From Mayo, drive east on U.S. 27 about four miles to Convict SpringsRoad. The road is marked by a unique sign–a small blue "house" with a canoeon top and an American Flag. Across from it, Airline Baptist Church witha sign proclaiming "Jesus Saves." Turn left and go 1.5 miles until theroad bends to the left. Go straight ahead instead, where the road turnsto dirt. Signs point to Jim Hollis' River Rendezvous, about ½ miledown the road. The turnoff is marked by a large sign for Jim Hollis’ RiverRendezvous.
For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery,and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring,go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site atthe following address: http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida
The small spring is set in a depression just behind the natural riverlevee for the Suwannee River about 50 feet from the river. The spring isframed by a three-tiered concrete wall and is in the shape of a teardrop.The pool is 50 feet long and tapers from 20 feet wide above the vent atthe north end to about 6 feet wide where the pool forms its short run tothe river. The greatest depth is about 18 feet near the vent which formsa cavern passageway. The run is only a few inches deep and cuts throughthe levee among cypress knees to the river. Water in the spring is clearbut a little dark, and fish may be seen in the spring. Cypress trees andlive oaks are common in the rolling landscape between farmland and theriver.
- Called Jim Hollis’ River Rendezvous, the area around Convict Spring isa sort of rustic resort, campground, dive shop, and river excursion center.Among the odd mix of features, the site offers a trampoline, picnicking,a shooting range, boat trips, canoe rentals, shuttles to dive sites, restaurant,air for dive tanks, a great rope swing over the river, and a couple ofcabins on the levee that may be rented.
- Under previous owners, there had also been a bar/lounge that advertisedthe availability of "300 different kinds of beer and 30 different winecoolers." Under the current owners, however, alcoholic beverages are nolonger sold, and the TV in the restaurant seems to be permanently set ona televangelist channel. A sign now sa ys "No Alcohol," and a large crossstands near the pool.
- A cypress tree next to the spring pool has signs marking flood levels (upto 35 feet up) re presenting various floods from 1973, 1986, 1991, 1987,and, at the base of the tree, "snowfall of 1989." On December 24, 1989,the area received a light dusting of snow.
- The spring apparently supplied water for a local road prison, from whenceits name is derived.
While the spring is quite small and offers little in the way of swimming,or observation, there is a lot to do at this curious site. In addition,it is a good jumping-off point for other spring and river exploration inthe area.
- Suwannee Blue
- PerryJim Hollis’ River Rendezvous