April 18, 1999

April 17, 1999: Williston, Florida

A Certification Weekend: Certifiable dive
"Blue Grotto"

Well, it was raining, overcast, cold (I'd guess about 60 degrees) and I hadn't packed anything beyond jeans and a light jacket.
Diving in Williston's freshwater springs:
  • Directions from Tampa: Go north on I75 until exit 70. Go north on 27 until you get to Williston. At the light (clearly marked), ALT-27 goes straight while regular 27 takes a right. Take ALT-27. There's a sign on the right for Devil's Den (to the right); two miles down from that sign, there's a sign for Blue Grotto pointing to the left. Follow the signs to get to the site you're looking for.
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: Rainy and overcast. Kinda cold too!

  • Personal Notes: The water is cold; I'd suggest a full wetsuit (skins won't do) and maybe gloves. Those of you with full-footed fins will get cold feet! Boots, one way or another, are highly recommended by yours truly. Blue Grotto starts pretty much like a big water filled pit in the ground. There are thousands of tiny minnow type fish that can easily drive you nuts if you're attempting to sit still and do drills. There are a lot of larger fish as well that don't seem to mind the divers being there but tend to swim away if you try to touch them. At 50' down, there's a natural limestone platform that someone carved a big peace sign into; it's called Peace Rock. Looking up towards the ceiling (as the grotto 'curves' down under ground) you might catch the yellow safety line that only Advanced divers are supposed to cross. You will be told in your intro to Blue Grotto that the silt/mud is easily disturbed and can screw with visibility...pay attention to that. Because of Blue Grotto's shape, it's easy to forget how far you are from the bottom (yours truly accidentally stirred up the mud once). Beyond the yellow safety line, there are some natural type caverns that a guideline cuts through, and the caverns go down as deep as 100 feet. I didn't make it past peace rock for the most part. If you really care to search, on the other side of the mouth of the caverns from Peace Rock there's a small limestone bump in the floor with the letters 'ES' carved into them (and, considering who my instructor was, I would suspect there's an 'S-Dog' carved into them,too). :)

Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
1 Blue Grotto 20 feet 25 min. 72 F
2 Blue Grotto 20 feet 25 min. 72 F
3 Blue Grotto 20 feet 20 min. 72 F
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