Monday, November 3, 2014

Sunshine State Getaway...Freshwater Springs and White Sand Beaches

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The only thing worse than a Monday morning is a Monday morning after a week long vacation. I should know , having just finished up my first week back at work after spending nine days either traversing the country between Kansas and Florida or basking in the Sunshine states warm rays. Even after a week back at home I'm still struggling with the basic concept of things such as alarm clocks and to-do lists and whether they have a useful purpose in my life.
The wife and I had been needing a week away and had talked about wanting to do some scuba diving wherever we went. With that in mind , a plan was devised to pack up the Blazer and head for the state of Florida to sample just a couple of the diving opportunities it has available.
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It was a cross country trip that had us spending our first night in Nashville with family and then proceeding on down to High Springs Florida and our first destination , Ginnie Springs.
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We spent two nights here , camping under the Florida stars and diving some of the most amazing freshwater spring systems in the country.
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Ginger and I both dove the main cavern accessible to open-water divers ,Ginnie Spring , and I also dove the Devils Ear and Devils Throat cavern systems while there.
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The spring waters were crystal clear and the entryways to all of these systems were amazing sights to see. I took some photos while diving but unfortunately very few of them were even useable and none of them capture the beauty of the systems. My underwater photo equipment is an outdated 35mm print camera and this trip convinced me that I need to upgrade to digital. For now you'll just have to take my word for it , these cave systems are an incredible sight to see , true works of art by Mother Nature.
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After leaving Ginnie Springs it was off to the Gulf Coast and four nights in Destin Florida. The last five days were spent sampling some of the Gulf diving available offshore of Destin , lounging around on some of the most beautiful white sand beaches we'd ever seen and trying unsuccessfully to eat our fill of fresh gulf seafood.
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We dove both natural limestone ledges covered in coral and artificial reefs in the course of our gulf diving. We didn't see anything large on any of the dives but the waters were full of smaller tropicals and various baitfish. The visibility averaged around 30 feet on our dives with lots of sediment in the water , this again made my attempts at underwater photography almost totally fruitless.
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After one dive I just left the camera onboard the boat and enjoyed the underwater views the gulf had to offer.
Our topside time was spent lounging on the local beaches , myself occasionally breaking away to ply the surf for any of it's local citizens , and just generally relaxing and enjoying the beautiful weather we were afforded.
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I didn't work too hard at the fishing on this trip , a couple of mornings on the jetty and walking the beach and then some time fishing the surf while lounging on the beach in the afternoon. I never saw any fish busting any bait , nor did I see any bait in the water. I know the fishing can be really good around the Destin area and I'm sure the fish were going somewhere , just not anywhere I fished in my four days.
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I saw a couple of big redfish caught off the jetties using live bait but I just couldn't hook up with anything in my timee there. My only accomplishments were a couple of small ladyfish and several long ,thin surf dwellers called needlefish. With a little more time I'm sure I could have figured out a bite somewhere , but with all of the activities vying for my attention in such a short time it just wasn't happening on this trip.
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And lastly we did our best to sample all of the fresh seafood that the gulf had to offer on our stay in the area. From shrimp po-boys to blackened amberjack , if it was swimming yesterday we were game to eat it today!
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We hit the top rated restaurants (as long as they were on the beach) and the hole in the walls , as well as cooking up our own seafood feast one evening at the condo.
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If the trip had been any longer I would have needed a new membership at the local gym or a larger wardrobe , one of the two.
Another great getaway that seemed to come to a close all too soon , if only these work weeks would go by half as quickly.....
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  1. looks like a really awesome week! the white sands are pretty darn amazing.

    1. Thanks Theresa , it was a really nice vacation for us. Those white sand beaches were amazing as well , I've been all over the Carribean and I don't think I've ever seen sand that was as fine and white as this was almost like walking on a bed of sugar.

  2. You were on a beach in FL and I didn't see another person in your photos...that's an awesome long as you didn't get food poisoning!

    1. No food poisoning , luckily. Late October is definitely a good time to visit the sunshine state. We've been during the summer season before and between the humidity and hordes of tourists everywhere we just decided to try an off-season trip. The water was a little chilly but other than that everything was perfect!

  3. some beautifull photo's. and that's what i thought, "not another person in sight"

  4. Thanks...I have this habit of trying to schedule my outings for just about any activity during a time when most folks are doing something else. It's not that I'm unsociable , I just don't like people!!