March 1998
 DIVE Crystal River / Florida Springs 
Courtesy of Betty Gibson and Dennis Fisher 

Got a long weekend during this cold weather?  Go diving in the Florida springs! 

Leave Friday at 5 p.m. and ďrunĒ to northern Florida.  Arrive Saturday about 10am at the first stop, Orange Grove Sink outside of Branford in North Central Florida.  The State Park provides a large open basin for an open water diver to enjoy, with a cavern at 100 ft. 

The afternoon dive is at Royal Springs.  This is a large basin approximately 30 ft. deep.  Divers and snorkelers alike can enjoy the sights.  Then have dinner at Cedar Key.  Here they specialize in great seafood and cabbage palm salad.  When dinner is over we slide down the coast to spend the night at Crystal River. 

In the morning, we dive the Three Sisters Springs.  This is the source of the Crystal River, where you can see fresh and salt-water fish.  After this we pass Alligator Hole, but donít stop, we are on our way to King Springs.  At King Springs we play with the manatees.  They range in size from 6 to 13 feet.  Despite their size, they are very gentle creatures.  They allowed us to pet their back, and even rolled over to have their bellies scratched.  We then dive King Springs.  Here we explore an open cave as schools of fish swim and an occasional manatee swim over the top of us. 

From here we go to Catfish Corner.  This is a 20-ft. deep bowl where large catfish like to play.  Our last stop is back at King Springs for a night dive. 

Monday morning itís on to Ginnie Springs located outside of Gainesville.  This privately owned park has dive sites by the name of The Devilís Ear, Devilís Eye, and Ginnie Springs itself. 

After this, we start our long trip back to Michigan and resume our daily grind Wednesday morning. 

A lot to pack into a long weekend, but well worth the diving adventures you will find in abundance. 


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