the crowds and head over early on a Saturday morning. And before 9am, before the night-before partiers have stirred or the late-sleepers have driven in from near and far, Ginnie on a Saturday is quite peaceful.
|Persistent summer rain storms have caused the water level to rise a few feet. July 2013 set a new rainfall record! A photo I took in this exact location during the winter field season showed cyprus knees a few feet above the crystal clear water!|
|Greg trying out his new GoPro in the Headspring.|
Next, we walked out to Blue Hole where I was again in heaven on earth freediving down to the bottom and dolphin-kicking around the basin. We stayed in for as long as our wetsuit-less bodies could handle the cold and then made our way out the path to the warm car.
|Perhaps my favorite view from the bottom of a spring - I actually didn't realize it at the time, but now I see that it is literally an eye in the sky :)|
|Greg frog kicks in the bright blue sky.|
|It's amazing what you can find less than 100 yards from a place you've driven by dozens of times. Apparently the water isn't usually this high and tannic - I'm excited to come back and see how different it looks once the rainy season is over!|