4/30/2010(Fri) No.1 - Blue Spring[Florida]

Diver : Michael Clay
Dive Master :
Buddy : Joe Tegg
D.Service :
Weather : Rainy
Temp. : 82 Fahrenheit
Ave.w.temp : 72 Fahrenheit
Min.w.temp : 72 Fahrenheit
Diving Suit : 3/6mm Long
Inner Wear : Rash Guard
Weight : 0 Lbs
Tank Material : Steel 85's
Equipment : Cave Gear
S.I.Time : 00:00:00
Time In : 12:43:45
Time Out : 14:22:52
Dive Time : 01:39:10
Ave.Depth : 46 ft
Max.Depth : 110 ft
Safety Stop.Depth : 17 ft
Safety Stop.Time : 15 min
Tank Capacity : 174 Cu/Ft
Pres. In : 2700 PSI
Pres. Out. : 1500 PSI
Air Consum. : .56 PSI
Visibility H. : 60 ft
Visibility V. : 60 ft
Access1 : Shore
Access2 : Spring
Rating : ***
Dive Number : 364
Total Time : 300:01
Dive Type : Plain Old Dive

Joe and I met for breakfast then headed to a past favorite. When we got there, we saw that there was a new fence running the length of the road, blocking us from entrance. We drove the (drivable) perimeter, only to find that the fence went all the way around the property. We parked the truck and walked through the property to see if there was another entrance but were unable to find any. With that, we decided to try some other locations. We drove around for a while, looking for sinks, we also went to Rock Springs, but after seeing the "No Diving" signs, we decided to look elsewhere. Joe called a friend to see if he knew of anything else in the area, but sadly, there was nothing. With nothing else in the area, we decided to go to Blue Spring. Not a "cave", not an extreme dive, but a place to get wet none the less.

Since Blue Spring has quite a hike from the parking lot to the spring entrance, we decided to stop at Ace Hardware and look for a hand truck or cart to carry the gear. The only thing we found there was a garden cart for 100 bucks. Forget that! From there, we decided to check Wal*Mart. They had several hand trucks for employee use, but none for purchase. When the guy at the counter declined to let us .borrow. his, we decided to head to the spring without it. :-)

At Blue Spring, we checked in as a "Cavern/Cave" team so we could take lights. We discovered that we could walk down the back road to take our gear to the spring entrance. Since we were both sidemount, we had to make three trips, one for each tank, then the final trip with our gear on. But is was a little easier walking the back road than walking all the way around the wooden walkway.

Once geared up and at the spring head, we quickly dropped to the bottom. I had 32%, so when I got to 113 ft, I decided to back off and work my way around the ledge above the hole. As I got beside the hole, I could feel the turbulence pushing me around. I didn't want it to knock me out into the flow, so I backed off and watched Joe check stuff out around the hole. When he got done, we started slowly working our way up. Since we both had double 85's, we were in no rush and wanted to check out everything we could. At about the 30 minute mark, my dive computer started beeping, warning me that I was going into deco. Once again, since we had plenty of time and gas, I wasn.t worried about it. We kept working our way up the hole, little by little, poking our heads into every nook and cranny we could find. When we got back to the sign (at about 70 ft), I noticed for the first time that Bret Floren.s name and phone number are on it.

We followed every ledge as far back as we could, pointing out any new discoveries to each other along the way. When we got below the shallow cave, I stuck my head in and looked at the tight passage that lead up to it from underneath. I signaled Joe and pointed it out to him. He poked in and little by little just kept going until he made it through to the shallow cave. At one point, I saw his camera get stuck between the cave wall and his back and though it was going to hang him up. But it slipped over to the side and he continued through. Once he was all the way through, I followed and popped up behind him.

We checked out every crack in the shallow cave. We saw that there was some flow coming from one of the small passages at the top of the cave. Joe grabbed my arm and stuck my hand up into one of the passages to show me that the water coming out was colder than the water we were in. We went from there to the other side and did the little swim-through in catfish corner. Saw several catfish hanging out there (as usual). I was getting ready to make our exit and Joe told me he had 8 minutes of deco. All of my deco had burned off while playing around in the shallower parts of the system, but I swam around and continued to check out what I could anyway. Joe whipped out the camera again and started having me pose for pictures to finish out his deco time.

Joe's deco finally ended so we made our exit and began our float down the river. As we floated down, we watched for fish. We saw a school of mullet, several schools of longnose gar and various small bass. We saw this one large gar (about 4 ft long) with a fishing lure stuck in his gill. We got to the platform and decided to float to the far side to make our exit. As we floated in front of it, Joe signaled me and pointed out a water snake, then took a couple pictures. We finally got to the far side and made our exit.

This was another not-so-spectacular dive at Blue Spring, but it was very relaxing since we took our time and are both experienced enough that we didn't have to worry about each other.