Now first off, be careful because”this area is a federally protected natural habitat”! That’s what the lifeguard barked out. No, he didn’t direct that info to me, but might as well have been. We’ve always known the cold-water springs to be the home of a rare salamander, but I thought that was just along the west wall, which is roped off for the salamanders. I didn’t think it applied to the whole pool and included picking up rocks while diving around. And yeah, there’s some cool stuff down there! [cycloneslider id=”barton-springs-swimming-pool”]
There are lots of tiny snails around the main spring and a few fish taking refuge in a crevice that leads to a big hole, close to the diving board. The hole is much deeper than the rest of the area, so I’m thinking it’s an eroded crater from back when the springs probably created a waterfall. The hole is filled with small white pebbles and lined with a beautiful limestone cliff that reflects the filtered sunlight.
It’s a fun dive and enough to cause a pressure change in the ears and will press the mask firmly against your face. It takes a few times to build up the tolerance, and if you rarely dive below nine feet then ease toward the bottom of the hole over the course of a couple of dives.
After you’re used to it you will start to explore a whole new world of Barton Springs Pool. Just remember to treat the area with tons of respect and also yourself. Stay safe and be aware of your surroundings. Many times people are swimming right above where you’re free-diving and jumping in along the edges.