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Old 09-09-2014, 12:26 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 8,670

Here is a sequence of images passing down and back up through the vertical cave shaft at Blue Spring State Park outside Orange City, FL.
Some images were taken last weekend while others were from at other times over the years.

A view of the spring source and horizontal slit which forms the entrance to the cave.

A sectional diagram of the cave. The scale seems to be off in this as the chute is more constricted at points than implied in the diagram.

Starting a drop down into the vertical cave. The trees have been jammed across the opening for sometime. There is a current
outflow which varies in velocity from mild to fairly strong depending upon conditions. It is classified as a first magnitude spring but the
volume rate of flow has been highly variable over the years I have visited.

Sand particles kicked by divers lower down are being blasted up with the outflow.

Passing below the trees

Looking off to the side into a horizontal cave branching off from the main vertical chute. There are a lot of these features but most
are quite small in cross-section.

A look inward and outward from this side cave from the weekend

Continuing the drop downward in the main vertical shaft. There are frequent rings reminiscent of trachea along the shaft. It isn't hard to imaging you are plunging down a giant's throat.

A backward look on descent

The shaft constricts and travels a bit more horizontally further down. Light levels are dropping too. On the recent dive I was equipped
with two small sized 1400 lumen video lights. On past dives I usually shot with low available light. All images have been shot with
various GoPro camera models from over the years.

It is getting tighter and darker with depth

Approaching my turning point for this shallow free dive. You can see the cave pinches off substantially below with a bounding layer in the rock.

Getting pretty tight down there, time to ascend

Passing upward through the ringed rock morphology

Approaching the tree blockage, don't slam your head! I imagine quite a few people do on the way out particularly with stronger outflow.
It was on the lighter side this weekend.

Surface, next stop!

So, that is a still shot tour of part of this cave. Hope to be back in January for another look, hopefully with manatees.

Image Copyright RG Iossi 2014
All rights reserved

Some background from the State Park Brochure:

"History and Nature
Blue Spring is a first magnitude spring that
discharges 104 million gallons of water daily
into the St. Johns River.

When British “Colonial” botanist John Bartram
paddled into Blue Spring in 1774, he appreciated
the “admirable fountain” but objected to the
water’s “most disagreeable taste.” Gold Rush
prospector turned orange-grower Louis Thursby
purchased Blue Spring in 1856. He built his threestory
house atop a large Indian midden in 1872.
Before the railroad rolled through in the 1880s,
Thursby’s Blue Spring Landing was a hotbed of
steamboat activity, shipping tourists and goods
to Jacksonville and beyond. Mrs. Thursby was
Orange City’s first postmistress.

Years later, in 1971, “The Forgotten Mermaids”
episode of the Underwater World of Jacques
Cousteau was filmed here. The documentary
brought attention to the manatee and the
importance of Blue Spring as a winter refuge,
greatly influencing the state’s decision to
purchase the land.

Blue Spring is the habitat for at least 15
threatened or endangered plants and animals.
The park is the winter refuge for the West Indian
manatee, home to the Florida scrub jay, gopher
tortoise, black bear and one of only two known
locations for the Okeechobee gourd. Look for
herons and other wading birds near the water.
The clear spring run displays the flashing scales
of gar and sunfish, while swimming turtles can be
seen from 50 feet away. Listen for frog calls, gaze
at a basking alligator or catch a glimpse of elusive
migratory birds."

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 09-09-2014 at 12:42 PM.
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