The Blue Spring

Blue Spring State Park, Orange City, Volusia County

blue spring
This is the namesake Blue Spring, its pool, its vent, its boil and the beginning of its nearly half-mile run to the St. Johns River. Some 70 million gallons of water pour out of the vent — the opening to the cave system underlying this area — each day. The water is under pressure so it pushes the surface of the pool up slightly and bubbles as if it is boiling. The vent is the dark area in the lower left-center portion of the photo. Look closely in those shadows and you'll some rippling of the water, the boil. The water as it comes up through the ground lacks oxygen, so no plants or fish live in the pool and the first part of the run. Farther down toward the St. Johns, some algae starts to grow, adding oxygen to the water. In the lower portion of the run, gars, sun fish, catfish and bass can be seen in abundance. Unlike some other Florida springs, the water of Blue Spring is undrinkable because of the minerals it's picked up on its journey to the vent. It has a relatively high salt content from ancient sea water underground. William Bartram, the eminent 18th century botantist and explorer of Florida, visited the spring in the winter of 1766. He called the spring itself an "admirable fountain," but didn't think much of the stuff that came out of it. “This tepid water,” Bartram reported, “has a most disagreeable taste, brassy and vitriolic, and very offensive to the smell, much like bilge water or the washings of a gun barrel." We personally can't verify the putrid taste Bartram experienced, but we detected no odor whatsoever coming from the water. We should note that park pamphlets and website attribute the quote to William's father, John Bartram, in 1774, while most other sources cite William eight years earlier. Both are plausible.



Published by Wild South Florida, PO Box 7241, Delray Beach, FL 33482.
Photographs by David Sedore. Photographs are property of the publishers and may not be used without permission.