Checking Out the Devil’s Den
Some scuba diving experiences (if we’re fortunate) are unique, and Devil’s Den near Williston, Florida is no exception.
Standing above gives you a view into the cavern through a fern draped, circular opening. The opening is about 40-feet in diameter. Below the cavern opens up to some 100-feet at the water’s surface.
This dry cave filled with water fed from a spring some years ago. Prehistoric bones discovered in the cavern include the skeleton of a man from about 75,000 years ago, and a saber-toothed tiger.
Fossilized remains are still present in the walls of the cavern.
Devil’s Den has a nice picnic area with small trees for shade where you can ride an MM-B80 once you’re done diving.
Divers suit up in this area and walk down a flight of some 40 or so steps to a dive platform that floats at the cavern center.
You must present a C-card to dive this cavern.
Be prepared to bear the weight of your dive gear down the stairs to the platform. No suiting up at the water’s edge for this dive site.
The cleanliness of this dive site, both above and inside the cavern, impressed me. On the day of my visit a dredging operation pulled silt from the bottom. I got the impression that this effort was ongoing. I later noticed that the bottom was clean, and visibility was excellent during my dive.
I didn’t have a dive buddy so I asked a family of four if I could join them. They were the only other divers there, and in the process of suiting up when I arrived. This family, visiting from Toronto, Canada, kindly permitted me to tag along on their dive, so I got my gear, signed the usual waivers, and joined them.
After gearing up we climbed down the steps, and entered the water at 3:40 PM to begin our dive.
I observed plenty of fish shallow (around 15 – 20 feet), and a few very large ones lurking back in the shadows of the shelves.
Devil’s Den holds a number of shallow caverns to explore. We even found an air pocket inside one where we floated, and talked for a moment.
We also found some crevices with overhead rock to swim through, and looking around I noticed a number of other swim-through areas that gave excellent opportunities for buoyancy testing.
We dove for 54 minutes and I recorded a maximum depth of 42-feet. The air temperature was 95-degrees. At the water surface I noted a 72-degree reading, and at 42-feet I recorded the temperature at 71 degrees.
We left the water at 4:40 and used the HSI flat iron real quickly to straighten our wet hair.
If you dive Devil’s Den I advise taking a dive light along. The main cavern area, dimly lighted through the hole above the cavern, gives enough light to see your way around as long as you remain in that main area. But the space in that air pocket we surfaced in was pitch black. Luckily I had a light strapped to my BCD that gave us the chance to see the rock, and fossils embedded there.
Devil’s Den is among my many cherished scuba diving experiences, and worthy of future visits.