Devil’s Eye Cave System
The Devil’s Eye cave system is among the most popular and frequently dived caves in the world. With over 30,000 feet of mapped passageway, divers can spend a lifetime of active cave diving and still not see all of it. There are still portions of the cave that have yet to be adequately explored and mapped.
Devil’s Eye is part of the Ginnie Springs resort complex, and provides visiting divers with unusual amenities, such as access to warm showers before and after the dive. Its location on the Santa Fe river means that, even after the Suwannee River caves have flooded, it will remain diveable. In fact, Devil’s Eye generally becomes undiveable only once or twice every decade.
The system has two entrances, Devil’s Eye and Devil’s Ear, located in close proximity to one another. They quickly join each other under water in a large passageway known as the Gallery. Devil’s Ear generally provides faster and easier access; however, divers frequently use the Devil’s Eye entrance for training purposes or simply a change of pace.
Parallelling the Gallery are a series of interconnecting tunnels known as the Catacombs. These are the only popular passageways in the cave that are not lined. This is intentional, as instructors rely on these tunnels to give students extensive reel practice.
Because of the large degree of traffic the cave receives, and the fact Ginnie Springs’ “No Lights” rule helps keep untrained divers out of the cave, the main line at Devil’s Ear runs right to the entrance. This way, the only divers likely to be running reels into the cave are students in training. (Imagine the potential calamity if ten or more teams of cave divers all tried to run reels through the narrow, high-flow entrance at one time.)
At the end of the Gallery, the cave makes an abrupt right turn, and divers must pass through a wide restriction known as the Lips. Beyond the Lips is a large room, at the far side of which the line passes through the Key Hole, Here divers drop from 70 to 90 feet, and begin snaking through a short, winding section known as the Cornflakes.
At the far side of the Cornflakes, some 450 feet into the cave, divers emerge into the Junction Room. From here the cave begins branching off in several directions, providing the opportunity for numerous circuits and exploration of offshoot tunnels.
The furthest point of penetration in the cave is almost a mile from the entrance. Exploration in this region of the cave makes use of scooters almost mandatory. Fortunately, divers can make hundreds of dives in the downstream portion of the cave before they need DPVs to see new passageway. By then they will have gained sufficient experience to graduate to scooters and staging (Ginnie Springs requires 100 cave dives or DPV certification to use scooters in Devil’s Eye).
A detailed road map showing how to get all of north-central Florida’s most popular cave diving sites is available for download in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). 2 pages; 1,002K