It’s an unusual feeling to have the current coming from beneath you when diving. A fresh water spring in the middle of Florida, USA delivers exactly this. With crystal clear water you could drink, freshwater fish species you rarely get the chance to see and photography with such clarity, this is a breathtaking site.
The springs are located in what could easily be mistaken as alligator territory. With swampy surrounds and mangroves you wonder at first if this is the site. Once you see the water however this doubt vanishes and you have the overwhelming urge to dive straight in. Thankfully you can avoid traipsing through the sand by using a fancy little platform installed by the local boy scouts specifically for diving.
With a giant stride entrance, the water engulfs you with a temperature between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius. It’s refreshing but not cold. At this point you will want to have remembered to remove a weight of two and conduct a buoyancy check as freshwater will make you less buoyant. Once on the bottom it’s fun to practice a few of your simple open water skills such as regulator recovery, not for the purpose of practice really but just to feel that beautiful freshwater compared to the standard salt water most people usually dive in.
The caves form the majority of the dive site. Be warned that unless you are a highly trained advanced cave diver you need to avoid the temptation of going inside. They still make a beautiful site from outside and that really is as far as you need to go to appreciate them but don’t forget to check out the grim reaper signage, warning you to keep out.
Once you have had enough of the deeper section a swim through the shallows can be highly rewarding. Multiple freshwater fish species are happy to pose for your camera and with the correct background lighting you can capture some great photos. Partially submerged trees are another great sight; their roots can sit metres underwater whilst their trunks can tower over ten metres tall. Among these amazing plants a variety of fish, that would please any fisherman, can be found lurking in the shallows.
Once you have had your fill of Morrison Springs climb up and out onto the scout pontoon or take an easy stroll up the beach. Now comes the best part of freshwater diving, simply take off your gear and don’t worry about giving it that big clean as the springs has left your gear salt free. When my buddy and I dived the springs we both agreed it was the cleanest our gear had ever been.
So find your local fresh water dive be it in a spring or up in the mountainous regions of Lake Jindabyne and go for a dive. It is an experience you will not quickly forget; your dive gear will also thank you for it!