Misty Morning at Morrison Springs

Despite all the rain last night, and earlier in the week, Morrison is surprisingly clear. I was expecting muddy Choctawhatchee River water. That doesn’t mean it won’t invade later today as the river continues to rise, we’ll just have to see.

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Mist, not murk, the water is quite clear

Since I was expecting murk I didn’t actually get in, but I think the water is at least as clear as it was last weekend. I think it may be a bit better in fact, because the training platform is clearly visible from the surface at both the shore and from the entry dock. I couldn’t say about the fine particles observed in the water column last week.

It is very misty down in the river bottom this morning and the boardwalk is slippery in places, so use caution.

Wekiwa Springs, Orange County

I didn’t actually get to swim at Wekiwa Springs State Park this morning because apparently a 4′ alligator had taken up residence in the swimming area and was hiding under the retaining wall to evade removal.

However, this is the first report from a non-Panhandle spring and it was very pretty anyway!

The Pure Florida blog has a nice little video, so you can see what it does look like underwater at Wekiwa Springs.

The spring originates from a fissure-like vent at the base of the hill and fans out into a relatively flat swimming basin that appears to be 5-6′ deep throughout most of the downstream portion. There are deeper pockets, especially around the vent.

Visibility was excellent this morning and the bottom was clearly visible from all parts of the walkway around the spring.

Apparently this spring stays at 72F, a bit warmer than the Panhandle. Due to this warmer water there are some exotic fish that have colonized the spring. While exotics are generally detrimental to the environment, it was still cool to see them because I wasn’t expecting them! There were a number of plecos (sailfin catfish) that were as long as my forearm and I saw a pair of flag (Festivus) cichlids. There were also TONS of mosquito fish and other pretty little fish that I would need to be in the water to ID. Overall I would say this is a nice spring if you like looking at pretty little fish and don’t mind crowds of people during the active season.

There were quite a lot of turtles and a great blue heron too. The heron caught a small pleco and had some trouble dispatching it, but the fish finally went down.

I can see where this spring might have visibility issues when there is a lot of rain, or perhaps accumulate a lot of algae in the summer or when there is a drought, so it would be really awesome if a regular spring user here would start giving us reports.

Morrison is a bit murky…

Morrison is a little murky this morning. There is a lot of super-fine particulate matter suspended in the water. In most of the spring bowl the visibility is 8-12’…if I am being very generous. It looks like it does in the afternoon when three or more classes  have been doing check-out dives all day and the bottom is stirred up. However, nobody was in the water early so I can’t say where the silt came from. The side of the spring bowl closest to the floating dock has better vis, 12’+, but when entering from the shore it gets murky very quickly. The layer of murk goes down to at least the training platform. I wasn’t on SCUBA, so I cannot say what the vis is like down deeper in the bowl or the cavern. Not a deal-breaker for me, but not the crystal clear water I was hoping for.

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Looks really nice from shore…
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Pretty in the shallows…
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Artsy cypress stump
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Lots of little sunfish

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The haze becomes obvious as you swim away from shore
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Going toward the submerged training platform
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The training platform
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Looking down at the log over the vent, duck fin for scale. Naked eye can make out the log, camera can’t really

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morrison is Clear!

Attention divers & other spring lovers: the water is pretty nice!

Now that the weather is consistently nice & my schedule permits, I’ll try to update on Thursday or Friday weekly. Please pass our URL around to interested parties.

PDLSP is clear too, as usual, but has been getting full early in the day.