Archive for February, 2013

Project Journal, February 16th, 2013: “Journey to the Center of the Earth”

 
 

Hello friends,

It’s been a while since our last update. You know we traveled to Northern Florida to dive in the springs and caves that region is world famous for, and we have been back for a little while now but didn’t really have the time to write an update until now. But before I tell you about this wonderful trip, I want to first thank all of you that have been watching and recommending our videos on The Amazing Dives of the World Youtube channel. The two videos there have been slowly but surely gathering momentum and are together close to 30,000 views. We have received very positive feedback from the majority of viewers and are happy to provide content that can both communicate our message and be fun to watch for people. Thank you all for the continued support!

Now, for the springs. What a magical, wonderful, incredible place!!! I had never seen anything like it and the experience was way beyond my wildest expectations. We traveled to the area north of the city of Gainesville, one of the corners of the world’s largest aquifer. An aquifer is an underground river that feeds springs and rivers, flowing for many miles in an intricate maze of tunnels and caves under large territories, and this one feeds three different rivers and more than 600 springs. The most famous of those springs, Ginnie Springs, was our base of operations for a week, from where we explored the famous caverns and caves in the incredible Devil’s system, as well as the Santa Fe river. When Cousteau visited Ginnie over 60 years ago, he defined it as “endless visibility” and he was right. The clarity of the water is simply amazing, giving divers a feeling of being suspended in air. The beauty of the springs and river is hard to describe, it is so different to anything I’ve ever seen. Being an ocean diver all of my life, I expected that the springs would be full of mud and ugly plants and animals, but this is not the case. The whole region is a karst bed, which means, the underground water has dissolved the rock above it, and the springs and rivers are covered in wonderful, perfectly round sand instead of muddy dirt. The places look like they did millions of years ago, nothing has really changed there, and the feeling is really unique and spiritual.

The caves are incredible, their beauty only matched by their danger. The caves are formed by rocks that are smooth and round instead of the sharp, sword like formations most other caves exhibit, which makes them a little less dangerous and hostile to wetsuits, but it is very easy to get trapped and lost inside of them just the same. We spent the first two days of our week there exploring all the systems, learning the topography of the different caves and setting up good locations for camera shots, while I learned to best routes to be able to dive without too many obstacles and obstructions, to be able to return to the surface whenever needed. This is the one place where I was sure I would need to take air from the divers, but we executed our plans so well that it was not needed. The caves are a world famous site for cave diving training, and every day there were many divers exploring the systems, who presented a challenge for us as many a time they would be in our frame and had to wait for them until they left so we could get our shots. This meant our time underwater was almost tripled, not an easy thing when the water is so cold, but we managed. Anyway, enjoy the photos for now and wait for the video, coming soon!

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