LOCATION - Knight: (lat. 28°07'35.5" N., long. 82°44'16.9" W.)
LOCATION - Lake Tarpon: (lat. 28°07'34.5" N., long. 82°44'16.8" W.)
The sinks are located in Tarpon Springs, FL., on the Northwest shore of Lake Tarpon, surrounded by A.L. Anderson Park.
Access to this site is restricted but the sink and the earthen dam around Lake Tarpon Sink can be viewed from inside the park. Boat access and a set of balls are the ticket here, there's always gators in Lake Tarpon Sink and they often cross the spit of land to Knight Sink looking for a snack. Since the park was built they've seen so many scraps off the picnic table that the slightest ripple of surface water brings them chugging over for a meal. Lake Tarpon Sink is extra dark, surrounded by cattails and is definitely not a preferred entrance point. Knight has a steep slope to the water so a rope will make for safer entry/exit. Just follow the gator trail to the water on the Southeast side of the sink (visible in the aerial photo). The vis in the basin fluctuates throughout the year but often gets clear enough to see the sandy mound from the surface. There are also plenty of large logs to hang deco bottles off of. Despite the hassle of access and long deco penalty, this is a spectacular dive site with lots of potential for exploration using modern technologies to deal with the depths and high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide.
Upon entering the sink we made our way to the debris mound at a depth of 50', visibility was excellent and there was an abundance of marine life. The mound sloped down in a northerly direction where a sparse layer of hydrogen sulfide began along with the permanent guideline at 60'. With visibility reduced to 5 or 10 ft we made our way down to a depth of 205' and broke into warmer, gin clear water. The floor leveled off and line split in three directions, we followed one into what seemed to be the main passage. At a depth of 217' the vis took a turn for the worse again until one of us was smart enough to rise up off the line a little. The floor looked like a witch's cauldron with swirling clouds of gas that obscured sight of the line as we hovered just above it in gin clear water again. The percolation caused by our exhaust gases hitting the the 6" long mud straws on the ceiling gave some clue as to how long it was since someone had been through here and I started to pay real close attention to the condition of the guideline. The passage doglegged to the right, then left, and opened up into a huge conduit that was wide enough to swing a tractor trailer around in. The passage started to angle upward, and we made it back up to a depth of 60' before calling the dive. These sinks are chronicled by cave diving legend Sheck Exley in his biography "Caverns Measureless to Man". After checking out his maps I can see that we almost completed the traverse to the lakeside basin, but who knows if that entrance is still accessible.
Aerial shot of Knight and Lake Tarpon Sinks
Map of the traverse between Knight and Lake Tarpon Sinks
Aerial shot showing relationship between Tarpon Springs and Knight Sink