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Hart Springs - Bell FL

Hart Springs is a shore accessible fresh water dive site, located at 4240 SW 86th Avenue, Bell, FL 32619. This dive site has an average rating of 5.00 out of 5 from 1 scuba divers. The maximum depth is 81-90ft/25-27m. The average visibility is 41-50ft/12-15m.

Portions of the following information were taken from Florida Geological Survey Bulletin 66.

To dive Hart Springs you must have a guide. Click here for information on contacting guides for this site. In addition, the guides are all volunteers, guides are not allowed to charge for services and don’t expect anyone to tip them. However, I wouldn’t feel bad at least making sure they had a good meal or deco beverage after the dive.

Hart Springs is located within a county recreation area 6.5 miles northwest of Fanning Springs. After crossing over the Suwannee River on US 98/27A heading east, turn north (left) on SR 26 and drive approximately 1.4 miles to the town of Wilcox. In Wilcox, SR 26 makes a 90 degree bend to the east (right). At this bend continue north (straight) onto CR 232. Drive 4.1 miles and turn west (left) on CR 344. Travel 1.6 miles, then turn north (right) into the recreation area.

Description – The head of Hart Springs Run has three merging spring runs. In April 2002, the only significantly flowing spring in this system was at the head of the middle channel and was the one sampled for water quality. The middle spring pool measures 51 ft north to south and 45 ft east to west. The depth of the pool measured over the vent was 19.9 ft. The water was clear and greenish. In the center of the spring pool, a prominent boil is produced on the surface by spring discharge. The vent is a vertical limestone fissure with 15 ft high walls. The spring pool has a nearly rectangular shape and is enclosed by a 4 ft high metal retaining wall. The metal wall extends several hundred feet southward and forms the perimeter of the entire southernmost spring and its run. The bottom is sand in the swimming area where the three spring channels merge. The northern run was not flowing, but the southernmost spring had slight flow with no boil on its surface. Exotic aquatic vegetation is abundant in the spring pool. Algae are abundant in the pool and the run. Other aquatic plants occur on the edges of the pool. From the swimming area at the confluence of the spring runs, Hart Springs Run flows northwest approximately 850 ft into the Suwannee River from the east. The springs are situated within the forested river floodplain. A 0.3 mile long wooden boardwalk follows along the north side of the spring run and the east side of the river, and footbridges cross over both the northernmost and main spring runs. An underwater cave system occurs at Hart Springs.

Utilization - The spring is within a county recreation area that provides full facilities.

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SantaFeSandy - 12/06/2017 9:00 PM
I went scuba diving here on 12/6/2017. Average viz: 36-40ft/11-12m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Post Dive Report: Wed. 12/6/17 - The flow entering Little Hart was smoking hot for the first 300 feet. The water and system still haven’t fully cleaned out since IRMA. The water was greenish, and the visibility was around 40 ft. with lots of particulate.

Additionally, the walls were covered in silt, making the environment very dark. It was nothing like the previous times I’ve dove there, whereby the walls were yellowish white.

We penetrated to around 600 feet or so past the Black Lagoon before turning the dive. Total penetration ~2600+.

The newly opened old entry/exit makes entering and exiting a breeze. This entry/exit has a great nook for 20 ft. deco stops, and for the 10 foot stop, you can stand outside the cave, and just look up at the water. Easy stuff. No radical blow on this other hole.
SantaFeSandy - 4/14/2017 8:37 AM
I went scuba diving here on 4/12/2017. Average viz: 41-50ft/12-15m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Wed. April 12, 2017 - Guy and I staged, entering via Little Hart. We dropped our bottles just before the 850 foot mark, and then passed the entry/exit to Black Lagoon, up to around the 450 mark, before I turned the dive as I was getting cold diving wet. I still had 400 psi before hitting 1/3’s. Flow was medium high, with ~50 foot of visibility and lots of particulate in the water. Total penetration was 2450. Dive time with 9 mins. of deco was 102" on 31% with an O2 bottle.
SantaFeSandy - 11/10/2016 7:53 AM
I went scuba diving here on 11/9/2016. Average viz: 81-90ft/25-27m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Wed. Nov. 9, 2016 - Today Paul Heinerth guided Guy Bryant and myself on a dive inside Hart, via entering and exiting the Black Lagoon. What a tremendously beautiful cave. I had a great "once in a lifetime" birthday (when you are the same age as your birthyear) with 2 fabulous guys. Paul & Guy both carried strobes while I carried my camera, and I managed to get a few really good shots inside this awesome system.
Deanna - 8/17/2016 10:10 PM
Wish I saw this a couple days ago.....thanks for info!
SantaFeSandy - 8/18/2016 9:57 AM
Hi Deanna, are you a cave diver as well?
SantaFeSandy - 8/18/2016 10:03 AM
oops, I see that you’re a new diver. Welcome to the fold! As for Hart, all divers must be full cave certified, and have their Abe Davis award (i.e., 100 full cave divers after one receives their cc, or, 100 hours of full cave bottomtime, and verified by an approved guide). To dive the Black Lagoon, one must retain a cave guide. No Open Water, i.e., recreational divers allowed to dive this site.
SantaFeSandy - 8/17/2016 9:39 PM
I went scuba diving here on 8/17/2016. Average viz: 51-60ft/16-18m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Smokin hot flow. Took my camera anyway.
SantaFeSandy - 8/18/2016 9:58 AM
Lots of images going up in the next week, so keep checking back in to see a glimpse of inside the Little Hart cave system.
SantaFeSandy - 8/10/2016 10:38 PM
I went scuba diving here on 8/10/2016. Average viz: 61-70ft/19-21m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Wednesday August 10,2016. Today Guy and I dove Hart. What a magnificent cave system!

It truly is a photographer’s and videographer’s dream system, I’m sure!!!

Today we turned after 1400 foot penetration. Entering the cavern zone was no big deal, however the flow was rather significant in the first part of the cave.

The rope tow, as this skier calls it, was a delightful bonus.

We had 60-80 foot vis, with some particulate in the water.

Next dive we plan on staging to get to those more glorious formations, and to capture images along the way.

Love it!!!