Mike Emanuel's Cave Diving Page

Whitcomb Springs

Photo of Whitcomb Bayou Springs

Whitcomb Bayou (boil is visible near shore)

LOCATION: (lat. 28°08'26.2" N., long. 82°45'50.4" W.)

The Whitcomb Springs are located in Tarpon Springs, FL, approximately 60yds off the Southern most shore of Whitcomb Bayou at the point midway between Carolina Ave. and Bayou Ave. Best access is by boat, but one could easily trudge through the mucky bottom from the shore. Naturally, the boil is most visible at low tide.


Whitcomb Bayou is fairly shallow in the southern end; at low tide it is only waist deep. The bottom is mucky near the shore, then gets fairly firm and sandy nearing the spring vents. There are two depressions, one is about 10' deep, the other is slightly northeast and a little shallower. At the bottom of each depression is a small rock and clay lined hole with crystal clear, 72 degree spring water pumping out. There are also a few cracks & seeps where cold sand can be felt as the water percolates upward through the fragmented rock bottom.

At high tide, this is a grope dive since the tea colored (tannic) bayou water filters out most light. At low tide visibility increases slightly and some light makes it to the bottom. A flashlight is only useful when putting your face directly into the spring vent and peering inside, since the fresh spring water creates a halocline at the point where it blends with the warm brackish water of the bayou...it's like looking through a mask full of vinegar & oil.

On my initial dive here, I was able to clear quite a bit of rock from around the primary vents and get a look inside. Nothing big enough for a human to fit into, but at least you can see down into the rocky breakdown now. It's all very loose with a lot of bluegray clay holding it together, very much like the offshore cave at Howard Park. I also removed a lot of debris from the two depressions to keep it from sliding back into the vents. This site has a significant flow and a lot of potential, but serious cavers will need to invest many weeks digging through the loose rock & clay that is choking the source before anyone can venture any farther.

Special thanks to Laurel Whitney for noticing the surface boils and letting me check them out!