After discussing ideas about a January dive and manatees, my sister and I decided to dive again at Weeki Wachee and make a weekend of it. We had even planned to possibly canoe one of the days down river to snorkel with manatees. As it turned out, it wasn't needed.
Diving in the land of the Mermaids:
- Directions from Tampa: Weeki Wachee is just south of the intersection of State Road 19 and State Road 50. Weeki Wachee is technically it's own city, but I've seen it referred to as part of Brooksville, as well as part of Spring Hill.
- Conditions on the day of my visit: Sunny, but very cold in the morning. It was hard to put wetsuits on after taking them off between dives.
- Personal Notes: The dives on this day included a night dive in the spring, which is very cool. Manatees were around, but were asleep most of the day, and when they're asleep, you leave them alone. We were also met there by a friend from the Diver To Diver board named Pat.
On the first dive, Pat and I had snorkeled over towards Buccaneer Bay, where most of the manatees would hang out. We had one swim around us (as well as between us) and look at us, but for the most part kept it's distance. I was apprehensive about swimming towards them too much, as the rules include "let them come to you, don't chase them." There are some swim throughs in the spring (brief overhead conditions) ... they're in a high flow area though so scouting the entrances and exits before actually trying them was crucial.
With the permission of the dive guide, we tried to make our way down to the cave entrance, which is about 80 feet down. This dive marked a new depth record to 77 feet. Getting down there though was more like rock climbing upside down rather than swimming.There was a line down there (which Scott was unhappy to find out about; he didn't know who put it there and it should not have been there) and my sister got a little tangled in it. It was a little difficult at first to get her untangled; the flow was strong enough to make reaching for her next to impossible (the sight would have been a little comical had it not been for the seriousness of the situation ... I'd reach out and my hand would go shooting up). She managed to surface a little and we got her untangled (my sister has dove in kelp, which from what I understand is much like diving in a floating jungle with no path ... so a little rope didn't bother her). However, on the way back up, clawing in an effort not to go shooting up to the surface, she got her regulator hose hooked on a rock and lost it. After a few seconds, she managed to get her octo into her mouth and then recover her primary. I feel bad as her buddy not even knowing what happened until afterwards; she was turned away from me and I didn't see that anything was wrong until I managed to spot her with her octo in her mouth. She mentioned later that there wasn't anything that anyone else could have done, given the situation.
On my third dive, I managed to snorkel over and actually touch one, who seemed to want to be tummy rubbed.
The night dive was, as you'd expect, a blast. Kept my light off for the most part, letting my sister do the guiding. Every once in a while though I would look around and think "I thought I was in a different part of the spring!"
Mind you I have to take the photographer's word that the pic is of who she says it is and that the pic was taken where she says it was.
| Pat brings new meaning to "Blowing an O-Ring." Note: This is a good example of how some divers like to pass time at the safety stop. Another method involves "Rock, Paper, Scissors." If you have a slate of some sort to write with, there's also "Tic-Tac-Toe."
Dive data for dives on this day: