Certification Weekend: Certifiable - May 22, 1999 - June 6, 1999 - July 4, 1999 - July 17, 1999 - September 4, 1999 - September 18, 1999 - November 20, 1999 - November 21, 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005 - 2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009

May 15, 1999: High Springs, Florida

"Ginnie Spring" - "Devil's Eye/Ear, Ginnie Springs"

This was a dive planned for Saturday May 15th, arranged by my sister through Atlantic Pro Dive. It would have been my first ocean dive, except that the water was too choppy for dive boats. My sister and I then decided to go to Ginnie Springs.
Diving in Ginnie Springs:
  • Directions from Tampa: Take I-75 North, take exit 80 and go south on SR-41, and then through High Springs and a right on to CR-340. Look for the signs.
  • Conditions on the day of my visit: Overcast, clearing later in the day.

  • Personal Notes: As it is a spring, a full wetsuit is in order (Florida springs, I have been told, are 72 degrees year round). Ginnie Springs I think is a must dive for any diver considering cave diving, and is probably a really great dive for certified cave divers; there are two springs that qualify as cave dives, one of which spans into a network supposedly 7 miles long (according to one cave diver we spoke to). These were the Devil's Eye and Ear systems; there is a spring marked only as Ginnie Springs that isn't quite a cave dive but does require a light and goes under rock to about 50 feet, where there is a grate blocking access any deeper (not that there appeared to be a whole lot beyond that). This area is okay for non-cave divers, but gives those divers a taste of cave diving. Only confident divers should try this, as some claustrophobia and disorientation, aggravated in some parts of the Ginnie Spring itself by the flow of the spring (which is surprisingly strong) can result. One of the entrances to the Devil's Ear/Eye systems is little more than a crevasse going down to the actual entrance of the cave system; would be cave divers should probably dive this part just to see what it's like, since the crevasse is not wide enough to fit two divers...it will give you another taste of what cave diving is like, but you'll still be able to see the surface. The other Eye/Ear entrance had a really strong flow to it, and my sister and I wondered how people managed to get to the entrance much less into the caves itself. During some bottom time, sitting to extend the pitiful bottom time we experienced, I practiced my air-bubble ring blowing and once I was done found I had an audience...the fish seemed fascinated. There were a fair number of non-scuba divers there; including float rafters, a few snorkelers, and campers.

    I'd go back after being cave certified. It's almost a wasted trip for the non-cave diver who will never cave dive as your dives can be as short as three minutes...you go down, look, you come back up for the most part. I managed to squeeze four 'wussy' dives out of it, though my nitrogen rating after the last dive was a G. Max Depths varied between 35 and 50 feet, depending on the part of the spring system we were at. There's probably a cool drift dive too, *IF* you can figure out how to transport gear from one end of the springs to the other (someone not diving willing to drive from the entry point to the exit point would be nice).

Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
8 Ginnie Spring 49 feet 12 min. 72 F
9 Ginnie Spring 44 feet 10 min. 72 F
10 Devil's Eye/Ear, Ginnie Springs 40 feet 9 min. 72 F
11 Devil's Eye/Ear, Ginnie Springs 34 feet 7 min. 72 F
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