United States » Gator Hole Spring

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Overview Location & Specifics Conditions Resources Nearby Systems  
Portions of the following information were taken from Florida Geological Survey Bulletin 66.

Gator Spring is located approximately 2 miles northwest of the town of High Springs. From the intersection of US 27 and SR 45 in High Springs, travel 2.3 miles northwest on US 27 to the Santa Fe River. Go 0.1 miles past the river and turn north (right) into the River Rise Preserve State Park boat ramp parking area. The spring is across the Santa Fe River from the boat ramp.

Description - Gator Spring is in the riverbed and flows into the Santa Fe River. The depth to the spring vent is 15.0 ft and the water clarity in the vicinity is excellent. Flow out of the vent produces a prominent boil that is approximately 2.0 ft in diameter. The riverbank rises 6.0 ft high from the surface of the spring and consists of limestone covered by a thin soil horizon. Forests along the riverbank are dominated by cypress, oak, and palmetto. A rope swing and a large oak branch hang over the river directly beside the spring vent. The land surrounding the spring is owned by the Suwannee River Water Management District.
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Latitude: 29.84448
Longitude: -82.63116
Coordinate System:
Maximum Depth: 115'
 Cave Diving
 Cavern Diving
 Open Water Diving
Date Submitter Visbility Remarks
6/7/2019 Ryan Wareham ~20ft Scootered up the river to the vent in the bottom of the Santa Fe River and into the cave. Flow is high enough that my Suex VR couldn't make it in without me kicking. Large line is tied off on the right wall of the cave (headed in). It is big cave passage with a canyon in the floor. There is line along the floor ( I didn't go down there though). Followed the main line back to a t with Andreas arrow. Took t right. The line drops down to ~80ft and is tied off on the left wall in going passage with significant flow. Multiple lines hang loosely on rock outcropppings past where the line I was following ended. I went back to t left and followed it untill I emerged in a sink
1/17/2012 Chris Clark 2-5 foot Visibility was 2-5 foot and tanic. Water temp was 62 and remained constant back to 500'. Thanks to me tearing a neck seal yesterday I was in my backup exposure suit, which is a 3 mm wetsuit which is plenty warm for 70 degree water but inadequate for 62. I turned the dive at 500' due to being cold.
11/22/2010 ARY 20' NOV-20-10 (Saturday night). Santa Fe was clear. I double tied off my dive flag to the large rock on a bottom with scattered Budweiser remains and lost snorkeling gear pieces. A flow was very strong at the entrance. At 1530 I scooter-ed 120' at 20-30' depth to the first sink- the viz was less than 5' so I crashed a couple o'times into a wall. The line was brown but strong (it is a goldline type). Down thru the duck under restriction the viz improved to 20', I have had nearly 50 min penetration time. A brown #24 line is in a good shape - I only had to dig it out 3 times. There is a new (white) line placed by someone recently - jump to the right about 1600' in. I did not follow it, neither the earlier (old line) jump to the left into syphon. Shortly after the duck under restriction it goes into canyon fracture and then bedding plane continues at 100-115' deep before gradually lifting to 90'. Flow remained very strong and water had chunky particulates but it stayed clear w/approx 20' viz. Water temperature remained at 71 F during the whole dive. I was diving 26% for 70 minutes and at the time of my return from about 3000' did not have any deco. Average depth before deco was 66' (22m). I scootered back to the entrance and laid line along the bottom of the entrance cavern to the breakdown, i've spooled off approx 70' of line, and it took about 50 minutes. Given that the viz at the entrance is 5' (at its best) but shortly after someone goes in it becomes zero I thought that placing the line along the bottom would be a good idea to help to navigate someone who lost mainline or could not find the beginning of it. Surfaced at 1745, it was getting dark. It turned out was a safe thing to carry a dive flag because there were two sea-doos going up and down the river.
3/13/2009 Gene Page 5 - John Spann and I decided that Friday the 13th would be a good day to dive Gator Hole with the current vis being around 5 feet give or take a foot. We swam over and tied in our dive flag into the submerged tree and headed into the dark. After a few minutes we found the main line -- which I thought was the one Sean Denney put in last year. After tying into the main line I led in slowly and we made our way to Skylight Sink. We surfaced for a few minutes and decided to briefly check the upstream line before heading back out to the river. As usual, this was an interesting low vis dive and we only saw a few fish. The only flow we felt was right at the entrance. Water temp was 69 degrees.
10/12/2008 Tom Hundley Less than 2 ft Did not go in but passed over it and the flow coming out was incredible. It pushed the kayak upstream when we went over it. I would say it would be close to impossible to dive right now. Tom
8/18/2008 Agnes Milowka very low After the rains on Sat the vis was very low. The river was very dirty getting in... on the way out when I looked up the light was just getting through and it was a deep red color... very dirty. I put in another 300-400 ft of line. Poked around in the dark and through some dead ends until finally the tunnel opened up again. Vis was really too low to check it all out properly, will head back in a few days. Scootering here is not for the faint hearted and you want to know the cave pretty well first... but it can be done.
8/8/2008 Agnes Milowka 3 Over the past few weeks the vis has been getting better, however on 08/08 the vis was down again and the flow was up. We have relaid well in excess of 2000 ft of line, put some new arrows in etc. All the old line is out. We have not managed to reconnect to the old line on the last dive. The old line was broken and 700 ft of line later there is still no sign of it. We have turned into a tunnel that seems to go, so shall continue on that track. It is possible the old line goes off in another direction, so we will check that out to see if that is indeed the case.
7/18/2008 Agnes Milowka 3 Vis is still reasonably crappy. Have done 2 dives in it over the past week or so. Line was broken in several places and was generally fragile, (broke in my hand at one stage) so we decided to reline the cave. Putting down 36, one 550ft reel laid so far, more to come next week.
1/8/2008 Mike McAuliffe 2-4ft First time here for me and my dive Buddy James Kitchell. Flow in the river is so low, we had a difficult time telling which way it flows so no difficulty swimming to the cave entrance from the boat ramp. No boil from the cave at the surface. We swam to Skylight Sink, surfaced to take a look around. With the low vis and cold water we called it and swam back. The flow in the cave is very low, we didn't really even notice any until the return swim from Skylight Sink. 49 min total dive time; 7 min's to find mainline; 22 min swim to Skylight [swimming very very slow]; 20 minute return. 2-ft vis in cave; water temps 64* Good job with the mainline Sean! Easy to follow and well layed.
8/4/2007 Sean Denney 10 ft. On a previous dive, my buddy and I relined the main tunnel from the entrance to the skylight/sinkhole in the woods (we also pulled out the old line from the same area). This dive I stretched the line to take out any slack in the new line. On a second part of the dive, jumped to the deep tunnel and explored it. Past a certain point, the tunnel becomes quite narrow, low and rock projections force you to snake through making it difficult to maneuver. From this point, the tunnel is best left to sidemount.
6/7/2007 CWalters 6 - 8' First dive for myself and buddy in this system. Viz. was poor and we just followed the line from entrance to the sink, which took only 26 min. round trip and we were going very slowly. We were surprised how big the passage is and would be great to dive it again with better viz.. Flow was noticiable, but not enough to create a boil at the river surface. Our max. depth was 31'.
5/27/2007 Sean Denney 10-15 feet We swam to the sink/skylight and back. On a previous dive, I noticed quite a lot of trash in the mouth of the cave, so on this dive we cleaned it up quite a bit.
1/23/2007 Gene Page 20 feet I dove Gator Hole with another diver this past week and it was an interesting dive. The viz was mostly poor with a lot of silt. Also, at one point, the line breaks off into two strands. If you continue on all the way through you end up in a small sinkhole in the woods, (about 400 some feet). If you like a different dive this may be what you are looking for.
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Description Type Date Author Remarks
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System Depth Cave Cavern OW Last Report Distance (mi)
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   Old Bellamy - Alligator Sink 160 True False False 4.8
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   Old Bellamy - Big Blue Sink 160 True False False 4.9
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 Overview Information Available for Sante Fe River Rise  Sante Fe River Rise 150 True True False 3.1