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Blue Grotto dive
Tamster - 2/15/2009 4:21 PM
Category: General
Replies: 13

I will be diving the Blue Grotto, Rainbow River and swimming with Manatee’s in early March. Anyone have info on visibility, water temp or any other tips/suggestions? Thanks!
OcalaJim - 2/16/2009 5:56 PM
Visibility at the Blue Grotto is usually better than 100 ft.... depending on how many students are in the pool! at any rate, the water temp in any of these springs is 72 degrees year round
johng - 2/16/2009 7:43 PM

go on a weekday. less people to crap up the vis.
Tamster - 2/16/2009 7:47 PM
Hmmm, you are making me think I should skip this dive and just snorkel with the manatees! :)
OcalaJim - 2/16/2009 8:52 PM
by no means! it’s a must dive - very unique. there’s plenty of good viz away from the main platform and below the 30 foot mark. the horseshoe is the best part - goes down to 100ft. you’ll love it!
ee4uandme - 2/17/2009 4:13 PM
What I did:
I had a great time snorkeling with the manatees at CrystalSpring, FL on 12/23/2008. My dive buddy and I rented a boat from CrystalLodgeDiveCenter and we snorkeled with the manatees in first thing and then dove Big or Kiss Spring. We found a nice group of manatees at 3 sisters spring. I stayed in the Holiday Inn Express in Lecanto, FL.

Keys to a good time:
Find the manatees early. The earlier you get there the less people that will be there stirring up sand and ruining your photos. Visibility has to be good to make Kiss Spring a fun dive. Vis was bad when I was so the dive wasn’t very good. My dive buddy has been there when vis was great and you see all around. The cavern is at the spring is pretty small, but deep. I will say that my best manatee encounter was my surface swim to Kiss Spring. I had a very large manatee ram into me and demand my affection outside of the keep out area. Things I would do differently:
I would go through someone like AmericanProDivingCenter and plan a morning Manatee snorkel and an afternoon drift dive on the CrystalRiver. Kayak out to the manatees at first light, and or go late in the afternoon. I talked to a father and daughter that did this and they said it was great, no boat traffic in the afternoon. Unless I had confirmed reports of really good visibility, I would not rent a boat. The boat wasn’t in good shape and we had trouble starting it (john boat). Also, we had to wait for the boat place to open while other tour companies were already on the manatees. Drift dive the CrystalRiver- crystal clear water, big fish, Florida etc. You need to make arrangements with a company to take you out on the river. Send me a message if you want phone numbers or websites for any of the places
DanM - 2/17/2009 7:06 PM

heading up this weekend for some tech training, let you know when i get back. later, Dan
johng - 2/17/2009 8:26 PM

No I didnt mean to discourage. I just implied that in the lower flow springs it is better on weekdays.

Blue Grotto is nice. I liked Paradise better but would say if you got the chance do both.

I am lost as to that crystal river post...

The name was King’s not Kiss.

Vis has been poor for about 2 to 3 years +. I would call King’s Spring a cave dive due to vis. Also as to the deep reference... its 50’...........................

3 Sisters is a must for the first timer I love the place it is crystal clear still...

Dont try to drift dive the river. thats a hell of a swim in low vis and looowww flow..

If you dont own a boat then your gonna need to rent one. last summer we did see tubers swim it but I wouldnt suggest it. A boat rental on your own and a map the hotel will give you will be all you need to find the hot spots.. If you hire a boat you are under their time restraints.

Manatees will be everywhere this time of year.


Let me know if you need any more help.
Tamster - 2/17/2009 8:48 PM
Thanks so much everyone for all the info/advice. I really appreciate all of you taking the time to respond!
ee4uandme - 2/18/2009 7:58 AM

Tammy, the map I have from the boat rental says "Kiss or Big Spring".

dalehall - 2/18/2009 8:48 AM
Hey Tammy..
Just wanted to add my 2 cents here.. We do this trip as a yearly thing for our group.. We hit a Spring on Friday (Dec 08 was Blue Grotto) , do Rainbow River drift on Saturday afternoon and then the manatee snorkel on Sunday morning. Nice relaxing time..
Blue Grotto can get really mucked up if students are there, but once you get past the platform area around Peace Rock or lower, viz is awesome even if Studi are in the platform area.. The BG staf is great and it’s fun dive. Have a goo dlight if you plan on going past Peace Rock.
For Rainbow River, we use American Pro Diving. Their RR drift dive is at 1:00 pm on Saturday and you are done around 4:00 or so. Even though you pay for the drift dive, there is a $3.00 admission fee into the KP Hole Park, so have at least 3 bucks cash for each diver.
For the manatees, we use Bird’s Underwater.. They meet at 0615 on Sunday morning and leave the docks at 0700. You are out there early.. They will take you wherever you have the best chnace to see and interact with manatees. One year it was the Main Spring, one year it was Three Sisters.. Just depends on where they think is the best place to go. We’ve never been disappointed. We are usually done around 1100 and head ot to lucnh while they make the DVD’s of the swim. After we pick those up, we head home.. It’s a GREAT weekend!!
If you have any questions, please feel free to message me.. Enjoy your trip!!!
Michelement - 2/20/2009 10:55 PM

HI Tam

We dove Blue Grotto several times over the last 2 months and I loved it! THE "horseshoe" is actually only 93 feet with about 7 feet of silt-viz is incredible as long as no one stirs that up! I have a picture on my site of a near silt out. Didn’t get to do the manateestoo early for me-
fv195 - 2/20/2009 11:36 PM

depending on when in march, lilbuddy might show up for a dive or 5. I think blue grotto is a great dive. viz in the upper pool is allways good, it is just if a lot of people go into the horsehoe, it can be less than 100’. the deepest I got was 92’ last weekend. to get deeper you have to lay in the silt.

manatees get up to early for me. the rainbow river drift dive is neat. I have done it twice.

DanM - 2/23/2009 8:22 PM
I dove the blue grotto on sat morning, vis was excellent, it was crowded, there were 2 tech classes, and some other groups of people, vis was excellent, temp 71-72, when we got up in the morning there was frost on our winshield, but the day warmed up nicely, devels den is almost directly across the street too, if your interested. we had to get back so we didn’t have any extra time to check the other places out. have fun, Dan