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Thread: Ginnie Springs Dive Plan

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    Ginnie Springs Dive Plan

    Ginnie Springs Dive Plan
    by Michael Gibby


    Ginnie Springs is located on privately owned property and offers numerous scuba diving opportunities as there are several springs onsite.

    Address:
    7300 NE Ginnie Springs Road
    High Springs, Fl 32643

    Phone:
    386-454-7188

    Hours of Operation:
    Divers may enter for diving anytime during shop hours, which change seasonally. Generally, the shop opens at 8am. The diving fee lets the diver stay until midnight if they desire, but rental gear is due back 1 to 2 hours before the shop closes.


    Entry Fee:

    As at May 2010 the admittance to Ginnie property is $30.00 (plus tax) per diver.

    Annual Passes are available for $330 per diver.

    Certified divers are not required to sign in with or dive with a buddy. First time visitors must watch an introductory video and all divers must sign a waiver.

    The minimum age for scuba diving at Ginnie Springs is twelve years old, regardless of supervision or certification.

    Very Important Note: Only certified Cave or Cavern Divers, who have registered as such at the office, are allowed to be in possession of underwater lights (including video lights and strobe modeling or aiming lights) anywhere in or around the Devil's Springs system. No other divers may take lights into the water with them at Devil's Eye, Devil's Ear or Devil Spring (Little Devil). Violators of this "No Lights" rule are subject to immediate expulsion from the park.

    Driving Directions:
    Driving direction from Dayo Scuba Training Center (723 Executive Drive, Winter Park, FL 32789)

    Approximate Driving Time: 2.5 hours, 143 miles.

    1. Start out going north on Executive Dr. toward Lee Rd. (0.1 mile)
    2. Turn right on Lee Rd. (0.1 mile)
    3. Make a U-turn at Lewis Dr. onto Lee Rd. (1.2 miles)
    4. Turn left onto I-4 westbound
    5. Take exit 82A and merge onto FL-408 W Toll road
    6. Take Exit 1 onto FL-91/Florida's Turnpike toward Ocala, heading north.
    7. The turnpike merges with I-75 North in Wildwood.
    8. Take Exit 399 at High Springs, where you head west (right) on 441 for 5.5 miles.
    9. Turn left onto US-41, and continue to follow for 0.8 miles
    10. Turn right onto SW Poe Springs Road/CR-340/NW 182nd Ave, and follow for 6.5 miles
    11. Turn right onto NE 60TH Ave, follow for 0.8 miles
    12. Turn right onto NE Ginnie Springs Road, and signs will direct you the last mile into the parking lot at the Ginnie Springs shop.

    At the Dive Site:
    After signing in, the staff will provide adequate directions down to the springs. Once you have paid and signed in at the store, you exit the parking lot, passing the guardshack, and take a right turn at the stop sign behind the Ginnie Springs Shop. At the bottom of the hill, you will be at the Ginnie Spring/Ginnie Ballroom parking lot. To reach Devil’s Eye and Devils Ear Springs, continue past this parking area on the right side until you reach the next bathhouse. Signs are more than adequate to help you find your way around. From each parking area, it is a very short walk to the water. Picnic tables and gear stands provide plenty of areas to suit up.

    Site Description:
    There are four diveable springs on the property at Ginnie Springs: the Ginnie Springs/Ginnie Ballroom, the Devils Eye, Devils Ear, and the Little Devil.



    Diving Ginnie Springs:
    Ginnie Spring/Ginnie Ballroom:


    The Ginnie Spring basin is 100 feet across and 15 feet deep, connected to the nearby Santa Fe river by a 150-foot long run. This leads into a large cavern, called the Ginnie Ballroom.

    Currently, this cavern is considered safe to dive and explore by open water divers who lack formal cavern or cave diver training. A large heavy duty guideline rungs throughout the cavern.

    This cavern is well illuminated by sunlight (and artificial lights at night) from the entrance, and is quite a view. Divers are allowed to carry lights in here. At the very back of the Ballroom, at a maximum depth of 50 feet, divers will see a large, welded grate. This grate prevents divers from entering the dangerous, silty and maze-like cave system that lies beyond. The flow here is quite intense, 35 million gallons of water pass through this on a daily basis!


    The Devil's Springs
    The Devil Spring system is home to three separate springs: Devil's Eye, Devil's Ear and Devil Spring ("Little Devil"), which together produce nearly 80 million gallons of water daily.


    Devils Eye:


    The Devil's Eye is a round opening, 20 feet across and 20 feet deep. At the bottom is the entrance to a small, intricately decorated cavern. DO NOT ENTER THE CAVERN UNLESS CERTIFIED TO DO SO!

    Devils Ear:
    The Devils Ear is a canyon-like opening located closer to the Santa Fe River. At the bottom of this opening, water gushes from the cave. The water in the Devil's Ear is usually crystal clear, but tannic river water often spills over from the Santa Fe, so when you look up, there is a beautiful stained-glass effect created by the darker river water.

    Little Devil:
    Little Devil (also known as Devil Springs) is a four-foot-wide fracture at the top of the Devil Spring system run. It is 50 feet long and 45 feet deep. The best view here is back up from the bottom.

    Pre-dive Safety Check:

    Divers should gear up at their car, or on the benches. Take only the gear needed on the dive down to the spring, lock all other gear and items in your car. Do not leave valuables out. Perform a pre-dive safety check in the shallow water, to ensure all of your gear is in working order. Also, make sure you go over your buddies gear, and have your buddy go over your gear to make sure you are both familiar with each others equipment.

    Entry and Exit:
    Walk into the water, using the steps.

    Amenities available at Ginnie Springs:

    - Convenient parking close to the springs
    - Gear Rental
    - Air fills onsite
    - Bathhouses with showers and restrooms
    - Pavilions, grills and picnic tables
    - This site is a particularly good night dive.
    - Camping and camp store
    - Volleyball Courts
    - Boat Ramp
    - Laundromat
    - Wi-Fi Internet Access

    Water temperature and condition:

    Water temperature in Ginnie Springs is generally 72F year round. A 3mm wetsuit with hooded vest or thicker is recommended, 5mm if you get cold easily.

    The springs are usually crystal clear, with visibility of more than 100 feet. Sometimes during the year, if the Santa Fe River floods, tannic, cold water pours into the Devils Ear ruining the visibility there (this section is usually closed off to scuba divers when this happens).

    Things you can expect to see:


    Photo courtesy of Agnes Milowka

    Wildlife you can expect to see when diving in Ginnie Springs are sunfish, catfish, bass, small turtles and hogchokers. Mullet will often swim up the run from the nearby Santa Fe river. The endemic Spring crayfish can be spotted here also.

    PLEASE RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT AND WILD LIFE.


    Environmental Interaction Suggestions:

    Good Buoyancy is a must! Please keep your buoyancy and trim in check at all times. The springs can silt rather easily, causing reduced visibility. The limestone in the walls can crumble, please exercise care. Not only will you make the dive site less enjoyable for yourself and your buddies if you silt the area up, but you will also damage the limestone with careless handing and dangling gear.

    The collection of live animals or plants is prohibited. Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but bubbles!

    Do not harass the wildlife! If a Manatee is spotted, please do not approach it. They are an endangered species, and are protected by law, and you will get in a lot of trouble!

    Emergency Procedures:

    In case of buddy separation, follow standard procedures. Look for your buddy for one minute. If both of you are using lights, shield your light to attempt to locate your buddy. If you cannot find your buddy ascend slowly, and make your way back to the entry point. Your buddy should also be following these procedures and will see you at the surface. Check your air supply, to ensure you have enough to continue the dive.

    If anyone is 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.

    Emergency Contact Information:

    911 - This will activate EMS in the High Springs area
    DAN – 1-919-684-4326
    Always call DAN after 911 in the case of a dive emergency which may require medical attention.

    DAN should be called in the case of any diving medical emergency. They will refer you to the correct chamber, if necessary.

    Emergency Oxygen should be made available at the dive site by the divers, as there is none on site.

    Enjoy your dive, be safe and have fun!

    Last edited by denise; 10-02-2014 at 03:44 PM.
    Denise Byrne
    Marine Biologist/OW, Tech and Cave Instructor
    denise@dayo.com
    Orlando, Florida

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