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Friday, June 07, 2013

Cave Diving on the Wacissa River

Jeff and I woke up early — 6am to head to the Wacissa River and do some cave diving.  We had been looking at the Geological Survey and found several potential leads.  We found a place that rents canoe’s (link here), although at $30/day it’s not cheap.  Wish my boat didn’t have a leak in it, we could have saved money AND not had to paddle, but I’ll deal with that once I move back to High Springs.  The Wacissa river is excellent for Kayaking and Canoeing, as you’ll see from the photos at the end of this post.
Our first stop was Little Blue Spring.  This spring is gorgeous from the surface, and we were very excited to see crystal clear water flowing out of the spring run.  Since this site was on tampadiving, we were almost positive that we would find cave here. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any cave here, so we had to continue on.
We found another spring run, this time Garner, a very long run with several shallow spots and logs that force you to get out and pull the boat. We saw that there was line in this one, so we geared up and took a look.  The line here is extremely fragile, so we ran our own line the first 600ft of the system.  About 400-500ft penetration, there’s a T, which we went to the right at.  On exit, we were faced with zero visibility practically the whole way, and when I mean zero, I mean it was so muddy that I couldn’t tell my light was on at times.  I would suggest staying out of this system unless you’re extremely comfortable in zero viz.
After heading out, Big Blue Spring was our next destination.  We were told that this one had cave, but hadn’t actually been there before.  Upon arriving, we saw several swimmers, this appears to be a popular spot to park the boat, drink beer, and swim.  We pulled the canoe over to the side and started to gear up again.  The bottom of the spring is about 40ft deep, with a circular opening that’s like swimming through a fire hydrant, worse than Devil’s Ear or Jackson Blue.  Once through the entrance, there’s a no mount restriction (you might can do it with just one tank off, but no mount is easier on the cave) just before the mainline of the cave starts.  The mainline goes about 200ft and then dead ends.  This system is very pretty, but short.
Starting to get hungry, we packed our gear and headed home.  On the way, we decided to check out one more spring, this time Minnow Springs.  At first, I started to not get in the water, as the basin looked extremely small, but decided to give it a look just in case.  After looking, I saw that there was potential, and grabbed the sidemount tanks and suited up.  Once inside the cave, I was thrilled to see that there was no line!  This system is the first one I’ve ever been in without line!  I laid about 80ft and then hit a no mount restriction too small for me….darn!

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