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My girlfriend and I just recently got our open water cert. and we live in Fernandina. I was wondering if there was any spot here to pratice diving? Money is a little tight right now, but we still would like to keep our skills in pratice. I have done some searching around and nobody really talk about Fernandina. Any suggestions?
It's pretty much a 2+ hour drive to low cost diving in springs.Gas costs are gonna eat up ~$30 round trip added to the entry to the spring.www.atlanticprodivers.comwww.jaxscubacenter.com Both have boats running out of Jax.Vis has been 20' to 40' lately with the opportunity to see whales,big rays and possibly a GW shark.
Cheap is relative.Dinner for 6 non-drinkers last night was more expensive than it would have been to all take a charter.Tickets to Orlando parks would be about the same.Tickets to a Jags game ran us $100 each including parking when we had tickets.Tickets to the travelling Cirque De Soliel show run around $100.
yeh ditto what 100days-a-year said, the drive from fernandina would be killer and jax diving is pretty good, although I don't know about diving jax on you first few dives, this time of year, the conditions can be harsh. I've haven't been offshore there since early January becasue of weather and the fact that I'm in Orlando at UCF but as a general rule, colder water this time of year brings some big animals.
Peacock Springs is open to OW divers. The rangers there are very strict on the no lights rule. Blue Springs in Orange City is a nice dive, and the rangers there are equally strict. Manatee Springs is a pretty lengthy drive from the Jacksonville area, but one of the sinks (and maybe the headspring, not sure on that) allow OW divers. Alexander Springs is also a long drive, but is probably the best place to work on skills and gain some experience and comfort underwater.
Ginnie Springs is a commercial operation that admits all levels of divers. Considering that you are a new diver, I would reccomend that you hold off diving the cavern there. Other commercial ops that allow cavern dives are Paradise Springs, Devil's Den, and Blue Grotto. All of the above are a little pricey, generally around $30 per diver per day.
If you want to give Alexander Springs a try some Sunday, shoot me a PM.