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Thread: Blue Grotto Dive Plan

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    Animated Dive Flag Blue Grotto Dive Plan

    Blue Grotto Dive Plan


    Address:
    3852 NE 172nd Court,
    Williston, Fl 32696

    Phone Number:
    352-528-5770

    Opening hours:

    Blue Grotto is open from 8am to 6pm, seven days a week.

    Driving directions from Dayo Scuba Dive Center:
    Blue Grotto is approximately 2 hours drive time from Dayo Scuba Dive Center.

    · Leave the dive center and turn right (north) on Executive Dr toward Gay Rd
    · Turn left at Gay Road, and then right onto N Orlando Ave/US-17-92
    · Turn right at W Fairbanks Ave/FL-424A/FL-426, and continue to towards I-4, make a left to merge onto I-4 W
    · Take exit 82A to merge onto FL-408 W Toll road
    · Take the exit (you actually merge) onto FL-91/Florida's Turnpike toward Ocala, heading north.
    · The turnpike merges with I-75 North in Wildwood.
    · Take the US-27 N exit, Exit 354, towards Williston.
    · Turn left onto US-27 N/FL-500 N. Continue to follow FL-500 N for 21 miles through Williston.
    · Two miles after you pass Mc Donald's turn left (signposted Blue Grotto) onto 172nd Court and continue through the stop sign to the Blue Grotto entrance gate.

    Entry Fee:
    Dive fees are $40 per person per day (as at Jan 2011). You must check in with your certification card at the main office/dive shop. They will hold your card until you collect it after your dive.

    Air fills, nitrox fills and full equipment rentals are available at this store also, and a complete video tape briefing of the dive will be given there to divers who have not dived Blue Grotto before.

    After you check in, follow the road down to the main parking area and pavilions; the spring is 100 feet down from the parking area, accessed via a floating dock.



    Amenities available at Blue Grotto:
    · Gear benches, racks and changing facilities
    · Picnic tables and pavilions
    · Restrooms and hot showers
    · Rinse showers

    Diving Blue Grotto:


    * All divers must show proof of certification before diving (or be under the supervision of a diving instructor). Dive within your certification level.

    * Dive within your depth limitations, i.e. open water divers are restricted to a depth limit of 60 feet.

    * Solo diving not permitted in Blue Grotto, if you do not have a buddy, you may not dive there.

    Divers should gear up at the pavilion, and walk to the floating platform with their fins in their hands. Take only the gear needed on the dive down to the spring itself. Lock all other gear and items in you car, as the owner is not responsible for anything lost or stolen. All buddy teams will do a pre-dive check before entering the water and buddy checks before descending. Entry is via a giant stride off the platform, or a walk in entry down the steps.

    Maintain visual contact with your buddy or instructor at all times, and maintain proper buoyancy and to avoid silting the area. Flow from the spring is extremely low, so anything silted up will remain in the water column for a long time. Perform a safety stop at 15ft/3M after all dives.



    Blue Grotto is a sinkhole with depths reaching 90 feet. When you enter the water, there is a series of platform in open water, and then a very large cavern, 20 feet wide and 80 feet high. There are artificial lights at 20-30 feet to illuminate the cavern. At a depth of 30 feet, up on the roof of the cavern, there is a fresh air bell so you can take off your mask and breath some fresh air! This very cool feature accommodates up to six divers at a time, to stop for a quick chat, or just take a breather! Remember that time in the air bell, still constitutes bottom time, as you are under pressure!



    Continuing down from the air bell, there is a large shaft that slopes down at a 90 degree angle. There is a thick rope that leads in a horseshoe shape through the very back of the cavern. This area is VERY silty when stirred up. Even if the cavern is clear, only tour the bottom if you have excellent buoyancy control, as visibility can be reduced to nothing in seconds after a careless fin kick.

    Map:
    Map courtesy of Blue Grotto

    Special notes

    Be aware of divers on deco in the area. Do NOT touch any bottles that are by the steps, on the platforms, or at the entrance of the cavern. These are not treasure!, they are vitally important to exiting divers to complete their decompression.

    Do NOT enter the cavern unless certified to do so. The bottom of the cavern can get very silty, and is for advanced, experienced divers only!


    View out of Blue Grotto

    There is a highly visible yellow line at the 50 foot level that extends across the cavern, this cautions newer divers not to proceed past this.

    What you can expect to see:


    Wildlife you can expect to see when diving here are sunfish, catfish, small turtles and crayfish.

    PLEASE RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT AND WILDLIFE.

    Do not harass the fish or turtles!



    Water temperature and condition:

    Water temperature in Blue Grotto is generally 72F year round. A 3mm wetsuit with hooded vest or thicker is recommended.

    Visibility ranges from 30-70+ feet. It is best early in the morning, before the crowds get there!

    Current weather conditions:
    Click here for current weather conditions at Blue Grotto

    Emergency Procedures:
    If anyone becomes low on air, signal your buddy with the appropriate hand signal and begin your ascent. In the rare and unusual case of an out of air situation, signal your buddy and commence sharing air. Maintain buoyancy and ascend slowly, remembering to breathe continuously.

    In the event that you are separated from your buddy follow standard procedure: search for one min (remember to look up and around, and for bubbles also). If you are unable to find your buddy ascend and meet up on the surface. Your buddy should also be following these procedures.

    If your buddy is not on the surface within three minutes, contact others in your group to find out if he or she has been seen/already exited the water. Air supply allowing, search the area where last seen. If the diver is not found, activate EMS.

    Emergency Contact Information:
    911 - This will activate EMS in the Chiefland area

    DAN – 1-919-684-4326

    Always call DAN after 911 in the case of a dive emergency which may require medical attention. DAN will refer you to the closest available Hyperbaric Chamber.

    In case of a Diving emergency:
    The closest Hyperbaric Chamber to Blue Grotto is at:
    Ocala Regional Medical Center: Hyperbaric Medicine
    2124 SW 20th Pl, Ocala, FL
    (352) 873-7800

    DAN should be called in the case of ANY diving emergency!



    Have a safe and enjoyable dive!
    Last edited by denise; 03-07-2010 at 09:14 PM.
    Denise Byrne
    Marine Biologist/OW, Tech and Cave Instructor
    denise@dayo.com
    Orlando, Florida

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