Friday, August 13, 2010

Swimming at Lithia Springs, Florida

There were a lot of people at the park. The water was pale blue with a white sand floor. The setting around the water looks like a beach, but walk a few paces and you're in the woods.

Blue spring water peeking through the woods.

I put on my mask and snorkel, quickly got in the water, and jumped back up just as fast. Brrr! The spring water was really cold. I was determined to snorkel in the clear water, but it took a while to acclimate to the cool temperature. The first three tries I went under I found my body involuntarily coming back up. So, I took off the mask and swam around to get used to the temperature.

When I got back underwater the visibility was great. Despite all the screaming kids splashing around there were schools of fish by outcroppings of rocks. They weren't concerned about sharing space with people unless they were chased. The sand was full of small snail shells. I had heard that this was a good place to look for shark teeth, but after sifting through the sand with my hands for a while I gave up. I looked around the rocks for life and swam with the fish. It was quiet underwater. As soon as I came up I heard the noises of kids at play.

Water flowing from Lithia Springs major to the Alafia River.

The big spring is a 2nd magnitude spring, which means that a lot of water can flow from the aquifer. The flow from Lithia Springs major can go up to 50 cubic feet per second. There's a cave with a grate over it in the deep end where the water comes out of the ground. As I swam closer to the source the water got colder and the current became stronger. It felt like swimming in place. I tried to get as close as I could to the cave and got a look at it, but the current was too strong to touch the grate.

If I get a chance to take scuba lessons, a Florida spring would be a good place. The water is sweet and doesn't sting your eyes. Getting a mouthful isn't as unpleasant as a mouthful of seawater. Scuba diving isn't permitted at Lithia Springs, but there are plenty of first magnitude springs in Florida for scuba diving. Weeki Wachee is closest to where I live. Ginnie Springs may be another good spot for learning how to scuba.

Florida springs are beautiful, fascinating settings. The water is a refreshing break from the summer heat.

More photos of Lithia Springs, Florida.

Related links:
Florida Springs Database
Ginnie Springs
Lithia Springs
Weeki Wachee Springs


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  2. Anonymous5:39 AM

    Very nice. I want to visit Lithia Spring this coming Sunday. Thanks for the pictures and description.