Well, skipping ahead of my big blog article (forthcoming) about Clay County so I can do a quick write-up about my recent visit to Wekiwa. My friend Alan came to visit this weekend so I took him and my friend Rob to the park to swim (he'd never been to Florida before so I figured I'd introduce him to a close spring). Not a very note-worthy trip, but I had to buy sunscreen at the concessions area because I forgot my spray-on stuff at home.
The water at Wekiwa is still very nice to swim in due to its relative depth of about 6 feet all throughout the spring pool. I threw on my mask, fins, and snorkel and dove into the pool. I've never had much success going down into the trench/vent, but this time I did it about 15 times, looking all around the best I could. Here's a montage of some of those dives:
I took some other videos and underwater photographs, which are now posted on the Wekiwa Springs page (link below).
Today was the second day I was supposed to set out for Rock Springs/Kelly Park - my roommate was gone this weekend so I invited a friend (let's call him Sly) along. Once we woke up at 10:30 and called Kelly Park to hear that they were approaching 90% capacity, we had to alter our plans a bit. I pulled out the ol' Google Maps and found the closest spring to Rock - Sulphur Spring.
Main problem here? Sulphur Spring is not accessible by public roads. It's less than 5 miles from the entrance to Kelly Park, but I know I've tried to find it before, but I only ran into the normal "Private Property - No Trespassing" signs. Whether they're posted for intimidation or for a good reason, it's scary nonetheless.
We set out at about noon, no swimming trunks to be found. We stopped over on Aloma near Oviedo for some Sonic (yummy chicken-strip sandwiches) and headed around the 417 Toll Road to the north side of the Rock Springs Run State Reserve. A few more twists and turns got us to the entrance of Kelly Park, which we zipped right past in search of this mysterious spring.
Our search ended abruptly in the yard of a nice man; the dead-end was but 500feet from the spring head, but we were kindly told that we'd have to access it from another direction. Waving, we headed out to try another angle.
We had the coordinates for the spring, so we drove back to the main highway to find other smaller roads that could possibly lead to the spring. Eventually (by some luck) we found a gated entrance to the service roads. Parking the Jeep, we quickly hopped the gate and strode off in the general direction of the spring. Keep in mind we were without bug spray, in shorts (flip-flops in Sly's case), with no water and Sonic in our bellies. Read more »
I've had many opportunities to show newbies the joys of the Florida Springs, but this time was a unique one; I had to debut one to a very-eager Australian. After convincing him to get up at 7am (and a stop at Burger King - not something I recommend before a swimming trip), we departed for the Ocala National Forest.
Lich learns to use a snorkel. Read more »