Overview of Cathedral Rocks

Cathedral Rocks

USA East


One of the more popular dives in Cape Ann, Cathedral Rocks is known for its abundance of lobsters and for its deep dives. If you consider yourself an advanced diver, you'll feel at home here.

Directions: At the intersection of SR 127 and SR127A in Rockport (NE Cape Ann), continue North for 1.2 miles, turn right onto Cathedral Ave, and continue further for another .1 mile.


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03/25/2012 Chris 8 (Avg: 3.57 Review) - This site was a great dive. It is a little difficult to get in and out of with all the rocks. There were many different species of fish and some very large lobsters.

04/09/2006 Jake Jurczak (Avg: 2.58 Review) - This is a dive I've loved over the years. OK, the cliffs are tough to negotiate, so go slow and don't carry too much [make two trips]. Please be courteous to other divers by placing your gear out of the way, as Dan Halligan pointed out, we ran into what we call in Polish, DZUPPA JURRA, which means, well you know…The entry is easy at high tide. I jump off the end rock, which points dead east. I recommend you descend immediately and follow the bottom contour to 80+. I've seen various types of marine life over the years: cod, stripers, wolf fish and a 4ft long BLUE SHARK that probably lost its mother [being so close to shore]. The marine life has all but disappeared over the years from over fishing, pollution, and the climate. I don't know, I'm not scientist, but it scares me. One cool thing about this dive is I keep finding MASSIVE LOBSTERS! The rumor is around Rockport that a rich Buddhist lady buys these monsters in Nova Scotia, and then releases them near Cathedral rocks. I recently wrestled this BADBOY out from his lair, and I mean he put up one hell of a fight. When all was said and done, he was over the legal limit and I wasted 500psi on this lobster. This is an entertaining dive and keep your eyes open for one of those Buddhist Lobsters. I hope to see ya there!! DIVE SAFELY!!!!

08/15/2005 Chris 4 (Avg: 2.02 Review) - Probably one of the worst dive locations I have experienced in 20+ years of diving. An attractive location but far too popular, especially with the very limited space available on the site to house gear, suite up, etc. Risky negotiation of the rocks to get one's gear to the site; other divers at the site were far from helpful, and at times darn right rude -- welcome to New England. We had the unfortunate coincidence when a bunch of unruly, childish young divers arrived and turned the site and dive into a shambles. We quickly exited the location having deemed it too dangerous to safely continue with our planned second dive. I would recommend getting there early, since most people started turning up around 9:00am; and don't forget your dive flag. Entry at high tide is a straight forward giant stride but once the tide starts to recede, entry becomes more and more awkward and tricky with beds of seaweed lining your descent to the water's edge. The site does have some interesting geological features and the lobsters and crabs on our dive where plentiful. Visibility was excellent for New England, though it was still very cold. Make sure you leave some strength to get your gear back up the rocks at the end of the dive; you will need it! Been there, don't ever need to go again.

03/14/2005 Sharon Hepburn (Avg: 3.82 Review) - This is my favorite Cape Ann dive site at high tide, but I avoid it at low tide. You can do a giant stride entry from a ledge. I usually carry the fins in and put 'em on in the water. Much easier that way! There's usually plenty of people to hand your gear up to if you need a hand exiting. Anyway, about the dive: Straight out, you can get to about 80 feet if the tide is right, but it gets mighty chilly! Swimming to the left, you'll stay at about 20-35 feet, with lots of pretty seaweed, sponges & anemones. I always see something new here! Swim to the right and you'll navigate around a bunch of interesting boulders and maybe max at 45 feet. Viz is usually above average for New England. Very pretty dive!

03/14/2005 C Hepburn (Avg: 3.18 Review) - I love this dive site. What really differentiates advanced vs. beginner dive sites in New England is the ease of entry/exit. This one would qualify for a advanced entry, especially at low tide. There's two ways to approach the entry point at this dive site. One is to carry all your equipment with you and don down on the rocks (usually the way I go, but it depends on whom I'm diving with). The other is to don your equipment at the car and walk down fully geared and straight into the water; it's not as bad as it seems if you're in pretty good shape. At high tide the entry is just a step off the ledge. At low tide it's a bit more challenging. The diving, straight out, drops quickly to 80' and brrrr cold. I think the best diving is in the shallows 20-40' to left or right of entry.

12/18/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 3.38 Review) - Great site for a deep shore dive. Max depth is 83' at high tide on sandy bottom. Parking is easy, access to water is easy if you walk it without gear first and pick your route.

09/15/2004 Daniel J. Halligan (Avg: 3.27 Review) - Although my score may read low, do not take that as a bad thing. This is an advanced dive. Surge ranges from annoying to life-threatening. More on that later. My dive buddies and I like this sight because it is easy to get to the entry point. You may see that I rated it not so easy. I did this because, you do have to go rock-jumping down to the entry point and it's not an easy task. If you are in better than average shape it will be no problem and you will be awarded with a short walk, or jump, LOL! If you have trouble carrying a full load of gear on an easy surface, you are going to be in trouble here. The rocks can be a killer on the way in due to surge. I've been here five times and I have to tell you, conditions vary wildly. Basically, this dive lets you go deep with a minimal effort and you can see some really cool things here. We have seen a baby shark, wonderful schools of fish and some interesting bottom life. I hear brittle stars are here as well as nudibranches. My dive partner gave me a very cool ten-ridged whelk shell which I have cleaned and displayed in my house. I like this site. It is usually secluded but you may meet some divers here. A lot of them are nice folks but the GROUPS of more than two have been very rude. You'll see what I mean when you go here. The entry point is perfect to set up two tanks. The last two groups of people we saw were resting with their gear sprawled everywhere. We had difficulty getting to the staging site. They just sat oblivious, in the way. The thing is, there is plenty of room here to rest without getting in anyone's way. Like I said, you will all see what I mean when you go there. We met a lot of good people but here is a conversation from the time I dove when one of the 'Groups' was there. Diver in Water: "Dan! Are you coming in yet!" Dan: " I just have to get my gear on!" (as a guy sipping Gatorade is between me and my gear which is VERY obvious that he is in my way for no reason.) Diver in Water after two minutes: "What the hell are you doing!!! Lets go!!!" Dan: " I know, this guy won't move, what do you want me to do, hip check him?" Idiot moves off and I get underwater. The morale of the story is to help all fellow divers. We give fellow divers a hand and make things easier. Most divers do. Lets make sure we all do. That's my review. I love the Rocks!

09/01/2004 Michael Stricklen (Avg: 3.42 Review) - A pretty tough climb down some rocks to reach the entry. Low tide entry and exits are no laughing matter. High tide entries can be done via a giant stride - the preferred method without a doubt. Don't make this your first dive after certification. Night diving here would be dicey due to the rock climbing involved.

08/02/2004 Jason NYC (Avg: 2.39 Review) - The pictures really don't do this site justice. First of all, it is a much more dramatic site than the pictures detail. It is a very dangerous hike down to the water over large rocks and boulders in your gear. For beauty, it can't be beat. If you are looking for an adventure then do it. If not, just come and have a look at the lovely water view. Put an emphasis on the word "Cathedral" Rock. Get it? I am just trying to be honest. Wipe out in full gear here and you might die. Plus, getting out of the water in gear is very hard. Good luck. Boy is the topside lovely though! Just my opinion.

07/21/2003 C Hepburn (Avg: 3.31 Review) - This is where you will find one of the area's deepest dive. Parking is close by and with a short walk down some rock ledges with your equipment. We've never had any issues with not being able to find a spot. I consider it an intermediate dive spot because the shore exit can be difficult. You have to remember: You're not a New England Diver until you wipe out with all your equipment on. If you dive this at high tide, it makes the experience much easier. You can drop down to about 80' and there's usually several anemones and rock fish on the way. This site used to be swarming with fish but over the years there are far fewer. This site is not to be missed if you are making the whirl-wind tour of Cape Ann diving. This remains one of my favorite spots.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: MS0501


Parking at Cathedral Rocks 

The parking here is very limited. If you can't park here, drop off your equipment and you'll find parking closer to the entrance.


 Map     Sat
GPS: MS0502


Overview at Cathedral Rocks 

This is a rocky coastline much like Hoop Pole Cove. Exercise extreme caution when crossing these rocks.


 Map     Sat
GPS: MS0503


entry at Cathedral Rocks 

Ocean swells can be a problem here. Only dive on a good day, and bring someone knowledgeable with you the first time.

Left Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: MS0504


Left Entry at Cathedral Rocks 

This is a view of other entry sites a little to the left. Note that lobster boats frequent this area, so a dive flag is mandatory!

Last Verification: November, 2003  


Diver Averages for  Cathedral Rocks  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  2.60
Bottom Conditions:  3.80
Reef Conditions:  3.30
Animal Life:  3.40
Plant Life:  3.20
Facilities:  1.00
Solitude 2.90
Roads:  3.40
*Site Average:  3.09

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  1.90
Beginner Scuba:  2.00
Intermediate Scuba:  3.20
Advanced Scuba:  3.90
Night diving Scuba:  2.50

Number of reviews for this site: 10


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