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ArtzySmartzy H2O

With a day lost to Mother Nature and with storm clouds looming in the distance, we set out in the boat from Kings Bay and headed for Three Sisters Springs. A low tide meant we could reach the mouth of the spring run. We masked and snorkeled up, grabbed our floatation devices and began swimming upstream for the hundred yards that make the run. We startled an otter, who scrambled up the slippery bank. We had the Three Sisters mostly to ourselves and were able to see the limestone glistening from the flow at the spring heads. Paddling in the clear water, it is easy to see the miracle of Florida's springs. More difficult to understand are the multiple threats they face. Many have had their flow rates reduced drastically and the current trend is favoring development over preservation. Nitrate pollution, carried in runoff from over-fertilization, has left many springs and rivers choked with algae and invasive plants. After our snorkel we did a bit of specimen collection on a catch and release basis. We even have a story of the big one that got away. We were investigated by a manatee, but only got a good look at his tail as he departed.

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