Blue Grotto in Florida! | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Coming up, a dive at Blue Grotto in Florida,
and a visit to their secret cave! Welcome to Jonathan Bird’s Blue World! Once again, I have come to cave country in
Florida for an epic adventure. Cameraman Zach and I are heading over to Blue
Grotto, one of the most popular dive training locations in North Florida. So the Blue Grotto is a great place for divers
to be trained, and they’ve set it up for diver training. You have really easy entry into the water
with stairs or a giant stride, then they have platforms underwater where divers can practice
their skills. They have an underwater diving bell, where
you can pop up and have a conversation—which I don’t know if that’s good for training
but it’s really cool—and then you can go all the way down to 100 feet to do deep
training. So, it’s not really a cave, it’s a cavern,
you can see the light coming in, so it’s safe for open water divers, and it’s just
great fun, I can’t wait to go check it out. It’s perfect for diver training because
it’s almost like a really deep swimming pool, with crystal clear warm water. But there is another, secret part of the Blue
Grotto I’m going to get to see today, and it’s only available to certified cave divers! The adventure begins when I meet up with Kevin
Tate, the head dive instructor, and my guide for the day. We’re going to start with a dive in the
main grotto, to check out the training facility. I don’t need cave diving gear for this dive,
but it’s what I brought. (So I’m going to try out something new today,
which is putting my tanks on up here and then walking with the two sidemount tanks down
to the water. Never done this before! Kevin tells me it’s no problem. They are kinda low riders but it looks like
they are basically on. Okay here we go, good grief! Ha ha it’s kind of heavy! Divers enter the water at Blue Grotto by just
jumping off the dock. Then we can submerge down to the first platform. It’s easy to see why this is such a popular
place for dive training. The water is crystal clear! We get our cameras focused and head on down
into the cavern. I really want to check out the air bell, which
is a famous feature of Blue Grotto. The air bell is held to the ceiling of the
cavern by the powerful buoyancy of all that air. They constantly pump fresh air down to it
so I know it’s safe to breathe inside. It’s really weird to pop my head up into
a dry space underwater. Zach comes up inside too and we can have a
conversation…although we can’t really think of anything to say. So this is weird! We’re inside this thing underwater! The fish are looking at us! Hey what’s up fish? Next we take a trip down to the deepest part
of the grotto. It’s a little bit like cave diving, but
we can still see light from above, so technically, it’s a cavern. If you go to the very bottom, you can meet
the mermaid. Then it’s back up to the shallows and the
light. At the second platform, three rebreather divers
are doing some training. We have a look around. Even though it seems like a pool this is really
more like a small pond. So it has fish. I also get to meet Virgil, the famous and
friendly resident soft shell turtle, who comes out to meet almost every diver. He is adorable and curious. Zach and I spend about 15 minutes just filming
him as he models for us. After the dive, Kevin shows me the entrance
to the secret cave section of the facility. Now, give me a little history! The first guy that found it was in the early
‘60s, he was inside the cavern and he noticed some fish that were biting at stuff that looked
like an outflow coming up. And he thought that was weird, and so he started
digging where the fish were. Well, as soon as he started digging, it sucked
in and opened up a little bit, and he realized holy crap there’s something back there. Well, he opened it up and he climbed in. He thought it would be safe and prudent of
him if there was an air bell in there in case there was some kind of emergency. So he and a friend of his took an old bathtub,
and they shoved it in from this area and took this bathtub inside the cave with the idea
that they were going to mount it on the ceiling or push it to the ceiling and blow air to
it to where it would stick to the ceiling so if either one of them had some kind of
problem in the cave at least they would have someplace to come to for a safety stop. The bathtub is still in there. We haven’t taken it out. Next it’s time to dive! I follow Kevin down through the low cave entrance. Almost as soon as we enter the main cave,
we find the bathtub. It definitely would not have been as nice
an air bell as the clear one over in the grotto! We continue past a PVC pipe, which is actually
a water-well. Whoever drilled that well definitely struck
water! As we follow the guideline deeper into the
cave, I notice a very thick layer of super fine sediment on the rocks. Just to demonstrate—divers need to be extremely
careful in here because a careless fin kick could create a visibility nightmare. We are careful to keep our feet high, away
from all that silt. 300 feet from the entrance, we reach the end
of the line. There are three different routes back, with
each of the arrows pointing a unique path. Kevin takes the middle route, so he can take
us to the most famous resident of this cave. It’s on the top of a giant mound of rocks
and silt. Is it a cave crayfish? A blind cavefish? It’s….it’s….an action figure! On the way out, we eventually cross paths
with our route in. Our bubbles hitting the ceiling have knocked
loose some silt, which is raining down. You definitely get better shots on the way
in. Woo hoo hoo, that was great. A GI Joe and a bathtub on a cave dive, ha
ha! The Blue Grotto is definitely one of the wildest,
most unique places I have visited as a diver. An air bell, a mermaid, a cave king and a
curious turtle are just part of the fun at Blue Grotto. Hey Everyone, thanks for watching this episode
all the way to the end. If you know what character that action figure
is, please tell us in the comments down below. And don’t forget to subscribe!

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