United States » Diepolder III

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Rated 3.3/5 stars (869 ratings)

Overview Location & Specifics Conditions Resources Nearby Systems  
Diepolder II and Diepolder III are located on the Sand Hill Ranch Scout Reservation, Hernando Co. Florida. The property was donated to the Boy Scouts after the Diepolder family passed away in the mid to late 70's. The Florida Speleological Researcher's (FSR) was developed after the boy scouts took control, and this program is the oldest working guide program in existence today. Guidelines were developed by FSR to insure that all diving operations are carried out with the utmost regard for the safety of the members, respect for the caves and property, and sincere courtesy to the landowner.

The submerged caves of the Diepolder systems are among the most unique discovered within the Western Hemisphere. Diepolder II is the deepest cave in the continental US.

The Directors of FSR have been chosen from the most active, experienced deep cave divers within the state of Florida. It is the intent of the BOD of FSR to provide and maintain access for all qualified members through this program.

Some of the Regulations for Diving:
  • All divers must be full cave trained through either the National Association for Cave Diving (NACD) or the National Speleological Society-Cave Diving Section (NSS-CDS). There are no exceptions.
  • All divers must show proof of 100 cave dives, through logbook entry, or the Abe Davis or Wakulla Award.
  • Trimix gas dives shall require the appropriate trimix certification.
  • All divers must be members in good standing of FSR, Inc. There will be no exceptions.
  • Ratio for diving Sink #3: Any single guide may accompany no more than three guests within Sink #3 at any time. To secure this ratio, at least one guest must have a minimum of five visits into Sink #3 prior.
  • To dive Sink #2 - You must have a minimum of 3 dives in Sink #3 before proceeding to Sink #2.
  • Ratio for diving #2: Any single guide may accompany no more than two guests within sink #2 at any time. To secure this ratio, at least one guest must have a minimum of at least five dives within Sink #2 prior.
History: Will Walters discovered the Diepolder system by air. D III is a max depth of apprx. 300' D II is a max depth of apprx. 365'. In 1979 Dale Sweet of Winter Haven did a dive to a max depth of 360' in the II sink. This was the first time a diver had explored a Florida cave while breathing mixed gas. Dale had placed a small American flag with a secret message on the back for all those who would follow. Sheck Exley made the same dive using compressed air a year later. Then in 1987 Bill Gavin and Lamar English did the same dive using mixed gas (which was just now starting to come into mainstream). Through the 80's little was known about the cave system beyond the pit and there were no maps. March 23rd of 1991, a group of divers organized a Project to gather more information about the system beyond the Flagroom. Some of the early guides included names such as Sheck Exley, Dale Sweet, Bill Main, Steve Stratsma, Bill Gavin, Vaugn Maxwell, just to name a few.

Click here for a current list of Diepolder guides (4.5.2007)
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Latitude: 28.522171
Longitude: -82.528964
Coordinate System:
Maximum Depth: 300'
 Cave Diving
 Cavern Diving
 Open Water Diving
Date Submitter Visbility Remarks
5/27/2017 Don Six 40-50' Not quite as clear as it was a month ago but with a team of four, we lit it up pretty good. extremely warm basin for deco at about 77F.
12/30/2016 Vince Ferris Varied Could see the surface from 200ft looking up from start of circuit at the Tee. Back of the room 70F and ~50ft viz. Basin 74F and crystal clear.
11/30/2014 Peter > 100' Basin was high with clear blue water. Visibility in cave was pretty much unlimited
9/7/2014 Dave Jones Excellent Back for more fun with Rick Crawford, this time I brought a 32 watt instead a 12 watt canister light which made a huge difference. The basin was pretty murky but the visibility improved once we dropped into the chimney. Conditions were excellent with floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall visibility. Nice relaxing 30 min dive and the hour of deco passed quickly as we ascended the chimney.
7/11/2014 Dave Jones > 100' Guided dive with Rick Crawford, so we were in the water by 9:30 am. Visibility in the basin was about 10'. As usual, Rick placed a beacon on the gold line just after the "T" then swam ahead of me. My other buddy on a RB dropped down and lit up the floor. With such good lighting and excellent conditions I could see wall-to-wall and top-to-bottom. This really is a special place! My first time here, so I stayed near the ceiling and only briefly hit 221'. Bottom time was 30 min and the hour of deco passed quickly. On my 10' stop the basin was 78-80 deg F.
2/26/2011 Shirley Kasser Fantastic The basin was clear and the cave seemed infinite. Excellent dive, thanks Rick!
12/22/2010 Phil 70' Viz was good but not amazing. Heading in II tomorrow. A lot of grean weeds are forming in the pond making the entry a little bit more complicated. Hope they stop groing... Guided by Dan Patterson. Thanks Dan!
1/24/2010 Pete Gelbman 80-100 A bit milky, but awesome dive w/Rick Crawford. Thanks Rick!
12/22/2009 Phil 80 Verry nice dive for our second one in III. Thanks to our guide Dan Patterson.
10/25/2009 Jeff Addis 80 to 100 ft Another wonderful dive here at #3. Rick, I and Shirley did the basic clockwise circumnavigation. Vis was as above and also excellent in the basin at deco
7/11/2009 Hounded 90-100' First visit to III. The basin was HORRIBLE (maybe 5' vis)- can anyone say "amoeba?" I had my doubts until we dropped past 70 feet. Vis in the cave was easily 90-100 feet. The bottom was easily visible from the top, and we could almost see wall-to-wall. The water was a tad milky, but nothing like has been described to me by others. It wasn't cracklin' blue, but darn close. Still, if you choose to dive there during hot weather, take care not to get the bacteria-laden water in your nose, mouth, or eyes, and douche out your ears immediately upon exiting.
12/23/2008 Phil 100 For the viz, sorry, I only have a 21 W HID light, so difficult to say! Serriously, there was a little bit of particulate in suspension, but it was my first dive there, hard to compare with the normal. Bassin was verry clear.
12/23/2008 Phil 100 For the viz, sorry, I only have a 21 W HID light, so difficult to say! Serriously, there was a little bit of particulate in suspension, but it was my first dive there, hard to compare with the normal. Bassin was verry clear.
4/27/2008 Vince Ferris 50-100 feet Basin Viz:5 feet with heavy algae growth like drapery. Front of room maybe 50 feet. Back of room in the 100ft range.
11/14/2007 Jim Wyatt 100 basin very clear, vis inside was not as spectacular as it often times is but was 100
7/26/2007 Scott Byars 80 Basin had decent viz. At about 90 feet viz got good. Clear front to back. Nice!!
2/16/2006 Sean Denney Decent... The basin and the top half of the shaft were quite clear. Approaching the 110' ledge, the visibility dropped to about 40'. We [Rob Anderson and Tom Pearcy] took the right T. As we approached the point where the line dipped past 240', the visibility improved drastically. Rounding the back of the cave, it was a good 120' of vis.
12/29/2005 Sean Denney Decent... The visibility in the pond and shaft was crystal clear. As we [Jim Wyatt, Tom Pearcy and Rob Anderson] proceeded into the cave, the visibility dropped to 60 to 80 ft. We swam right at the T, and as we approached the right wall, towards the back half of the cave, the vis improved to 120 to 160ft. We kept to our dive plan with a maximum depth of 250 ffw and a bottom time of 20 minutes.
9/29/2005 Jim Wyatt 100 Basin very green....5 feet vis. We had a strobe at the junction on the line & could see if strobing from about 300-350 feet away. Another awesome dive.
7/26/2005 Jim Wyatt 100' Dived here on 11, 12 & 26 July with Bill Main. Vis was excellent each time. The basin was brown & muddy as usual. Vis in the system was 100 feet or better. Also made a dive there on
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Description Type Date Author Remarks
 Guide List PDF
Sslect Search Radius:
System Depth Cave Cavern OW Last Report Distance (mi)
 Overview Information Available for Buford Spring  Buford Spring 167 True True False 9/22/2023 8.6
 Overview Information Available for Eagles Nest  Eagle's Nest 315 True False False 7/22/2023 5.4
   Lost 40 165 True False False 7/15/2023 1.2
 Overview Information Available for Hospital Hole  Hospital Hole 143 False True True 4/30/2023 5.8
   Warm Springs 140 False True False 11/1/2022 8.9
 Overview Information Available for Wards Sink  Ward's Sink 198 True True True 9/30/2022 9.1
   Arch Sink 197 True True False 7/18/2021 7.3
   Bulldozer Sink 60 False True True 3/22/2020 5.8
   Little Gator Siphon 180 True False False 1/3/2015 8.6
 Overview Information Available for Twin Dees  Twin Dees 335 True False False 8/3/2013 3.2
   Isabella Spring 110 True False False 5/22/2013 12.3
 Overview Information Available for Weeki Wachee Spring  Weeki Wachee Spring 407 True False True 4/28/2012 2.7
 Overview Information Available for Diepolder II  Diepolder II 360 True False False 12/23/2010 0.3
   Gator Spring 192 True False False 12/6/2009 5.3
 Overview Information Available for Blind Spring  Blind Spring 180 True True False 11/29/2009 11.3
   Free Ride Cave 120 True False False 10/10/2009 12.8
   Double Keyhole 230 True False False 1/11/2009 11.6
 Overview Information Available for Horseshoe Spring  Horseshoe Spring True True False 1/10/2009 12.9
 Overview Information Available for Little Salt Spring  Little Salt Spring 240 True False False 9/23/2008 5.7
 Overview Information Available for Bobhill Springs  Bobhill Springs False False False 12/29/2007 9.1
   The Jewel 315 True True False 6/2/2006 11.7
 Overview Information Available for Mud Spring  Mud Spring 210 True True False 11/20/2005 6.1
 Overview Information Available for Hospital Spring  Hospital Spring 40 False True False 5.9
   Wolf Sink False False False 2.1
   Snake Eyes False False False 5.3
   Star Sun Spring 120 True False False 12.8
 Overview Information Available for Joes Sink  Joe's Sink 60 True False True 1.1
 Overview Information Available for Jenkins Creek  Jenkins Creek 50 True False False 6.4
   Coffee Sink False False False 9.5
   Willow Sink True False False 2.7
   Garden World Sink 250 True False False 10.9
   Nursery Sink 214 True False False 1.2
 Overview Information Available for Marys Sink  Mary's Sink 58 True False True 1.1
   Snook Spring 120 True False False 12.7