LOCATION: (lat. 28°31'02.7" N., long. 82°34'24.6" W.)
Weeki Wachee Spring is located in Hernando County, FL at the Southwest corner of the intersection of Hwy 19 & SR50.
This first magnitude spring is the centerpiece of a tourist attraction & water park. It is home of the world famous Weeki Wachee mermaids. On several occasions over the years, the management has opened the spring to dive instructors, qualified divers and dive clubs for various training and recreational functions (easter egg hunts, etc.). Though many sneak dives have been attempted, cave divers have always been thwarted by the incredible flow and tight entrance. The legendary Sheck Exley describes trying to dive this spring in his book "Caverns Measureless to Man". The extremely high flow in a chamber near the entrance reportedly sent him tumbling head over heels. The logistics and gear requirements for the 200'+ depths were just too great for clandestine efforts to produce any real knowledge of the extent of the cave system.
Around the late 90's, cave divers first received permission to explore and map another deep cave on the Weeki Wachee property, Twin Dees. Shortly thereafter, plans were laid to begin exploring the main spring once conditions were right and the flow from the spring was diminished enough by drought to allow divers to safely pull their way down the narrow crevasse leading to the cave system. After a series of short "probe" dives over the years, conditions were finally right in the summer of 2007 to begin allowing multiple dive teams into the system and begin a serious exploration and mapping project. Using rebreathers and scooters, several thousand feet of cave passage have been explored so far. One of the pits explored was just over 400 ft deep, which makes this the deepest phreatic cave system in the US.
Aerial shot of Weeki Wachee
2007 Newsclip with awesome video (14 meg)