Hudson Grotto

Florida
USA East

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Submitted By:
Jason NYC

Submitter Comments:
The grotto is used for training, open water diving, and is available for private parties and special events. The Grotto walls are hour glass shaped loaded with solution tubes and other objects to look at. The bottom is dome shaped, and the edges average around 100 - 110 feet in Depth. with the deepest spot, about 155ft in a small opening against the north wall. There are four platforms, Three of them just under the end edge of the dock, and one in the middle of the sink. The three platforms are layered like steps, the first one is at 20ft.,the second at 45 ft. and the third at 60ft. Tied to the white barrel there is a line that runs down to a 100 foot platform which is used for Advance Open Water classes. The Platform sits next to two boats and lines run to an old VW van, and other interesting objects sitting on the bottom. There are several thermo clines, the mid-water temperature can get pretty cold between 40 and 80 feet , however the bottom temperature usually stays in the low 70's. The water is tannic all year, and visibility can really fluctuate with the algae bloom. Cost is usually around 10- $20 for divers depending on visibility.

Directions:
 Located one mile North from the intersection of SR 52 and US Hwy 19. Tower Drive is directly across the street from the Castriota Chevy Dealership. Hudson Grotto is on the left side of Tower Drive, just across the street from Scuba West dive shop.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

05/18/2010 Reef_Haven (Avg: 3.37 Review) - We had a blast at this site. It was a combination of Disney's Haunted Mansion and an underwater scavenger hunt. All along the nooks and crannies of the limestone formations are statues and figurines placed by other divers. Gnomes , Buddha's, gargoyles, frogs, rats, turtles, deer, alligator, pirate ship, angels, graveyard, skeletons, all kinds of things. I can imagine the Halloween Dives, and Easter Egg hunts are a blast as well. This site has several thermoclines, haloclines, a sulfur layer, and warmer saltwater intrusion at the bottom. At 110' are a sunken boat, VW beetle, bus and a couple trees. This site is not for beginning OW divers. Strong lights are mandatory. Anything below 30' is absolutely pitch black. If you've never done a night dive, you'll be completely out of your element here. Your first dive here, slowly enter and follow the edge of the grotto all the way around from 30' - 60' and see what all you find. Taking the express elevator straight down to 100' in pitch black darkness can be disturbing and disorienting.

04/06/2009 Ricky (Avg: 3.16 Review) - While many people will chastise this dive, I happen to find it one of the best sites to improve your skills. I am newly cavern certified and found this to be the best no overhead area to dive. The visibility immediately diminishes at 30 feet as well as the temperature. We hit a thermocline around thirty and got out of it (after going through a hydrogen sulfide layer) around 80' and then the temperature climbed back up to around 72. At 30' there is a line running around the entire circumference of the sink and it is well worth the trip around; especially all the articles that have been placed in the wall niches as well as several solution tubes. With a light the vis pretty good. There are four platforms to practice on with the deepest being 100'. There are some lines running off the 100' platform to various areas but I would not recommend diving these without at least cavern certification. I found it a little intimidating at first but quickly adapted to the area. There is supposedly a sunken boat and bus but it was too dark to tell. The bottom is covered with thick black silt so keep your buoyancy under control. The dive shop (SCUBA West) is right across the street from the sink and has everything you need for your dive. They serviced our tanks with 32% and the shop personnel were knowledgeable and helpful. So if you are looking for a typical Florida spring dive this is not for you. But if you are looking to improve your skills and trying something different then I would highly recommend this sink.

10/16/2007 Manda (Avg: 3.16 Review) - This was the last dive for my AOW. I explored several wrecks along the bottom. The sulfur layer was a little thicker than my visit two days ago. Bottom is very silty and can easily be stirred causing bad vis to be worse, so use caution. We managed not to stir things up. This location offers experiences for all divers. New divers should remain shallow, as surface light can be lost as soon as 50ft on some days. You should still bring a light to look into holes and solution tubes.

05/24/2005 Chuck at Plainfield (Avg: 3.01 Review) - Very friendly staff (Scuba West) and a pleasant dive site. I enjoyed the low-light situation from the tannic water. A dive light greatly adds to the pleasure of diving here. Aquatic life wasn't abundant, but it does exist and is also pleasant.

05/09/2005 Bill (Avg: 1.82 Review) - My friend and I set out to do all of the springs in Florida in the winter of 2004-2005. One Saturday he didn't get out of work until much later, so living in the Tampa Bay area, we went to the closest commercial spring/sink around - Hudson Grotto. To say the least, for the many dives I have logged, Hudson Grotto was pretty bad. Ambient light is lost at around 10 feet and from there on you plunge into total darkness with 0-1 ft. visibility. We got to the bottom at about 105 feet after passing through a horrible sulfide layer. Once at the bottom, after trying to look around (our expensive dive lights were useless), we decided there was nowhere to go but up. The water was cold and dark, and the heavy sulfide layer made us smell like sewer workers. On the plus side though, it was easy to get there, the road went right up to the grotto, it was not crowded, and the staff at Scuba West, which owns the Grotto, were really very friendly and helpful. All in all, though, if you are looking to dive a sink or spring in Florida, Hudson Grotto probably shouldn't be your first choice.

04/14/2005 Anonymous (Avg: 2.29 Review) - (no comment)

02/04/2005 Jason NYC (Avg: 2.47 Review) - My wife and I went to Tampa, Florida for a wedding and wanted to practice using our new DUI TLS350's. We figured the springs would be a good place to do this but we didn't want to drive 3 hours just to practice and the Gulf of Mexico was not cooperating. Thus, our hunt for a convenient dive began! Enter Ned DeLoach's DIVING GUIDE TO UNDERWATER FLORIDA. I love this book. Ned says, "This is a typical gulf coast sink that resembles a pond. It slopes gently to 15 feet where the sink walls plunge almost vertically to 110 feet. Below 80 feet there is a salt water level with a slight intrusion of hydrogen sulfide." I say, "This dive scared the hell out of me." Seriously though, not a good place to practice anything unless you are with an instructor or you are very comfortable diving in very low light conditions. I couldn't even see the first training platform (located at a depth of 20 ft.) from the surface! Eventually we did find it and could see the dock above us thanks to the noon sun shining down through the water. The visibility was about 20 feet but it was pitch black due to the tannic water. Our lights did nothing for us. The temp. was 68. We never went deeper than 22 feet. Hudson Grotto has so much potential though. The owners of Scuba West, located across the street from the gated grotto, were pleasant. They own and operate Hudson Grotto. The facility has picnic tables, a nice floating dock, underwater training platforms, covered classroom areas with blackboards and tables, parking, and nice signs explaining how the grotto came to be and how best to dive it. The total cost for this dive was just under $50 bucks including admission for two, 2 tanks and 2 sets of weights. We chose to do one dive only due to time constraints but I'm sure the friendly folks at Scuba West would have allowed us to spend the entire day there if we wanted.


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Diver Averages for  Hudson Grotto  (1=worst, 5=best)


Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.86
Bottom Conditions:  1.71
Reef Conditions:  2.00
Animal Life:  2.00
Plant Life:  1.86
Facilities:  4.00
Solitude 4.14
Roads:  4.71
*Site Average:  2.75
   

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.29
Beginner Scuba:  2.14
Intermediate Scuba:  3.14
Advanced Scuba:  3.71
Night diving Scuba:  4.00

Number of reviews for this site: 7

1393-6-5-21


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