Equinox Documentaries Blog

documentary films which inspire a sense of "place" through stories and images

Diving The “Hole in the River”

Filed under: Wekiva: Legacy or Loss? - Back Story — Bob at 4:59 pm on Saturday, June 25, 2005

Bill and I dove in Island Springs. It’s in the middle of the river, just upstream from Katie’s Landing off SR 46. Russ Moncrief again provided us with the generous loan of his boat, powered by a “go-devil” motor–which is sort of a Cuisinart at the end of a long metal rod. Its tricky to operate but is great for shallow and weed-choked waters, and certainly came in handy here. It worked great, and Bill is now learning to turn on the key *before* pulling the starter rope a dozen times. But I can’t complain as he got us over the spring, threw in a floating dive flag, and then both of us suited up and got in the water. We had visited the spring once before and knew enough to anchor downstream, least the algae-laden silt around the limestone ruin the viz.

Underwater, we sank down to the basin of the spring, which drops from about three feet in the river bottom to about l5 feet. From here, we dodged a sunken tree trunk and entered the cave mouth. The mouth slopes downward gradually, then just out of the range of light, it plummets sharply down into the rock. We followed it into the narrow tunnel, for as far as we could, feeling the strong upwelling of the 4.5 million-gallon a day springs. Bill had read a hydrologist’s report that said water coming out of Island Spring was actually “connate [prehistoric] sea water” originating from somewhere deep in the aquifer. The chloride content was so high a wavy “halocline” layer was created where the upwelling spring water met the fresher water of the river. Very surreal.

Back at Katie’s, we stopped to chat with Russ and Katie, who are some of the nicest folks you’d want to meet. Katie insists Island Spring is actually called “Sulfur Spring,” as it has a sulfur scent and a cave-diving team from UF once mapped it as such. But since we were likely suffering from nitrogen overload, we decided to call it Island Spring, even though in his right mind, Bill knows it is not wise to argue with someone who has a Landing named after them.

Black Bear Chronicles

Filed under: Wekiva: Legacy or Loss? - Back Story — Bob at 4:59 pm on Saturday, June 25, 2005

Things have been busy for the “Wekiva Wonder Boys.” If you haven’t heard, we had a great article in the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday. In addition, we’ve heard that the Sentinel‘s cable news channel (13) also ran something on Wednesday. We didn’t know anything about it, but what the heck–it’s TV coverage!

Last week, we traveled to Ocala National Forest and the Juniper Springs area to shoot our Black Bear segment. For the first time in our schedule, the weather didn’t cooperate. Mr. Murphy struck on a shoot that couldn’t be rescheduled easily… so we persevered and after a 14 hour day, tracking through some pouring rain and, at the end of the night, finally sitting down for food amidst an adolescent baseball league at Steak n Shake in Silver Springs… We accomplished everything we set out to do… (except getting soaked wasn’t part of the plan!) We were able to videotape a 261 pound male Black Bear as he was tagged, collared and given a thorough checkup. The footage was great and the experience was better. Surprisingly (or maybe not so), the bear had been tagged before and comparative data indicated that this bear had been hit by a car since his last tagging and he had broken a forearm. He appeared to have recovered nicely. No news on the car… Our “hosts” in the forest were wildlife biologists Walt McCown and Thomas Eason, and we are grateful for their knowledge as well as their patience.

We are wrapping up our shooting phase and have little bits and pieces of video that we still need to collect. Yesterday, we visited Florida Audubon’s Center for Birds of Prey to do some outstanding macro footage of a Bald Eagle, an Osprey, a Red-shouldered hawk, a Red-tail hawk, an American Kestrel, a Burrowing Owl, a Barred Owl and a Peregrine Falcon. Bill will be spending the next couple of weeks reviewing all of the footage as he attempts to get this all into a 60-minute script. I on the other hand am taking a vacation and going to Oregon to do some Mountain hiking (these two events are not related in any way!) We should have a script by July 22nd… just after I return from vacation… Still some field shooting left to be done, though.

Stirring Timucuan Memories

Filed under: Wekiva: Legacy or Loss? - Back Story — Bob at 4:59 pm on Saturday, June 25, 2005

We visited Twin Mounds this week. This is a set of Timucua middens hidden on the back side of an island [on the mainland shore] near the middle river. Of the two dozen midden mounds along the river, this was one of the few to be explored by archaeologists. Both Dr. Marilyn Stewart of Rollins College and Dr. Brent Weisman of University of South Florida have done preliminary work here in support of the state purchase of the land via the CARl program. Interpretative signage at the site explains the Timucua had lived here for at least 4,000 years, but that the site was abandoned before the Spanish arrived in Florida. It is a mystery as to why it was abandoned, although Bill wondered if it was because the extended families living here simply over-exploited the local resources and had to move on.

I earned my new nickname, Osceola Giguere, by taking off my shoes and socks and repeatedly walking in and out of the water from the edge of the mound, while Andy filmed me from calf down. My feet were not quite Indian looking enough, so I mudded them up and did some more water walking. Emily, our intern, volunteered to be the Indian, but we realized her purple toe nail polish might give her away as a modern. Then again, the Timucua did like tattoos and body adornments…

Next Page »