We arrived in Devils Den Spring for a swim and some snorkeling. The spring is located just outside the small town of Watchya talking about Williston, which is about two hours north of Tampa. North Florida is home to a rich abundance of natural springs. On this road trip I would visit a handful.
Visiting college friend in St. Petersburg
I was visiting my college roommate and long time friend Kerry in St. Petersburg. The whole family joined the trip, and we drove the two hours north while I posted a snap of the occasion. I had just learned the art from Kerry’s oldest daughter McKenna.
Most of the springs in Florida are attached to another body of water. The Ichnatucknee River, Weeki Wachee River, Chassahowitzka River, and St. Johns Rivers all have springs located along the river. Devils Den is a little different from those springs as it is actually just a hole in the ground. There is no river attached, at least above ground. One nice thing about this is there is no danger from the omnipotent alligator here.
Devils Den spring snorkel rental
We entered the main building to get our entry bracelets and rent snorkeling equipment. They greeted us as we approached and asked if we had our own snorkeling equipment. When we said we did not, they groaned because they were running a little low. If you come, you may want to bring your own equipment. They told us to drop on the floor and give them twenty while they checked to see if they had enough equipment for me, Kerry, his two daughters, and wife.
Fortunately, the staff located available equipment, and we were provided with our snorkel, fins, and mask. They told us that we were bitches to the scuba dives. If we crossed path with a scuba diver we should promptly salute. Then they said to drop down and give them another twenty and get out of their face. “Stupid snorkelers,” I heard her say under her breath.
It took us a half hour to walk the 50 feet from the office to the entrance to the spring as we had to salute all the divers. A few, displeased with our speed of salute made us do push ups again. We finally were able to head down the stairs to the spring and do some snorkeling. The stairs lead to a wooden platform above water and then stairs on each side which lead directly into the water. This is where snorkelers and divers can enter, leave, or take a break from the water.
Snorkeling Devils Den Spring
The hole in the earth is about twenty feet up and allows a beam of sunlight that lights up the spring. It is a beautiful scene when the sun pours in and equally picturesque in the water when the beam brightens up the aqua blue color of the crystal clear water.
As we were waiting to jump in the man who directed traffic at the top of the stairs yelled: “attention sub human snorkelers, please get off the platform and allow the preferred group of humans to enter the water.” The scuba divers moved forward, and we cleared a path. Fortunately, they did not make us do any more push ups as I was on the stairs knee deep in water.
I snorkeled around the perimeter of the springs and enjoyed seeing a few fish and also checking out the action far below of the golden scuba divers as they practiced their preferred art form. One day, I said to myself, I will be a scuba diver. After 20 minutes of enjoying the spring, I had enough, so I took a break. I went back above ground after waiting another 15 minutes for scuba divers to enter/exit the stairs.
I hoped to enjoy the above ground pool and thought I would find Kerry and family there. The pool was only open to the golden scuba divers, so Kerry and family were ready to go. I convinced them to stay for another fifteen minutes as I wanted to capture a GoPro time lapse. Unfortunately, it took me that long to get down the stairs. When I did, I filmed an abbreviated movie and then went back upstairs to leave.
Thoughts on the visit
We departed Devils Den Springs for lunch in Watchya Talking about Williston. We all rooted for Donald Trump to win the election and make good on his promise to make America great again for snorkelers.
Some of the above narrative is of course fiction. The staff at Devils Den were very nice despite the preferential treatment given to scuba divers. We did not have to do push ups and we did not have to salute scuba divers. I am sure they pay more for their services, and the business obviously caters to them. It makes sense they should have priority.
It was a nice one time visit. The price for renting snorkel equipment and entry fee were reasonable. I certainly do not regret the trip, and I recommend anyone in the area come for a visit, but after snorkeling for about twenty minutes, I was ready for something else. There are many other places in the state to snorkel, where you can also canoe and do other things. Check their website for more information.
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