Vortex Springs

Florida
USA East

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Submitted By:
Charlotte Schmelzer

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Directions:
 VORTEX Springs in Ponce De Leon FL. It is a natural spring and mostly around 70 degrees. It boasts Gin Clear vis! There is a cavern there and some swim throughs.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

06/16/2010 Trae (Avg: 3.95 Review) - Great place for training. I was certified there through MBT Divers. Lots of students of all types there due to consistent conditions.

06/22/2009 Flaski (Avg: 3.85 Review) - Great spot for newbies and advanced. Great place for group dive events. Great place for year round diving at 68 degrees. Great back up when gulf conditions are poor.

01/07/2008 Jay and Tara (Avg: 3.73 Review) - A decent dive. The staff is super pleasant, and for the 19 dollar admission fee you get a your first fill free. The fresh eels are a sight to see, and there are loads of carp. The visibility wasn't great, but not bad. Remember to check out Morrison Springs while in the area.

09/04/2007 Anonymous (Avg: 2.22 Review) - (The text of the review was deleted because of *anonymous* negative comments about the management of Vortex Springs- Editor)

10/18/2006 Chris in Woodstock (Avg: 3.81 Review) - I have dove Vortex numerous times over a period of two different weeks. The first week in Mar '06 I was doing my AOW training. The second week in Sep '06 when my daughter was doing her OW training. This is an excellent place to do training because it is clear and calm with very easy entry at docks and stairs and a gradually sloping bottom. They have a platform about 20 ft. down for practicing skills. The mouth of the cave is about 45-60 ft. down so it is perfect for beginners. In the mouth of the cave it is common to see freshwater eels and fish. Intermediate divers may enjoy the swim-thru's in the spring outside the cave. Experienced divers can also enjoy going into the large cave. Though diving in any overhead environment should not be taken lightly, this cave has a rock bottom with little silt and lighted strips to follow in and out. It goes back in a few hundred feet in the ground before you reach a locked steel grate. (My depth gauge said 111 ft. at the grate.) You must be fully cave certified to go beyond the grate as it becomes more narrow and difficult. Usually the water at Vortex is very clear (50-100ft vis). Although the last time I was there it was rainy and the staff was pulling weeds, so visibility went down to about 10 feet in the main basin. I decided to dive Morrison Springs toward the end of the week and it was like diving in an aquarium (although no other divers were in the water when I went). My family and I tent-camped at Vortex which was nice since we had easy access to the water anytime throughout the day. However, you definitely pay for this convenience. They tend to nickel-dime you at this privately-owned spring. Camping for 2 people isn't too bad at $17.50/night, but it costs an additional $12 for my two children per night. Plus and additional charge each for electricity and water of $3.50/tent. When you total it up, we were paying $33/night to tent camp! It doesn't cost much more to stay at a local hotel. Diving costs $32/day/diver in addition to the camping fees which include a single air fill. The main reason I like Vortex is that it has things for non-divers to do. They have swings, diving boards, and slides to play on. My son was still too young to get scuba certified, but he was able to play and enjoy the water while my daughter completed her certification. Once my son is old enough to get certified, we'll probably opt for other locations due to the cost. The water at nearby Morrison Springs can be just as clear and free! Nonetheless, Vortex is a very nice dive if you are traveling with other non-divers and need the facilities.

01/23/2006 ReefDiver (Avg: 3.44 Review) - As a relatively new diver (16 dives), I really enjoy this place. There are a lot of ways to hone your diving ability. For the beginner, this is a safe and fun way to log some bottom time. It can get crowded and mucked up on the weekends, so I suggest early morning during the week. Let the classes have it on Sat/Sun. I have no complaints about Vortex; it's a great experience, and great for winter dives! Well worth the drive over.

07/20/2005 Bill Diamond (Avg: 3.73 Review) - I loved diving vortex springs. The swim throughs are great for an intermediate diver to experiment with notion of cave diving, and the cavern, the houses and the cave entrance are an adventure for a newer diver. If you are experienced, then get into the cave (they certify cave divers on the site.) I will do my caver certification at vortex for sure.

06/14/2005 Dan 1 (Avg: 2.98 Review) - I was there about the same time in April. I know what you mean about the viz. We have been there 3 times and this was the 1st time diving. I don't believe the viz problem was caused by a problem in the caves. They had several days very heavy rain (something like over 10 inches), and this occurred several times this spring. I was told by the folks at Vortex, the viz problem was caused by the unusually heavy rains. So you were one of those dive students we were bumping into.... Congratulations. Keep diving. It gets better. (Now if Fort Pickens would reopen so I can dive there again!)

04/30/2005 Stephen (Avg: 3.62 Review) - Just got back from diving it this morning. Bad visibility due to problems in cave. I finished my open water certification, though, so it's all good.

12/18/2004 Terry Holt (Avg: 3.91 Review) - For the beginning diver, this is the best place in my opinion to do any training. The facilities are excellent and like I said before the diving was great with 67 degree water and animal life. The night diving was exciting as well.

10/28/2004 Joe Scooba (Avg: 4.10 Review) - Well-marked signage from Ponce De Leon, 5 miles north of I-10. Full service dive shop, camping (primitive & pull-through), dormitory and cabin style lodging as well. Fee to swim, to dive, to camp, but this place is definitely worth a visit if you're in the panhandle. Nice cavern with a cave feel, filtration system clears water fast after storms and lines the route down the cavern to the gated cave zone. Beautiful limestone formations and many fossils in the rocks in the deeper section. Staff is friendly and courteous, www.vortexspring.com. They also guide canoe trips to Cypress Springs which is no longer divable from shore due to corporate ownership.

09/28/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 2.78 Review) - I did my OW check out dives here. And have been back once since. It's a pleasant dive. The area is not huge but good. There are usually a large number of classes here. So they can stir up the water and knock down vis. I would try to get there real early or during the week to avoid the crowds. This is also a good place to practice your skills, as there is no current. Much of it is in the 30 or so depth. And a good place to go in Winter, when the Gulf is too cold.


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Diver Averages for  Vortex Springs  (1=worst, 5=best)


Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.50
Bottom Conditions:  3.67
Reef Conditions:  3.00
Animal Life:  3.67
Plant Life:  2.67
Facilities:  3.92
Solitude 3.25
Roads:  3.83
*Site Average:  3.51
   

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.42
Beginner Scuba:  4.58
Intermediate Scuba:  4.25
Advanced Scuba:  3.83
Night diving Scuba:  3.42

Number of reviews for this site: 12

1343-6-5-46


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