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Ginnie Springs, A Magical Underwater World

Seeing Heaven from Ginnie Springs

Seeing Heaven from Ginnie Springs

A couple of days ago I got down to Ginnie Springs about an hour before sunset.  Miraculously, I had the springs to myself almost the entire time I was there.  Swimming about in the clear water, I looked up through the lens of the surface and saw the sun make a starburst from one of the trees. I felt I was in heaven.  Suddenly I forgot all the political problems our country is experiencing, and all the suffering I have been witnessing.  For a moment it was all washed clean and I had hope.

The Vibrant Colors of Ginnie Springs

The Vibrant Colors of Ginnie Springs

The rocks were green and red and the water a deep blue.  There were patterns below and patterns above. It was pure delight for my senses and so beautiful.

A Secret World, Ginnie Springs Vegetation

A Secret World, Ginnie Springs Vegetation

Over on one side there was a clump of vegetation.  It was vibrant green and very detailed against the impressionistic surface of the water.  I couldn't quite figure out why the underside of the water's surface was so blurred against the details of the plants, rocks, shells and twigs that were scattered across the sand.  Perhaps it was the way the light was hitting the water.  There was no real turbulence.  It was a mystery that called me in further.

Diagonal Reflections Mirror the Crevice in Ginnie Springs

Diagonal Reflections Mirror the Crevice in Ginnie Springs

As I swam along the crevice, I may have created my own turbulence by kicking.  I supposed that is what created the unusual diagonal reflections.   The surface tension of the water broke in places and hints of the blue sky and green trees broke through, reminding me of the world I usually inhabit.

The Craggy Bottom of Ginnie Springs

The Craggy Bottom of Ginnie Springs

The floor of these springs is so unusual with boulders and craggy rocks.  Shape, color, texture, all are present.  I couldn't believe my luck in getting to spend so much time down there alone.  Each photograph was like a painting. 

The Ominous Side of Ginnie Springs

The Ominous Side of Ginnie Springs

Around the edge of the pool, there were tree roots that seemed to attract algae and other growths.   There was also algae on the rocks near the headspring itself.  Mark Wray and his family have been working hard to protect these springs. Jacques Cousteau once said this water was the cleanest in the world.  It has not been easy to keep them this way and these images show they have not been entirely successful due to increases in nitrogen. This article from the Tampa Bay Times discusses Mark Wray's efforts and also how concerned he is about excess pumping, since that depletes the aquifer and the flow of the springs.  Compared to other springs I visited recently, I did feel the water was cleaner.  It must have been incredible before pollutants made there way here.   http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/water/ginnie-springs-owner-fights-off-threats/1262973

Ginnie Springs Headspring

Ginnie Springs Headspring

Fortunately the algae stayed mostly on the rocks and was not throughout the water column, as it was in some other springs I visited along the Santa Fe the next day.  It was magical exploring this underworld, which continually surprised me with new angles, colors, reflections, creatures, and light.  There is something about swimming in the springs that brings you back to life, especially in 90+ degree days in North Florida, where we don't have beaches or much of a breeze. Everyone I spoke with in the campground felt the same way.  If we allow these springs to me further harmed, we will be destroying a treasure and people from surrounding states and overseas will stop visiting.  The springs are invaluable on so many counts, not the least being that they are the source of our drinking water too.

Mysterious Underworld of Ginnie Springs

Mysterious Underworld of Ginnie Springs