Virtual Cave Dive
Take a virtual journey into Wakulla Spring's cave system and view areas seen by only a few brave explorers.
Wakulla Spring's cave system is one of the largest in the world. Divers first entered the cave system in the 1950s on a quest to recover fossilized remains of mastodons and other animals.
Since then, researchers and scientists have explored and mapped more than 12 miles of the cave system. While recreational diving is not permitted at Wakulla Spring, you can experience the cave by viewing the images and cave maps below. The numbers on the maps correspond with the photographs taken during research dive projects.
1) Diver with mastodon bones in basin
While the glass-bottom boat hovers above, you drop down to 25 feet to take a closer look at the fossilized remains of mastodons that used to frequent Wakulla Spring.
Quick Fact: The first major recovery of mastodon remains was organized in 1931. The reconstructed skeleton of the Wakulla Spring mastodon is on display at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee.
2) Final decompression stop
Note the location of this decompression stop. This will be your final and longest decompression stop to ensure that you have a safe dive.
Quick Fact: A general rule of thumb for a 60-minute Wakulla Spring cave dive is that it will require about five minutes of decompression time for every one minute of bottom time. This translates to about five hours of staged decompression stops during the return to the surface.
3) Testing scooters in basin
As you descend to about 100 feet, test your scooter and double check your gear before heading toward the cave entrance.
Quick Fact: Wakulla Spring's water clarity varies greatly throughout the year. The spring basin is clearest in the winter during the dry season when there is less storm and tannic water entering the aquifer.
4) Ascending toward the cave entrance
In the cavern zone, light from the surface is fading as you reach 140 feet. Turn your dive light on for clear navigation to the cave entrance.
Quick Fact: No recreational diving is permitted at Wakulla Spring. Diving is conducted today only by highly skilled cave divers in support of research projects at Wakulla Spring.
5) Entering cave entrance
Squeeze through the restriction at about 160 feet into the main cave also known as tunnel "A." Once past the restriction you can no longer see any light from the surface.
6) Inspecting fossilized remains of mastodon
At about 190 feet deep, inspect the fossilized remains of mastodons as you make your way deeper into the cave. More than 12,000 years ago, Wakulla Spring was a gathering place for mastodons and other animals. Their fossilized remains are found deep within the cave system leaving some to speculate that the cave was partially dry at some point. Others believe that changes in climate resulted in changes in water flow at Wakulla Spring, which may have looked more like a large sinkhole at one time.
A. Glass-bottom boat tour
Each year thousands of visitors come to Wakulla Spring for an opportunity to take the glass-bottom boat tour and get a glimpse of fossilized mastodon remains on the bottom as well as wildlife downriver.
B. Swimmers on dive platform
Swimmers young and old take the plunge off of Wakulla Spring's high dive platform often while visitors in the glass-bottom boats look on.
7) Entering the cave's Grand Canyon
At about 225 feet deep, enter a dramatic open area in the cave named the Grand Canyon. This section of the cave is located about 400 feet from the cave entrance.
Quick Fact: At a 100 feet in width and 175 feet in height the Grand Canyon room is large enough to comfortably fit a high school gymnasium.
8) Ascending into the "Attic"
You ascend into a cone-shaped section of the cave known as the "Attic". This section of the cave reaches upward to just 60 feet below the Wakulla Springs Lodge. Listen carefully and you may hear diners in the lodge's restaurant!
Quick Fact: An average of 250 million gallons of water flows from Wakulla Spring's cave each day. Only Silver Springs in Ocala and the Spring Creek system in Wakulla County rival Wakulla Spring in terms of volume of water.
9) Inspecting instrument in tunnel "B"
As you continue deeper into the cave you explore the junction with "B" tunnel at a depth of about 270 feet at about 1,100 feet from the cave entrance. Tunnel B extends in a north to northeasterly direction from Wakulla Spring's main tunnel.
Quick Fact: The greatest depth recorded in the cave system is 320 feet in B tunnel.
10) Reaching end of dive
You have reached the limit of your dive. Begin your ascent and make your planned decompression stops beginning at 240 feet. Your ascent will require stops every 10 feet until you reach the surface and you will need to switch breathing gas mixes at 190 feet, 120 feet, 70 feet and 30 feet. Fortunately your support team has placed these tanks for you and will get you to the surface safely.
Quick Fact: There are more than 12 miles of tunnels that have been mapped so far in the Wakulla Spring cave system.
C. Wakulla Springs Lodge
The historic Wakulla Springs Lodge resides above the main tunnel of the spring. After the state of Florida purchased Wakulla Spring, the State Park's managers worked to protect the aquifer by strictly limiting development on the property and by upgrading on-site septic systems to minimize any environmental impact.