Well, first of all, I was surprised that this little sink hole was in someone's yard. Granted, it was a 5 or 10 acre lot. Like another rater stated, you do fill out the paperwork in the owner's driveway. The mandatory video is on a stand in his garage, behind the 4 wheeler! Don't get me wrong -- I had a great time and even appreciate the fact that it's not some overrun, overdeveloped spring. It really is a beautiful throwback to pre-Disney Florida.
The sink itself is unassuming, hidden in a grove of trees and thick underbrush, in the middle of a horse pasture. I was surprised how far down the sink was. I realize sinkholes are depressions in the ground, it just seemed weird to see a deep depression hidden in the trees. The property is otherwise pancake flat.
The dive was enjoyable. It reminds me of Blue Springs (depth and angle), but I enjoyed this one more. There are a lot of interesting fossils, shells and petrified things to look at -- however, you have to look for them! If you jump in and head straight for the bottom and then head straight back up, you'll miss seeing the cool stuff between there and back!
I believe someone mentioned that the cave bottoms out around 140 feet deep and the cavern (visible light) ends at about 96 feet or so. If you haven't been in a cavern this deep, the surface above is visible at 96 feet, but very faint and very hazy. I'm sure we were kicking some stuff up, but don't think you would want to go even 20 feet down without a light.
If you have a couple of bright lights, or have a buddy with one of those super bright cave lights, you can see the tombstone (marker) of someone who died. The marker is located just past the 96' mark (Grim Reaper sign). You have to look straight down into the cave, slightly to the right. I would guess that it's another 15 or 20 feet deeper. It had inscriptions on it, but I didn't dare go closer. I'm told it had the birth and death date of the diver who died. Certainly a reminder to not ignore the Grim Reaper sign and do anything foolish.
Up top, there are a few picnic tables and a decent gazebo. No barbecue grills though. There is a little bathroom nearby. Clean enough for me, but not the most fancy. There is an outdoor shower (with no pressure) and a waist high spigot. The spigot had good pressure and served as a great place to wash the dirt off of the wet suits.
This is not a place for the non-diver. Take the family to Ginnie Springs. There is no beach or swimming area here.. It's just a 20 foot wide (if that) hole in the ground.
Did I like it? Heck yes! Would I go back? Most definitely.
I think from a pure dive perspective, it's a much more enjoyable cavern dive than say Ginnie Springs. Paradise Springs will set you back about $30, but definitely worth checking out!
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