A Staff Trip to the Quarry
A Sunday in early July 2018, the shop National Diving Center decided to have a staff dive at Juturna Springs. Here we have Mike Tyner, me, Scott, Travis and Yovani Soto (the co-owner). We are organizing our training dives, in order to enhance the learning experience for the students. You can see all the recent pictures of the place on their Facebook page, so I’ll only be posting a couple.
Here is the map:
The quarry has depths far in excess of recreational limits, so teaching the Advanced Open Water Deep dive will be no problem. Up front, this is a quarry that fairly recently flooded. That’s a good thing for us divers, as there hasn’t been a large amount of silt build up. It also means there is better visibility than some other places.
The dive went well. I dropped down to the platform to check the thermocline and found it at about 20’ FW. Then I went back up to wait on the rest of the group. As you can see on left, we dropped to the platform, where we settled down. Hovering there I pictured how I would use the platform to teach. The three platforms that are marked are really big. They must be 16×32 or bigger and they are in great shape.
There is a third one we looked at on our second dive. We probably won’t use it as it is a bit shallower.
After a few minutes we dropped over the edge of the platform towards the blocks holding the platform in place. As we reached about 40 FFW there was a lot of particulate and we started to lose the light. I stopped at about 60 FFW, as visibility was starting to decrease so much I wanted to do a check with my buddy, Larry. Once he gave me the go ahead we headed down to our maximum depth of ~70 FW. It was so black that my Kraken 1200 only had about 6 inches of penetration. At this point I had a hold of Larry’s arm and headed up the far wall and back up to where I could see. At about 20′ FW, we came to the berm wall for the road, went over it and played there until one of the team was low on air.
After a short break and a change of tanks we headed out for another 21 – minute dive. This time we headed the other way. We saw the culvert placed in the water for us to play in. We then, as a group, decided that we were getting a bit chilly, so we headed back to shore.
To get there, just put the springs into Google maps and it will bring you right here. To get there, it took us about an hour and 15 minutes, but we have a tendency to stop for breakfast before going in. Both times we’ve been there Google/Waze has taken us up 270 to HWY 26. Once you get on #26, at the first light we have found an IHOP off to our left. There are a lot of other restaurants for lunch or dinner.
At The Quarry
For divers/students, the quarry opens at 9 am. Staging, while waiting for the park to open, is in the parking area straight across the from the entrance. Do not park in front of the gate though, as it is a working quarry on that side, as well, and the area gets a significant number of dump trucks and other construction equipment. After you enter, drive down towards the tables and look for me, as we will have started setting up preparing for your arrival. Once you drop off any gear you head back towards the entrance, but take a left and drive up the hill to the parking spot. They’ll have someone to bring you down if you don’t want to walk.