Yesterday I was able to go to Blue Springs Park with Dylan Hansen, a filmmaker who is working on a movie about the Sabal Trail Pipeline. He and his friends wanted to take a side trip to the springs, to show people what they are trying to save. I agreed right away, as going to the springs always saves my soul. Being in such close proximity to fresh clean water is always a source of inspiration and renews my spirit. The landscape below the surface is always imbued with mystery too.
We were so fortunate to be the only people at the park. First we hiked and then Dylan's friend Jeremy Grimes and I went snorkeling. (I will post the photos from land later.) It was amazing to be able to swim right over the vent without any divers jumping and disturbing the water or landing on my head.
The tracks on the springs floor surrounding the vent were very interesting and resembled abstract paintings. I was also delighted to see so many fish and snails, as snails in particular are an indicator of a spring's health.
I didn't have time to do the whole trip from Blue Spring to Naked Spring via the run, so I swam up far enough to see it. The current was so strong that I could barely stay still to make this image. For a second, the sun came out and lit up the run.
I couldn't miss Naked Springs, I decided, so I got out to take the boardwalk back to where I could hike across land to get there more quickly. When I looked down from the boardwalk, I saw this lush underwater paradise layered with tree reflections.
When I dove down into Naked Spring, I was met with all these bubbles. The blues and greens and white dots were mesmerizing, and I definitely felt I was in another world.
It was so interesting to see cliffs underwater too. I wondered what it must feel like to squeeze within those cracks and look back up at the sky.
I dove down a little ways and looked back up and this is what I saw. The patterns in the water were even more rich looking through the water from below.
There were lots of plants surrounding the edges of this spring as well. I loved this one plant in front, the way it delicately arced and framed the red vegetation beyond. The filamentous flowerlike forms along the stem reminded me of cotton though they were much more evenly spaced.
There was so much vegetation that fish and turtles had plenty of places to take cover. I didn't even see this fish until I downloaded the images.
Besides hiding the vegetation and swimming near the vents, the fish also liked to swim out in the open. Perhaps they like to explore as much as I do.
Naked Springs Run is so inviting. Once seen, it is almost impossible not to follow it. This visit, I had to be satisfied with the invitation, as we had several other locations to visit. I left with this memory in my mind; a clear path to follow and a calling to return to the source of new inspiration.
As I swam back towards the ladder to get out, the bubbles were rising up from the vent again even more thickly this time. They almost looked like snow–a Florida Springs Christmas.