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Ichetucknee Head Springs and Blue Hole Spring

Crevice in the Itchetukcnee Head Springs

Crevice in the Itchetukcnee Head Springs

I finally broke down and got a housing for my camera, so I could take it underwater and experiment.  It was the perfect day to go, as it was 96 degrees and so dry I kept getting fire alerts every 20 minutes.  The springs were the perfect place to rejuvenate.  Though I spotted algae at the edges of the steps, when I swam out aways it was better.  There were still healthy grasses and colorful vegetation.  The reflections looking up were a myriad of colors.  

Unity of Above and Below, Itchetucknee Head Springs

Unity of Above and Below, Itchetucknee Head Springs

When I looked straight up and saw the blue sky and blazing sun I was hiding from down there, the lens I was using made me feel the world above and below were joined with no horizon line or demarcations separating these universes.  The colors in the water were earthen as well, while the sky was the blue I usually associate water with.

Itchetucknee Head Springs Underater Vegetation

Itchetucknee Head Springs Underater Vegetation

Near the head springs there is a log of underwater vegetation, some natural and some invasive. There was also a layer of algae underneath in some places.  

Fallen Tree with Algae  

Fallen Tree with Algae  

The fallen tree collected algae as well, likely because ti is stationary.  Every time I go back, the springs are a little less full of life, but there is a strange wonderland down there and these waters are the source of our lives.  We would do well to preserve them before more native grasses are lost and the water becomes too toxic to swim in and ultimately drink.  Florida just received the dubious distinction of having the second worst water in the country, beaten only by the State of Texas.

Caught in the Balance of Light and Dark

Caught in the Balance of Light and Dark

The big hole is the main vent and the force of the water pushes you back.  When I saw this woman floating at an angle, it was as if she was being pushed away and drawn towards the light at the same time.

Drawn to the Blue Water

Drawn to the Blue Water

Around every corner, I was drawn to the blue water beyond.  There were frequently shadowy figures at the edges of my frames.  I am not sure what the people of north Florida are going to do when its over 100 degrees on a regular basis and they can't swim to cool off.  

Underwater Mysteries

Underwater Mysteries

Every time I got near the big vent, I wonder what was beyond the edge and what the source of all this water looked like.  The thin yellow green line created by the reflection of the vegetation along the banks created the illusion of symmetry, but nothing matched exactly making it more intriguing to view.

Blue Hole Spring

Blue Hole Spring

Before I left the park, I hiked down to Blue Hole Spring.  It was too late in the day for the bright blue color to be visible, though the water was clearly that color.  The force seemed stronger here and I had difficulty swimming back to the dock with my camera in its housing from this direction.  I looked across the vent and saw two people swimming in opposite directionsNo one was directly over the Blue Hole.  

Tunnel of Light, Run to Blue Hole Spring

Tunnel of Light, Run to Blue Hole Spring

This was next to the dock to enter Blue Hole Spring.  There was a sign to this little run that said no wading to preserve clarity and off course someone jumped off the dock anyway.  I just floated a short way in because I was so drawn to the light.  The sun in the distance lit up the sandy bottom, making it feel like a tunnel in the midst of the dark bands created by the vegetation.  Sometimes it is rewarding to see the whole bottom lit up by the light, but the contrast between light and dark, and the shafts of light that penetrate to the bottom create drama in this fragile underworld.