Published June 5th, 2012
Three people have died in scuba diving accidents in the Florida Keys in recent days. It isn't clear how those people died but it prompted workers in North Central Florida to make the springs safer for divers. But they're also dealing with the drought, and first time cavern divers say they aren't worried.
Ocala residents Kevin and Ruth Harris are prepping for their first cavern dive at Blue Grotto Springs in Williston.
"When you cave dive you have to learn how to get lateral in the water," Kevin Harris a diver said.
They're also going down in the cavern to enjoy underwater life.
"Its like going to the moon, its like going to a whole new place," Harris said.
After getting into the wet suit, and checking the water the married couple puts on their oxygen tanks.
"You learn you train to do different levels of things, like the person I'm with is a new diver," Harris said.
They were surprised to have to walk, several steps to get to the water and even more surprised the water used to be higher.
"No I wasn't aware of that," Harris said.
"We still got 85 feet of depth here to dive in," Dan Fisher, Manager at Blue Grotto Springs said.
Blue Grotto Springs Workers say the drought and the extreme water consumption is the reason why the levels are low.
"It was up around here somewhere," Fisher said.
To make sure divers are protected they added metal steps, and then wooden steps every time the water has receded, they also created an opening to allow water to flow out, because if not, algae can grow which wouldn't allow divers to see.
"As long as we can keep the water flowing outta here, it skims the warm water, warmer off the surface," Fisher said.
In the long run, workers and divers agree, the water levels need to be higher.
"We hope the water level comes back up," Harris said.
Despite the drought, Blue Grotto Springs Workers say business has stayed the same, and they expect the water level to rise around winter.
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