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How Warm is the Grotto?
Visitors to Florida often have no clue as to how warm (or cold) the water is. They may assume that, in so far as Florida is famous for palm trees and sunshine, the state’s waters must be bathtub warm. That’s not necessarily true.
Water temperatures in the Grotto can range from a seasonal low of 18° C/65° F to a high of 22° C/72° F. This is slightly colder than many of the surrounding springs, where year-round water temperatures maintain a constant 21°-22° C/72°-73° F.
Why is this? The water in most neighboring springs and sinkholes comes almost entirely from the Floridan Aquifer, deep under ground. This water maintains a constant, year-round temperature, largely unaffected by the temperature above ground.
In contrast, a significant portion of the Grotto’s water comes from local rainfall. This means that, in the winter (when air temperatures are at a seasonal low), the water coming into the Grotto will be colder. Conversely, summer rainfall can raise Grotto water temperatures several degrees.
One thing divers will not experience at the Grotto are the thermoclines common in bodies of water farther north. At worst, the water at the bottom of the Grotto will only be a degree or two colder than it is on the surface.