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I decided to switch my dive site from Blue Heron to Blue Springs in Orange City, FL on Saturday. Probably a good call because I hear that Blue Heron vis was 7'.
The purpose of this trip was to give my friend Kris a refresher. She hasn't dived in nearly 3 years, has less than 10 dives, just bought all new dive gear, and is going to Puerto Rico to dive later in the week. We went over dive planning, hand signals, knowing where everything is on her gear, gear set up (had a little problem here, couldn't get the tank strap tight, ended up being that when she bought her BC the tank strap was threaded wrong, and silly me didn't spot the problem right from the beginning), we did regulator recovery, you know basic refresher type skills.
I thought she did a good job. Her trim was very good and horizontal (I was surprised cuz most new folks I see tend to be either kneeling on the bottom or vertical.
We did 2 dives. Had a very nice time and my friend felt a lot more comfortable than she did before we got there. Oh and weird thing...there were no manatees there. I had heard the other week there were like 75. Oh and also we were the only 2 girls there diving.
Wendy - I'm gonna derail this on purpose....... I'm going to be in Destin in about 2 weeks. Plans to dive the coast were finalized with my dive buddy, until he had to bail on the trip last Friday. Now looking for other sites to dive with my wife. She is fairly new (to scuba!) and not to many dives. When I mentioned Vortex to her, she was a lot more interested in springs than doing a charter.
Are there anymore sites in the panhandle region for springs that are worth diving? She scared of sharks, but thinks manatees are "cute and cuddly"........... whatever
I beleive that Vortex springs is located in the panhandle area, but I have never been there. Other springs will probably be about a 2 hour drive from Destin. A good place to see manatees is Crystal River (which will probably be further than 2 hours). Manatee Springs State Park has manatees, but I don't know how much ow diving they have there. Ginnie Springs would be ok for ow diving, but has no manatees.
Are you still planning on going to Destin, or would you change your trip plans to another part of Florida? West Palm has some nice drift dives in the ocean, good depth for new divers (usually in the 60' range).
Tell your wife not to worry about sharks. In all the time I have been diving I have only seen little nurse sharks. Just don't watch any discovery channel, JAWS, or that movie about the killer makos before your trip down here.
Vortex is about and hour from Destin. There is another spring in that area as well, which is, imho, a MUCH better dive. Morrison Springs is much more natural and usually not nearly as crowded as Vortex. They are about 15 minutes from each other. Destin also has some great stuff offshore. I would recommend the Destin jetties as a shore dive and St. Andrew's in Panama City as a shore dive as well. I am (fairly- Pensacola, about an hour away) local to the area. I would be happy to give you the skinny on some of the diving here. PM for more specifics. Have a good trip.