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Rainbow springs trip

 I loaded up and took off in a down pour. Lighting almost canceled the whole
trip but it cleared up and even got quite sunny near the end of the day. I
met up with a couple that lives here in Gainesville and we rented a canoe
and went through the park and on downstream and did some diving/snorkeling
in the perfect clear waters.

I think I have a good idea where the crypts are. Someone planted them there,
they just did not "get loose" accidentally. I did not see any downstream
anywhere. Whoever planted them there must have done so years ago by now. Not
exactly an invasive plant. I'll get over to see them later.

It's a weird place. Downstream about 1000yards where the park boundary ends,
the local's have their houses right along the river. Quite nice place if you
live there. Your own swimming pool and planted underwater garden lawn of
Sags and Vals.

Well lots of plants, a bunch of different turtles, some 2+feet in Diameter!,
pretty colors, some tiny(silver dollar size), Soft shelled turtles also.
Lots of water birds.

I think there has to be at least a dozen species of fish there. The
sunfish(a couple of species), a bluegill that will come right up to you and
even can be fed by hand. One took a nip at my hand as I acted like I was
going to feed it. A sizable school of good sized 6-8 inch pan fish appeared
looking for hand outs. Maybe a 7-8lb bass running around, a catfish or two,
some small surface fish I cannot ID, good sized perch and a fun school of
large silver tinfoil type barbs with very nice red coloration. They seems to
enjoy out swimming me.  There are certainly other fish present, we just did
not see them. It's a difficult place to be without a fishing pole. I brought
an underwater cheapy camera. I found out they sell a cheap Digital camera
also for about 60$ or so. I should get one of those.

Water temp: 72F perfect.
No funny taste.  

Plants? Well mainly Vals and Sag's. Some Hornwort which grows
attached/entangled along the bottom in the current and Hydrillia. Water
lettuce here and there in stagnant leaf pools.

In the headwaters some Potamogeton crispus makes an appearance in grand
style. A very nice looking plant in the wild. We could not dive there
though, restricted area for that.

Ludwigia repens, is somewhat subdued in mass but present along the banks.
I found some Utricularia which might be U gibba, the pest, but it might be
some other species, it's doesn't look like what we see in our aquariums, but
it could be. I found some Fontanalis moss on some detritus and also a nice
example along a mangrove type tree half in and half out of the water by 6
inches either direction. It was pearling like mad.
The Vals were blooming, pretty white flower.
I spotted two different species of Echinodorus, the flower stalk must have
been 6-7feet, both emergent.
The pennywort looks different here. More like the H verticillata in CA.
The beds of plants are huge and extensive. There are nice patches of rock
and white sand mixed in. These are clearly visible from the boat. They have
some places with glass bottom boats also.

A rope swing and a few "jumping trees" were along the way.
We spent most of the time with our heads underwater looking for fish,
turtles and plants. Taking photo's underwater with a mask is tough. The
plants are current swept but it's not that strong to notice much when
swimming. It looked just like a photo I saw of Lake Malawai years ago with
the val beds on white sand in deep water. I'm thinking about getting a
cheapy digital camera that's water proof.
The location is about 48 miles away from town.

But it could be Thailand with Crypt var balansae instead of vals and sag's,
Real tinfoil bards, Clown knifes, Mystus catfish, SAE's, etc. You could get
fried shrimp at either place also.

Tom Barr