Photo by Ty Sawyer
Way Down Upon the Rainbow River
It's always surprising to me just how many cool dives there are right in my own backyard of Central Florida. There are springs with manatee encounters, great cavern systems, and wreck, wall and drift diving along the coast. I recently had the chance to experience the Rainbow River with American Pro Dive in Crystal River, Florida. Like most spring dives in Florida, the Rainbow River flows clear and cool (72 degrees) year-round. And on most of these dives you get to experience about a mile of the river system, which is full of incredibly fascinating encounters. The gentle flow carries you past aggregations of sturgeon, you'll see perch and other freshwater fish, and you'll get carried through, over and around thickets of grass. At the end of the dive, you can enter a small cavern where piles of fish gather. It's so relaxing you'll want to turn around and do it again when you get to the exit point. One of the best parts is there's no need to rinse your gear when you're done.
Bring a picnic lunch for between dives, and keep on the look out for the abundant wild life.