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Sounds like there may a couple of days of diving over Christmas.
I will definitely be going on Friday the 26th, and it sounds like some people, maybe including some Texas Swamp Divers, will be going Saturday as well. I may try to get to the Saturday dive.
Ideas for locations:
Ginnie: awesome dive, probably best overall, but steep for some ($27 per diver day); Multiple springs and runs, ultra clear water, and you can drift the Santa Fe and see some bigger fish (schools of mullet, gar, possibly even a gator). THe site says this is best in summer, though, so it may not be that great over Xmas. (just the drift part.)
Rainbow River (not the state park part): BEST VALUE BUT: requires someone with a boat, any boat. NOT NECESSARILY A BOAT FOR DIVING! Probably works best with a little john boat. You don't have to get back in. You just boat upriver and make your boat the dive flag. drift back down with the boat, and pull it over to the ramp. Then someone climbs in either before or after removing gear, according to their preference. There's a little private boat ramp that charges either $2 per boat or $2 per person, either way that's cheap. Lloyd Bailey's will have instructions to the ramp. I went a few years ago with Lloyd and a small group. There are lots of neat fish, turtles, etc the whole way, and really cool little boils everywhere.
Manatee: Inexpensive ($5 per diver) and decent facilities (no hot water if I recall, not sure of showers), but some consider it boring. (I like the fish, I could just hover and watch them all day, but I am weird, even for a diver!)
Rainbow springs is located near Dunnellon Florida, close to Ocala. The following link shows a map. I believe the entry point for the dive I did with Lloyd was K.P. Hole, also listed on the map. You just boat upriver for a bit and drift back down to the ramp.
Since we will be in our house in Ocala for CHristmas I am thinking it would be cool to dive in the river. I spent many weekends in the KP hole with our church group growing up. Sounds like it could be fun (cold, but fun):rainbow:
dutchfin once bubbled... You can also leave a vehicle at the exit area, and then tube down the rainbow using your tube as a flag and surface platform............really nice drift for a $2 bill
THe only issue is water clarity downstream. I read in one of the sites that it isn't as clear downstream. Howver, you could even treat it kind of like a cave dive: swim upstream and drift back; with being OW, you could even go up on 1/2 tank and drift on the other half. Wear a snorkel and you could even dive/swim up and snorkel back when you run out of air.
Swimming upstream could get tiring REAL quick!! KP hole isn't to far from the head spring and the current could get fairly stiff. The Vis downstream isn't as clear as the KP hole, but still decent for diving................. ( now if I could only figure out how they get " Dutchfin said".... ) Hmmmmmm