Shore Day Trip Live Aboard
Country: USA Area: Florida
Water Temp: 7 - 72°C (45 - 162°F)
For hundreds of years the Timucuan Indians made the Blue Spring area one of their home sites.
The spring run, river and the surrounding swamps and uplands provided food, clothing, shelter and materials for tools and weapons. Snails gathered from sandbars were staple food for these people. Over the centuries, the discarded shells formed a massive mound. By the mid-1800's, most of the Indians had been killed or driven south and pioneer settlers took their place. In 1872, the Thursby family built a large frame house atop the Indians' shell mound, safe from the floodwaters of the St. Johns. The pilings of the steamboat dock remain relics of a bygone area.
Three years after England acquired Florida from Spain, John Bartram, a prominent British botanist, explored the St. Johns River in search of resources of value to the Crown. On January 4, 1766, he rowed his boat past sunning alligators into the clear waters of Blue Spring.
Blue Spring - Florida State Park, Credit
Temperatures in spring and river run remain a constant 72 degrees year round. Largest spring (magnitude 5) on the St. Johns River produces 104 million gallons a day. Open water divers can dive to 60 feet, but cavern or cave divers can dive with lights to 120 feet. Located 30 miles from Orlando, short drive down I-4.
It is a safe haven for the West Indian Manatee. Park is designated as Manatee Refuge, Mid-November through March during cooler months Manatees are here and the spring and river run is closed for swimming and diving.
The water is 72 Deg Farenheit all year round so that is not a problem. You will need to get out of the water in lightning storms but other than that if can be dived every day the park is open to divers.
Now your journey in to the fresh water spring begins. Flying weightless within a dreamscape of unparalleled beauty!
Follow the boardwalk to the sign for the diver's entry steps area. From this area, walk along the right side of the spring run to the head spring. There is a huge log across the deep hole portion of the spring. Open water divers should plan dives for 50 feet. No dive lights are allowed unless the diver is cavern or cave certified. If Manatees are present, the spring may be closed to divers. If a Manatee is spotted, do not harass the animal in any way. The return to your vehicles will be via the river run. This is a drift dive with a current. The depth is 4 to 6 feet depending on the water level. Exit the run at the swimming area steps down river. No one should go beyond the roped off swim area for any reason. Remove fins, and walk back to the parking area which is closer that the initial walk, much closer!
All divers should gear up at their vehicles and walk to the spring entry carrying their fins and ALL gear. The use of a hand cart can be a benefit with divers with back problems. Don't take anything like a towel to leave. Take only what you are going to take underwater. Do not put your fins on at the steps. Carry them to the head spring. Once at the head spring entry, divers should finish any adjustments and do buddy checks. Make sure to check your tank and gear prior to leaving the parking area. It is a long walk back for something that is forgotten or needs repair. After diving the head spring, you will drift dive down the run. The depth is only about 4 to 6 feet depending on water level. Plan dive to have 1000 lbs. when leaving spring after safety stop.
The river run portion of this dive is great fun, relax and enjoy the drift dive.
From Orlando, head east towards Daytona. Take exit 114 off Interstate 4 and follow the signs. Go west on Rt 472, then south on 17/92 to Orange City, about 2.5 miles. Make a right onto West French Avenue. Follow French Avenue to the park (on left, over a mile...)
There is a small concession shop onsite but also lots of grills to bring your own food and BBQ afterthe dives.