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Thread: Questions about cave diving in Florida

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    RBW Member slavo is an unknown quantity at this point slavo's Avatar
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    Questions about cave diving in Florida

    Hi,
    I am a french cave diver (Meg rebreather) and I would like to come to discover some caves of Florida. Do you have some advice (hotel, renting for gas, tanks, and prices, etc.). Thanks for your answers.
    Francis

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    Re: Questions about cave diving in Florida

    Quote Originally Posted by slavo  View Original Post
    Hi,
    I am a french cave diver (Meg rebreather) and I would like to come to discover some caves of Florida. Do you have some advice (hotel, renting for gas, tanks, and prices, etc.). Thanks for your answers.
    Francis
    Three general vicinities, and I'll list the tourist highlights....
    1. High Springs
    - Ginnie Springs/Devil's Ear\Eye, ~$20/day
    - Shops
    - (CEE) Cave Excursions East, does carry sorb, any gas you'd want fast...
    - (EE) Extreme Exposure (local DIR mecca, so unless your on an RB80 you'll get treated w/ some indifference...)
    - Lodging
    - A few motels, High Springs Country Inn and Cadillac are cheap and reasonable.

    2. Luraville (~40 mins from High Springs)
    - Peacock Springs, Telford, Cow
    - Little River is in Branford, ~1/2 way between Luraville and High Springs...)
    - Shops
    - (DO) Dive Outpost has sorb...
    - (CE) Cave Excusions (dunno if they carry sorb)
    - Both have O2 and nitrox premixed. Don't know about Helium... as Peacock is generally < 80' 32% is the mix of choice.
    - DO has accommodations ranging from 2-3 person cabins, to bunkhouse style lodging.
    - CE rents mobile home\trailers which is good and affordable if coming w/ a large group...

    If your flying solo and don't mind shared space, you can't beat the $$$ of DO, and part of who you may run into and chat up is part of the fun of diving IMHO, and Cathy is good people....

    Also, between High Springs and Luraville in Ft. White is Amigo's dive center... also good people... with a massive fill station...

    3. Merrit's Mill Pond
    A bit further west along the highway, and the area I know the least about... A few local motels, and only one shop... Cave Adventurer's... Edd Sorenson (sp?) is the man to talk to... They also have premixed nitrox and have O2.... There's a handfull of different systems on the pond, Jackson Blue is accessable via a park (daily fee, ~20 or so), and you have to register w/ the Sherrif's Office. The remainder are only accessable by boat, Edd has pontoon's for rent...

    All the shops I mentioned have premixed Nitrox, O2 and rent bailout cylinders....
    DO and CEE have Sorb....

    I don't have a firm grasp yet on who has rental rebreather cylinders.

    When are you looking at coming...?
    For how long...?

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    Re: Questions about cave diving in Florida

    Wayne at Amigos has rental rebreather cylinders in all sizes.

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    Re: Questions about cave diving in Florida

    Another vote for the Dive Outpost, Cathy is great, can arrange most rntal kit, has maps of most of the frequently dived caves

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    Re: Questions about cave diving in Florida

    What sort of diving do you want to do? Deep? Long? Simpler? The great thing about Florida is that there's such diversity available.

    For your initial trip it's hard to beat the High Springs area. It has Ginnie - and more importantly, lots of stores and people. Jill Heinerth is someone you should email or call before coming over - go look at her website at rebreatherpro.com. Corey and Joel at Salvo are avid rebreather divers and can give you advice - Salvo is located in High Springs across the road from the two best fleapits in High Springs. Cadillac Motel is as old, poorly run and bad as its eponymous vehicle... but a lot cheaper. And it's hard to beat Ginnie as a starting point for a rebreather trip. Drop a couple of cylinders in the system and you'll have endless diving ahead of you with reduced bailout carrying needs since access to many spots is up the same passage. Spend the dough on Jeff Hancock's excellent map - well worth the $150 - and you'll have weeks and weeks of well- mapped exploring in a single cave system, especially if you don't have a scooter.

    A few European rebreather instructors use Dive Outpost, so that's worth considering too. Ask to speak to Mike McCauliffe over there, he's a rebreather diver and can give you tons of advice.

    Enjoy the trip! There's just so much to do in Florida. You'll love it!
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    Re: Questions about cave diving in Florida

    What dates are you planning on coming to N Florida?

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    Re: Questions about cave diving in Florida

    Another Vote for Dive Outpost. Lodging is economical, you can eat there (self-prepare food), and they have diving within 5 minutes of the place. The camaraderie at Dive Outpost after-diving cannot be beat. Don't do a Motel if you can stay there. Many thanks to Rick and Eric for dragging me there (Hi Guys).

    Wayne at Amigo's is a super guy as well. Has a SUPER gas-filling station. He's one smart guy and can set you up with all sorts of stuff. No place to stay though.

    No matter where you go, visit both. You'll find friends that you have not met before.


    Dave

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    RBW Member slavo is an unknown quantity at this point slavo's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about cave diving in Florida

    Hi Guys,

    It's very friendly. I have all I could hope. It only remains for me to decide when I shall come. And I am sure to meet friends and fun in this world's area. Thanks again to all and perhaps the pleasure to meet you soon.
    Best regards

    Francis

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    Re: Questions about cave diving in Florida

    Hi Francis,

    As many have opined, the hospitality is first rate and you can expect to have a very good time. It can be a lot of fun to meet with all the local shops and instructors. You can also expect to make many friends.

    Regarding the weather, the dreaded floods are to be avoided. Even so, there are systems that are easier to dive during flooding. Summers are very hot and humid, however the cave diving can be sublime with the steady 72F water temperature. Even winter can be somewhat pleasant with t-shirt weather during the afternoon. The strange bit is that although the cave water temperature is fairly steady, it has a cooling effect in the summer and feels warm in the winter (especially when compared to the rivers).

    There are systems that can only be dived on a guided basis, so making friends is imperative. Fortunately, this is easy and you can expect very good hospitality.

    Also leave some time to visit the many local restaurants. There is good food to be enjoyed in many places.

    You may wish to familiarize yourself with the local cave maps before going to get a sense of the caves and what might hold your interest.

    Finally, a word of warning: it may be hard to go back home after and there may be dreams of returning to cave country...

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    Re: Questions about cave diving in Florida

    Francis;
    Much good advice so far. I'd add Wakulla Diving Center Florida CCR Training/Repair/Support to your list. Very rebreather friendly shop with anything you could want for. Gregg is a standup guy with encyclopedic knowledge.

    Bill

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