Friday, August 8, 2014

Beautiful Juniper Springs!

When I was a kid my dad would take us to swim in freshwater springs whenever we visited Florida. That is where he grew up so he knew all the good spots. Most of the places I had been before have closed so I asked Katie for some recommendations. We ended up at Juniper Springs in the Ocala National forest and it was amazing!
When we pulled up to pay this lady stuck that net out so fast it made us laugh. I just noticed the last rule on the sign is "Use of chainsaws is prohibited."
I left my good camera in the car so I just have phone and underwater camera pics of this place. But you can kinda see how beautiful it was! This place was built in the 1930's and this main swimming area has a ledge built all around, and a sandy bottom. The water was FREEZING and crystal clear. It took a second to get used to but I loved it! I could have stayed in all day!
We almost got the hang of Crystal's underwater camera on this outing. The secret seems to be to hold it underwater for a while before you start shooting so the lens isn't fogged up. Most of the above water shots are really foggy because of condensation. Then of course water got in the camera and ruined it about halfway through so it didn't matter that I figured it out. Dang!
Little fish! After we had been in about four hours we saw some kind of freshwater eel thing under this ledge and got scared and left. Haha! We saw a turtle to!
We all got goggles for the occasion. It was a good move!
My snorkel lasted about 2 minutes. I kept going too deep and breathing in water.
Travis was the bravest and would go the deepest and furthest. We got the best underwater pics of him! See his appropriate manatee tattoo? 
The middle of the swimming area was full of these plants. Which looked really cool as you were swimming over them. I felt like I was swimming in the black lake, going to find my treasure during the Tri-Wizard Tournament. It was gross when it touched you by surprise though.
Travis kept swimming down into it and sitting in little clearings of it. 
Crystal was scared to swim in it at first and preferred to stay in her float.
It's hard to know where to aim with the underwater camera. You can't really look through the viewfinder, or see the screen while it's underwater. There were many attempts at a photo of me and Travis. Here is one.
And another.
And here is one of me being a mermaid. Oh my gosh I loved swimming in here so much! This is making me want to head out to rock island again as soon as possible! If only it was so clear!
Pointing at a fish.
Travis kept swimming so deep! I tried but it made my ears hurt. He could swim almost down to the mouth of the spring. He even found a shark tooth!
How cool! Too bad he put it in his wallet and broke it. Dang!
I think we were there a total of six hours. We even had a picnic lunch. Nothing tastes so delicious as a good sandwich after you've been swimming for hours. It was a perfect way to spend the day! 


  1. Why was there a shark tooth in there?!

    My sister has an underwater camera and never had much success with it. Hers also got water in it and broke, which is crazy to me.

    I love that last picture. You guys are so cute.

    1. i THINK because the springs are all interconnected and the teeth are fossilized so they come up through the springs? there were a lot there, little kids were finding them all day!

  2. I love this, I'm so glad you guys went here (even though you missed out on Fern Hammock Springs!).

  3. That is awesome! Looks like everyone had a great time ...


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