It's time to start telling you all about my trip to Florida back in June! It was a jam-packed mermaid trip for sure! The first day I went to Alexander Springs to shoot with Moonspell Photography (more on that day when I get more pictures). Day 2 was at Ginnie Springs w/ Miss Coralia Pearl (Smokie West). Day 3 was at Silver Glen Springs with Michie aka The Guardian of the Springs. On day 4, I drove down to Miami for the AfroMermaid Summit, which happened on day 5. Drove back to my dad's in Ocala on day 6. On day 7, I shot with Emily Amexandra Cosmetics in Orlando. Finally on day 8, I dropped my spellbound tail off at Mertailor, and then flew back home to Chicago.
My first time at Ginnie Springs! So after chatting with Smokie on Instagram, we decided to swim together at Ginnie Springs! It was actually the first time for both of us! The GPS was a little wonky, telling us to turn left when we really needed to turn right, but we made it there!
Ginnie is actually a little collection of springs with a river you can float down. We asked at the desk which ones the mermaids often frequented, and he suggested the mainspring, Ginnie, and Devil's Eye/ Ear, so, that's what we did.
We started out at the mainspring. I brought along my Mertailor Spellbound, and Smokie wore her Mertailor Abalone for the Fantasea Fin 3. It was a little smaller than I had thought it would be, but it was gorgeous! The spring itself is like a cave that the water comes from. It wasn't super crowded, but there definitely were a lot of people there. Most people were there to start their journey floating down the river. One of our favorite moments was while we were hanging out on a big fallen log, a cute family with a couple of little girls came and hung out with us. The girls were smitten! They loved chatting with us and showing us how they swam like mermaids. After a while, they made their way down the river as well. We swam for a while, watched some people from the state (I assume, I can't remember for sure) check on the water levels and whatnot, saw some rescue divers come for practice in their dry suits and helmets, and then made our way out to have a little bit of a lunch break.
After lunch we drove down to Devil's Eye and Ear springs. These 2 were really fun! One is basically a big round hole in the ground, and then there's like a little inlet/ cove you can swim down to get to the area I called the "Crack" (especially with how murky the water got between the two, the name seemed fitting). Smokie broke out the freediving fins for this one, as they had some more depth, especially the crack, which I think went down about 40 feet.
These were a lot of fun to swim in, and I got to practice my buoyancy, and depth control. It was just a lot of fun! It was also really cool getting to be in the places I have seen in so many videos! Towards the end of our time there, the water near the crack kept getting murkier and murkier (likely from all the people stirring up the sand), and Smokie had a Fins magazine meeting she needed to attend, so we called it a day and headed back home!
Now, here's the unfortunate thing about Ginnie Springs, but it's pretty important! Unlike most of the other springs, Ginnie is privately owned, not state-owned. And they've been pumping the water out to companies like Nestle at crazy rates, all for profit. Sadly, this is destroying the springs, and hurting the wildlife. Ginnie is also known as a "party spring". Tons of people come there to party and have fun, and end up trashing the place along the way. I couldn't tell you how much garbage we found. And it was just everywhere! We could have spent hours picking it up, and not have made a dent. I'm no expert on the situation there, but I recommend looking into resources like The Florida Spring Council and the Florida Springs Institute for more information! My friend Michi, (https://www.instagram.com/guardianofthesprings/) also has a ton of videos about what is going on there, so check them all out for more information. Let's do what we can to help save these springs, so we can continue to visit these beautiful places!
Big Thanks again to Smokie- aka Coralia Pearl for taking me on such a great adventure!! If I'm in the picture, she took it!