Hospital Hole Dive

Hospital Hole is a deep sinkhole at this sharp bend of the Weeki Wachee River. You can see the greenish bottom in the foreground with the darker hole further back and toward the left.

Hospital Hole is a deep sinkhole at this sharp bend of the Weeki Wachee River. You can see the greenish bottom in the foreground with the darker hole further back and toward the left.

We visited Hospital Hole to collect samples for Madison's project on September 28th. Bobby and Dr. Garey went as divers while Madison and Chelsea did boat support, surface sampling and took care of all the samples. It was a beautiful Fall day. Hospital Hole is a deep sink (140 ft deep) located in the Weeki Wachee River in Florida. Normally the deep water is anoxic with the walls at the deepest point covered in biofilm. This soon after Hurricane Irma there had been a change and none of the normal biofilm was found in the deepest part. However, on the way up we passed a normally inactive vent that was discharging water at a tremendous rate and it was surrounded by various types of biofilm. Luckily we had spare sample bottles and made a second dive to collect water and biofilm samples from the vent. All went well, we returned to the lab and all the students were up much of the night processing all the samples. We expect some very interesting results.

The conduit at about 72 feet in Hospital Hole. The hydrolab in the foreground is about 4 inches in Diameter and the vent is 3-4 ft across but narrows to about 18 inches in the back.

The conduit at about 72 feet in Hospital Hole. The hydrolab in the foreground is about 4 inches in Diameter and the vent is 3-4 ft across but narrows to about 18 inches in the back.

Bobby is looking right into the vent which is to the right. The particles in the water you can see are flowing very quickly from the right to the left afterwe disturbed the sediment in the vent. You can also see the white biofilm encrusting the rocks in the lower right of the photo.

Bobby is looking right into the vent which is to the right. The particles in the water you can see are flowing very quickly from the right to the left afterwe disturbed the sediment in the vent. You can also see the white biofilm encrusting the rocks in the lower right of the photo.