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July 22, 2000: Weeki Wachee, Florida

"Weeki Wachee"

A busy dive day at Weeki Wachee, as well as a night dive, which for safety reasons should always include a Dive Guide. This day, that was me!
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 initially, some scattered rain here and there; comfortable in the afternoon.

  • Personal Notes: They had me going this day. This was the day I learned that you can't keep an eye on everyone at the same time, and that divers frequently have a habit of forgetting some of the key points of your average briefing.

    The day dive started out well enough; a lot of divers in the water, most of which were behaving as they should. However, I noticed a lone diver making a bee-line for the cave at 80 feet ... a major no-no, since the briefing clearly states at least once that the depth limit is 55 feet. So I dive my way down from 15 to 75, tug on his fin, and tell him to come up. I make a hand signal that 55 feet is the limit and then leave him be ... as I slowly make the ascent back to my "patrol depth" of 20 feet, the instant I can see the air bell under the stage, I am surprised to see three divers happily standing inside it. This, again, is something that's mentioned in the briefing as a "DO NOT DO." So I pull them out. At the end of the dive, Scott looks down at me from the dock as I rest on my knees on the ramp and undo my fins and says, "How was it?" All I could do was hang my head and shake it.

    What floored me even more than the goings on in the spring was that the diver I pulled out of the crevasse came up to me and said, "How far into the cave are we allowed to go?" To which I had to respond, "You're not." He looked at me, slightly confused, and I said, "It's mentioned quite clearly in the briefing that 55 feet is your max depth."

    Scott asked me if I was going in again and I said "Not until the night dive. I'm too afraid of what I'll see if I go back in."

    During the prep for the night dive, I related the days events to the crew from USF that were participating in the dive. Some of them said "Gee, I wonder who that was in the air bell," to which I responded, "Some of you look strangely familiar."

    The night dive was okay, but short; 30 minutes into it I was down to 1500 psi; I looked around and there was only one other diver in the water with me. The rest of them had gotten cold and gotten out. I did have the pleasure early on in the dive of spotting a freshwater flounder and sharing the sight with other divers.

Dive data for dives on this day:

Dive Site Name Max Depth Minutes Water Temp
68 Weeki Wachee 65 feet 45 min. 74 F
69 Weeki Wachee 42 feet 30 min. 74 F
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