Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Catfish Hotel
At Manatee Springs State Park, there is a sinkhole adjacent to the main spring boil. This quiet, duckweed covered "pond" is called "The Catfish Hotel".
I assume that is because there is, or perhaps was, large amounts of catfish hanging out in the crystal clear water hidden by the duckweed.
If you take your hand and stir the surface, the duckweed will part momentarily so that you can peer into the clear depths of the hotel. Remove your hand and the tiny plants seal off the wound in the surface so that little light penetrates.
I have never dipped my head beneath the lime green frosting of the Catfish Hotel, but I have snorkeled every inch of the main spring boil a few yards away. If you are a certified cave diver, you can enter the Catfish Hotel and swim through a cave to the main spring.
Cave diving never appealed to me, I've been inside a few, but never out of sight of the entrance.
That's technically cavern diving, not CAVE diving, and requires no special equipment or training.
I just never saw the appeal of cave diving and did not pursue it.
The walk down to the hotel.
Jump in, the water's fine!