This is a pretty great time to be a scuba diver here in Maryland! A new quarry, Juturna Springs, is getting ready to open up (next week) and if the rumors are to be believed (verified today), it’s going to mean that I can teach Advanced Open Water without the 3-hour drive up to Dutch Springs (a place I love BTW). If the other rumors are true, this may be the only place for hundreds of miles that will be an appropriate place for inland deep water technical dive training.
Let’s start with some logistics. As of today there wasn’t any signage indicating the entrance to Juturna Springs. That will probably fix itself next week, but in the unlikely event it doesn’t, lemme help you out.
The official opening date is next weekend, but the folks at Juturna Springs were nice enough to let DWF arrange a sneak peek with some of the other PADI Pros from Columbia Scuba. It’s been quite awhile since I got the chance to try out a new local quarry (I haven’t lived in MD that long), but talking to other folks it’s been decades since a new quarry opened up, so color us all lucky!
Once we found the entrance we looked for a parking spot. As of today they’re not clearly marked. Once we got parked our eyes were immediately drawn to some of heavy equipment nearby. We also headed down to the water to see the three platforms which are to be put in within the next week (perhaps even today after we left).
Four of us from Columbia Scuba were there today to take the quarry for a spin. We spoke with some of the other instructors there and were given the parameters of where it was okay to dive today. My favorite part of the conversation was where we could hit 130 feet! Nobody in our group was in the mood for a dive to that depth (especially the guy in the wetsuit), but it’s great to know those dives will be available.
Our group got geared up and made our way into the water. Right now there’s a bit of a peninsula we traversed to get into
the water. The “ramp” area is where many fish have chosen to nest so some thought will need to be put into the best place for
entries. In the area we picked for diving most of the ground was covered in a lush green sort of underwater grass. There was a distinct thermocline near 20 feet. Distinct enough that I got a photo of it.
The visibility varied from about 10-30 feet. Every once in awhile it got down to maybe 5 feet, but nothing like the almost blackout conditions that we’ve experienced at other local quarries. All in all the VIZ was pretty darn good.
As far as temperatures go, the water was in the high 70s at the surface. There was a definite thermocline (10-15 degrees) at 20 feet. And it was about 42 degrees at 65 feet.
The only “attraction” we saw today was some concrete piping that had been laid out, clearly for us divers. Don’t bother asking if we swam through ’em. You know that we did. Also, the rumor mill says that they’ll be sinking a C-130 in the near future.
We made our way around the outer wall of the quarry. A couple of things that I really liked about the new quarry was lots of sunken trees, and many flat areas covered in that grass. For beginning divers those areas are really ideal for touring the quarry. Lush enough for us to work on our buoyancy (and pretend we’re over a coral reef) and shallow enough (20-25 feet) that nobody has to worry about students dropping off a deep dark ledge 🙂
Now I talk about how I’m looking forward to being able to do a “deep” training dive, so of course I had to verify we could get to 60+ feet.
The bottom line today was that Juturna Springs is almost ready! The infrastructure is being put in and the basics will hopefully be ready by next weekend. Either way I’m certain this place will be a lot of fun this summer.
If you want it to be perfect then next weekend might be a little early, but if you’re excited about diving and ready to try a new place then take Juturna Springs for a spin!
Near Term & Future Infrastructure Updates I’ve talked to the folks there about:
- Multiple Platforms Installed
- Changing Rooms
- Air Fills
- New Attraction(s)..C-130 was mentioned
The JS guys will be working on adding new infrastructure all summer, so this is going to be fun.