Vortex Springs Fiasco - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 02-17-2008, 10:00 PM   #1
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Default Vortex Springs Fiasco

Well the day started off great and ended great but the rest made my blood boil! Here goes, its a long read...I made plans with Slim at MBT to dive with his Open Water class so I could work on my skills and get some bottom time. Early in the week it looked like a boat dive to Ft pickens, but on Sat. his class wanted to do a shore dive, so after getting all our gear together we meet at P'cola beach at 1000. We walk out to the beach and the wind is kicking pretty good out of the SE and when I mentioned the current from the night before was substantial Slim decided that the springs were better suited for his students (he had a couple of weak swimmers) so this was certainly a good call. I was really looking forward to Pickens but I was equally stoked about diving the springs since I haven't been there since 1993! So the 7 of us load up (I should mention here that I got to ride over with Craig Steltz of LSU football fame and got to talk football for an 1 1/2 with one of the best so I wasn't complaining) and head to the springs. We start off by going and seeing if Morrison springsis open but it was closed for construction so we make a U-turn and head for Vortex. We pull in and it doesn't look crowded at all so we are all stoked for a great dive. For those of you who haven't been there in a while like myself apparently Doc has sold half his place to a dive company and there is a chainlink fence dividing the property in half with a gate for entrance to Doc's side. Slim tells us it's 20$ if we want to use the dive facility side with all the amenities or use Doc's side bare bones for free and that it's our choice he will go to which ever side we decide. We all decide that free is the way to go, so slim opens the gate to Doc's side and we drive in and park. It is an absolutely beautiful day around 75 degrees as we start suiting up and getting our gear together. Here is where things go bad...After about 15 minutes the facility manager for the dive facility sidewalks up and says "ya'll ain't supposed to be here, the Sherrif is on his way" he never asked us who we were or what wewere doing or asked us to move to his side or if we knew Doc or anything...just the Sherrif is on his way. Slim replies to the man that we have permission from Doc to be there to which the managerreplies "you don't have written permission and you didn't read the sign, the sherrif is on his way" we all look at each otherand say what sign? Apparently there is a small sign off to the sidethat says if the gate is closed you can't use Docs side, but the sign was completly blocked by a truck that was parked at the fence so we had no clue that was the rule. At this point the facility manager asks us if we are from MBT and when slim says yes the guy just walks off. So we immediately start packing up our gear and throw it in the trucks and move over to the dive facility side. We pull up to the dive store the same time the sherrif pulls up. Slim explains to the dive manager our mistake and that had we seen the sign we certainly would have obeyed the rules.Slim was completely professional, well the manager says "I'm sorry but you will all have to leave, I've had problems with MBT before and ya'll aren't welcome here" by this time myself and the rest of the students are pissed, but slim again handled himself professionally and asked the manager for the MBT personnel who he had problems with so he could fix the problem,the guy couldn't produce a name or descibe the person...sounded completely bogus to me but Slim again being professional said no problem we will leave...well I couldn't let it go at that I was pissed that thisasshat gave us no warning or asked us to come to his side or anything, just "the sherriffs on his way" so after stating that I had no affiliation with MBT other than being a student there I let this guy have it and let him know that this was the most unprofessional business I have ever seen, that we drove from P'cola to train here and that now that we know the rulesand are willing to pay the fee and you still won't let us is ridiculous and that if you were a class act dive facility that cared about diving and students you would put aside whatever petty differences you have with MBT and let 7 students get some quality training and pay you 150$ to do it, to which themanager said sorry but that is the owners policy to which Craigreplied "I will pay you 4 times the amount to let us dive here" and the manager says "nope you have to leave" so completly dejected and with a police escort we pack up our gear and leave. We drive to the nearest gas station to grab a coke for the long ride back and the sherrif who escorted us out pulls in and comes inside. I start talking to the sherrif who saysthe Vortex guys are just in it for the money and that they are bunch of dicks and that he dives there illegally all the time! He also tells me that there is a lake north of here that nobody knows about that they just pulled a body out of and that it is crystal clear and he would take us there if we wanted, so I reluctantly tell him to tell Slim about it to see if Slim wants to try it and with that we are off. We drive a few miles past vortex and turn off the paved road and drive and drive and drive deeper into the woods, you know your in the backwoods when a 220lb championship ring wearing, strong safety from the backwoods of louisiana looks over at you and says "this is some scary shit I think I hear deliverence music"the whole time we were wondering if the cop was just having some fun with us,so after what seems like forever the most perfect spring fed lake opens up without a single house on it...no civilization at all it was a cool place and the cop gets out and says this is the place we pulled a body out of about a month ago some husband found his wife cheating and tied some blocks to her but she floated up and some locals found her, great thanks... but it turned out to be a wonderful spot that was FREEZING cold it was 55 degrees on the bottom, but we got our dives in and ended up thankful we got kicked out of Vortex. This place was awesome and I will be going back there this summer to do some camping. All in all it was a good day and weall have a story to tell but I can tell you I won't be going back to Vortex after being treated that wayit was ridiculous. And Slim my hats off to you brother you are truly a Class act and one hell of an Instructor you handled yourself much better than I would havein that situation...MBT should give you a raise. Anyway I thought I would share this and let everyone know how Vortex does business...shady at best
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:10 PM   #2
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Default RE: Vortex Springs Fiasco

I'm sorry yall had such a bad experience.

I was practically raised in that area and have fished many ponds in the area. You wouldn't remember the name of the pond or how to get to it would you?
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:13 PM   #3
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Default RE: Vortex Springs Fiasco

The sherrif said it was lake cassidy I think...and I have no clue how we got there we took about 15 minutes of dirt roads
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:13 PM   #4
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Default RE: Vortex Springs Fiasco

I haven't ever been to Vortex personally, but I've heard it repeated over and over about that dive group out there and the problems they cause. I guess their first reaction is to call the sheriff and shag people off the place, makes no sense to me, especially like you were saying Flyboy, you all wanted to pay once you realized your error. Whatever, I'm glad you guys found a good spot that sounds to be even better than the springs. Did you guys find the cinder blocks?
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:14 PM   #5
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Default RE: Vortex Springs Fiasco

we did save it on one of the students car GPS though, im trying to google earth it right now...
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:18 PM   #6
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Default RE: Vortex Springs Fiasco

Quote:
flyingfishr (2/17/2008)I haven't ever been to Vortex personally, but I've heard it repeated over and over about that dive group out there and the problems they cause. I guess their first reaction is to call the sheriff and shag people off the place, makes no sense to me, especially like you were saying Flyboy, you all wanted to pay once you realized your error. Whatever, I'm glad you guys found a good spot that sounds to be even better than the springs. Did you guys find the cinder blocks?
We did find some cinder blocks and everyone did one of those laughs like I hope that wasn't them...
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:35 PM   #7
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Default RE: Vortex Springs Fiasco

That just makes me sick. I did my certification dives at vortex with MBT. MBT students have spent countless thousands of dollars at that spring. It's a shame that they are acting like such tools. It's also a shame that MBT students in the future will not have access to such a cool dive site.

I am glad you guys got the opportunity to do your dives after driving such a long way. That would have really sucked to have to turn around and drive home without getting wet.

I would LOVE to get a map or GPS numbers to that spring.
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:38 PM   #8
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Default RE: Vortex Springs Fiasco

This is what I found. I may have to go check it out. Who's up for it. GPS Numbers I used to find Lake Cassidy: 30 49.0N, 86 1.56'W



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Old 02-17-2008, 10:44 PM   #9
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Default RE: Vortex Springs Fiasco

I just googled it and it was lake cassidy...the vis was great as long as you don't stir the silty bottom up...it was pretty featureless on the bottom as well, but it looks like an awesome place to camp and bring the kayak...when I did a google search I found a pic of some guy wakeboarding it and he said the same thing...middle of nowhere with some scary rednecks out there!!
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Old 02-17-2008, 10:46 PM   #10
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Default RE: Vortex Springs Fiasco

How deep is the lake?
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