Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blue Grotto & Devil's Den (Scuba Diving)

Two of my best friends are both named John. I call them the Johns. They are very much alike, yet very different at the same time. Both of them love the water and everything about it... fishing, surfing, diving, you name it. Myself being a waterman, there's no wonder we all get along!

The other day one of the Johns call me up and said, "let's go diving!" That's all I needed to hear and I was game.

The plan - leave early in the morning and drive across the state to the tiny city of Williston and dive Blue Grotto (an ancient sink hole) and then drive across town to Devil's Den (an underground cave entry spring with ancient fossils. Both offer crystal clear visibility and a glimpse into Florida's massive aquifer system. Neither require divers to be cavern certified and are open-water diver friendly, yet offer a feeling of diving in a cave. Both of these locations have been bucket list items on my dive list since I got my certification at 12-years-old.

Here's a few pictures!

The entrance to Blue Grotto. We were a few of the first ones there!

At about 45-feet there is an "air bell" with oxygen being pumped into it (as seen in the top of the photo) under the ledge or ceiling of the underwater opening to Blue Grotto. It offers divers a chance to have a conversation. In this photo I was trying to capture the large size of the grotto while also showing the visibility. It's very low light so it's not an easy exposure.

Another shot of a diver right on the edge of where the light fades at about 50 feet deep. Blue Grotto is about 96-feet deep and it's super dark at the bottom!

Myself and one of the Johns pulling a funny on me near the bottom of Blue Grotto.

The entrance to Devil's Den. Divers walk down into this cave to get to the spring.

A view of the inside platform at Devil's Den.

A large catfish that was following me around.

I really wish some day that those that are addicted to smoking would realize that the world is not an ashtray! Finding a cigarette butt at the bottom of Devil's Den is not a laughing matter.

Finding a fake human skull at the bottom of Devil's Den is a laughing matter!

I think myself and the Johns were the only divers at both locations wearing surfing wetsuits and not ones designed for scuba diving. This is me after diving Devil's Den and being totally stoked!

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