Articles Blog

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

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!

100 thoughts on “Blue Grotto in Florida! | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD”

  1. Caverns are not necessarily safe for open water divers. As an overhead environment there is additional training needed to dive safely in this environment.

  2. I really love watching your videos. Your narration is excellent as well as the photography and background music. Your team really does a wonderful job. Thank you !!

  3. I am doing online scuba diving training Right now and in a few weeks I am going to get my certification at Catalina and then go to Belize in June and scuba dive there. I can't wait and part of the cause of this is because of you and I want to be a marine biologist

  4. 5:37 look at that cool ludwigia (plant)! This looks like an awesome training spot! Jonathan you need to go cave diving at vortex springs! Multiple restrictions, tons of caverns, and the deepest point is over 300’!

  5. Hello Johnathan! I am in 8th grade and just signed up for a Discover Scuba diving course through my school! When I finish it I am going to try to get certified through PADI and I want to be able to go scuba diving in the ocean someday! Your channel has been a huge inspiration for me! Thanks for all the good videos!

  6. Virgil the turtle was cute, & the fish were cool too… Action figures in the cave dive lol!!! Why wasn't that one in his action figure scuba gear???

  7. Absolutely fantastic stuff Jon.Each and every video from you is like a visual dictionary of the underwater world.Learnt a lot from ur videos!! Lots of love from India.Waiting for your dives in India!!! .see you!!

  8. When i was doing my training on one of the platforms virgil was swimming all around me and the other divers

  9. Hey when you pass through cave country again you should stop in at Lake City Dive Center and meet with Mark and Susan who are fantastic people. Mark can also show you some other great places to go dive around the area. As always love your videos can’t wait for the next one.

  10. Wow… we were there just last weekend (4/14/19) and the water level is up way higher. Just an idea at the 1m:23s mark in the video it shows someone standing on the deck. That deck was a foot underwater last weekend!

  11. I guess he's officially king of the hill. Btw soft shell turtles make the best turtle stew, found one in my pool once cooling off but I let him go bc I felt sorry for him. We weren't that close to the river and I figured he'd been thru enough. Wherever he was going he was determined to get there, gotta respect that! Where is this place? I didn't see it in the description box.

  12. Absolutely beautiful as always thanks Jonathan. I've never dove before but watching your videos makes me feel like I have 🙂

  13. That was just awesome ! I learn so much watching your videos your very detailed and you teach future divers alot of what to do's and what not to do's and that's a great thing good job and KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!

  14. Is there any cave in the world you haven’t been Mr. Bird. So now I know the difference between a cavern & cave . Learn something every time I watch one of your videos

  15. Love your videos that give beneficial positivity that spreads throughout this world! I went to go freediving at Wekiwa Springs, and for the first time, entered a cavern zone entrance. The cave is plenty big enough for a diver to fit through, and I'd like to see you go there for yet another FL cave dive!!!

  16. Love it all! You don't focus on danger like other channels do, but on the beauty of diving (with warnings 🙂 ). High quality, very relaxing and entertaining. Mayby we have to consider Florida for a new dive vacation?
    We don't have a lot of clear water in Belgium but it's that time of the year the cuttlefish are coming to mate. Woohoo.
    We do miss the intro: "Hi, I'm Jonathan Bird and welcome to my world" 😉

  17. Dove there many times. Wouldn't say 72 degrees is warm though! Very clear until a few many divers silt the entire cavern … Also, Devils Den is basically across the street.

  18. I’ve been watching for years! I’m 13 now and have been enjoying your content for about 3-4 years, keep it up guys

  19. if you ever take a trip to Italy you should see if you could get to dive in Capri even on a boat it is really cool.

  20. To all certified dry suit divers I got a question do you need an air tank for a dry suit or can u inflate it without it

    I'm not a certified dry suit diver yet btw

  21. That figure is A.T.A.X. from the Alien toy line.

    https://toywiz.com/aliens-space-marine-atax-action-figure/

  22. just got my first blue world T-shirt today !! it's amazing! Love this channel and Jonathan haha. Thank you for all the amazing vids !!

  23. Would the pressure in that airbell be the same as the water? Could you pop up in there and not see a change to your depth gauge?

  24. hey man! I found this channel fairly recently as I've been looking at starting diving and I have to say, I absolutely love your videos. They're amazing, inspirational & entertaining videos and I'm literally watching every single one. I will remain a viewer until you hit that 1m subscriber mark (which you will) and I will keep watching for long after that too. As you said in this vlog; your productions are of a higher quality than any other videos on youtube! So yeah, thank you for inspiring me to finally take the jump and start learning about diving and getting into it. ps. I know people want more content however it's better to upload less videos that are of your quality than it is too post lots of okay-quality vids. Keep up the unbelievable videos man!

  25. That turtle is so nice, it scared the hell out of me getting my fingers next to it but it was gentle as could be

  26. Wow so beautiful and amazing!😍😱 huge thanks Sir Jonathan and to your cameraman. Keep safe always 😍💕

  27. I just had to go get my husband to watch the segment with Virgil; he'd never seen a soft-shell turtle before, and loved it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *