Review Date AVG ShoreDiving Site
07/02/2012 3.92 South Crescent Bay California South, USA West
First time here ever and we picked a very busy Saturday morning. We followed some nice gents from the SODC (South Orange Dive Club) who meet at the Von's Grocery store every morning at 9am on Saturdays in Laguna. Thanks guys! Free street parking was not easy to find so we had a long walk in full gear to the stairs leading down to this nice beach/cove where you can choose to go to the right or left. It seems every diver went to the right side so we did too. The right side also seemed to offer a bit more protection from the surf that wasn't too bad at about 2ft or so. Just follow the reef 'wall' out and then when it turns right so do you. Just keep the very distinct sand line on your left and you can't get lost here. Viz was pretty good at 15+, 62f at 38 ft max, no current to speak of and the ever present Laguna surge that calmed down a bit once we turned the corner to the right heading towards the big rock visible from shore where all the birds and seals hang out. Tons of life and all the regular SoCal critters, kelp etc... made the party. Even though the parking and walk to the water can be long, this is a wonderful cove with full facilities and a great spot if you have a family to bring a long.
07/02/2012 3.35 Crystal Cove State Park California Mid, USA West
I came here (reef point area) on a busy Sunday afternoon, and after seeing the stairs to the beach, I decided to just go ahead and have a nice day on the beach with my family and cancel the dive. It is not too terrible up and down the stairs, but certainly much more severe than Crescent Beach, or certainly Shaw's Cove if you have been to those spots just south of here. Only divers in very decent shape will not be hurting after the climb back up the stairs. All that said, take a look at the stairs and at the water to get a look at the very rocky entry spots so you can find a sandy channel out and avoid the surf that even on a calm day can be tough given the rocky entry. Just from our snorkel trip I would say viz was about 10ft, 64F, surf was about 2ft+. Lots of life. Full facilities on the top of the cliff, nice bike paths and a lovely historic district/area with food, shops, another beach area and cottages for 'glamping' in style. If you have kids, the tide pools here are some of the best I have ever seen in SoCal. This really is a lovely place. Do yourself a favor and come spend the day here! Enjoy!
07/02/2012 3.42 Shaws Cove California South, USA West
My buddy and I hit this spot for the first time ever on a busy Saturday. We found free street parking somewhat easily at about 5:30pm as people were starting to leave this very busy beach cove in Laguna where parking is residential and hard to come by on weekends. We saw at least 15 divers entering and exiting but never saw one underwater all weekend. If you are using a GPS and have never been here before, set your GPS to find the intersection of Cliff Drive and Fairview in Laguna, park, then find the substantial set of cement stairs that leads to this very pretty little cove. It was High tide when we entered and the water was almost to the bottom of the stairs. In we went on the right/north side and followed the reef line on the right with the sand on the left. Out and then right and back again. Easy as pie to navigate. This was our second dive of the day and viz was down from before to about 5-7ft as best. 61f at 38 fsw max. No current really with the ever present Laguna surge. All the normal SoCal critters, kelp, rocks, etc... A really nice dive with a sandy entrance. Surf was maybe 1-2 ft. Pretty calm day here. The hardest part is getting a parking spot on weekend and getting back up the stairs but compared to other sites in Laguna, the stairs here are pretty tame.
07/13/2011 3.80 Refugio State Beach California Mid, USA West
This is one of my favorite beaches to bring my family while my wife and I dive. Very safe, friendly, and always nice beach conditions for the little ones to swim or play in the sand. Great facilities, very short trip from the car to the water, and a short surface swim. Always decent viz for beach diving in California (10-15ft)and very rarely is surf, surge, current, or tides a consideration for the most part. Two areas to dive. One on the left and one on the right with sand in between the two kelp beds/low lying reef areas. Maybe 30ft max on the outer edge of the kelp beds. This is a state park so there is an entrance fee per car. It's very slow on weekdays and pretty busy on weekends but I never feel crowded even on weekends. Camping facilities are always packed but one of these days I hope to make reservations in advance and stay over. It's about a 90 minute leisurely drive from the Valley in LA and well worth the trip, especially if you can come on a week day for the solitude.
07/08/2011 3.52 LA - Marineland California Mid, USA West
I first came to this site over six years ago when goats roamed freely, remnants of the old Marineland park buildings were still around, and it was much more rugged and natural. I returned last weekend to meet a bunch of nice divers from the Dive Vets group out of Redondo beach. Well, it has changed a bit. A new resort and golf courses have now replaced the more natural landscape but the good news is the resort is lovely and friendly to divers allowing full access to bathrooms, a paved trail to the cove and a public parking area. The cove at the bottom of the path is also a lively place to bring bubble watchers. As for the trip down to the cove, it is very long with steps galore. After you get to the cove then you have some boulders to get over and at times surf can make this down right dangerous so pick a calm day a observe the conditions from above. Once in the water you can surface swim or descend and go to the edge of the kelp bed following a heading of 120 to one of two sites called 120 reef. You can also enter to the right at the point but that is a killer IMHO. Expect anywhere from 3 to 15 feet if viz in general. The kelp is lovely and nudibranchs are plentiful as well as all of the other normal SoCal critters like crabs, lobster, sun stars, sea stars and geribaldis and sometimes seals and sea lions. I always sea pods of dolphin jumping beyond the kelp beds on the surface and bat rays and sharks have also been sited regularly but not by me yet. I think it is as close as one can get to diving Catalina Island from the shore in LA. The real hard part of this dive is the trip back up to the parking lot after the dive! Enjoy but take it slow and stop and rest if you need to.
07/08/2011 3.33 Malibu - Leo Carrillo California Mid, USA West
Leo Carrillo is one of my favorite beaches in the LA area. It is beautiful, natural, has facilities, and isn't as crowded as other beaches I imagine partly due to the $12 state park fee to enter. You can also park almost on the beach, suit up and walk down a small slope to the sand and walk across the beck to the water making it one of the easiest shore dives to access in the LA area. The kelp beds are also very close to the shore. The kelp is thick and the rocky reef areas are in shallow water so this is a good place for new divers to learn Cally shore diving. Surf can be a problem here though and the viz is usually not as good as other spots. But who needs more than five feet of viz when the kelp starts in about 13fsw? We usually park close to the lifeguard tower on the north beach by the bathroom and enter there. All the usual critters and sometime larger stuff like sharks and seals. I always see pods of dolphin without fail on the surface beyond the kelp beds here. Watch your ankles on the small slope leading to the beach. A recent storm has eroded it a bit so it isn't as friendly as it was. It is also a great spot for bubble watchers, kids, and the north beach allows dogs as well. Our last dive on the 4th of July we had 69f, 20ft max, and surf from 1-3 ft breaking pretty shallow. Enjoy!
06/05/2011 2.27 Veteran's Park, Redondo Beach California Mid, USA West
Not much to see here most of the time beyond the typical sand critters unless you're out at night then all the life comes out of hiding. Easy entry and exit unless surf is up. The sand is soft so watch your footing. Decent walk up and down the stairs to the entry but it could be worse. Bring lots of change for the meters as they are patrolled heavily. Easy dive in the sand zone. Out west and in east. Viz zero to 20 ft. Depends. If you get lucky you can see sea lions and bat rays. We saw a pod of dolphins on the surface before the dive today. Gets deep fast. Usually very busy with divers on weekends. Great facilities and two dive shops close by for air fills and stuff. Recently moved to LA from NYC so good to have lots of new shore diving options!
01/15/2008 4.70 Yellow Submarine Bonaire North, ABC Islands
Park along the road and walk in! Easy entry. We spent most of our time here in the shallows with an octopus out and about in the middle of the day. If you want to head to the drop off then just swim a short distance over the sand to about 28 fsw and you will find the gently sloping wall just like most Bonaire dives. It's a nice little dive, not my favorite, but it's close to food and we had to visit the Yellow Submarine dive shop anyway because they found a friend's camera lens on the reef somewhere around Klein Bonaire. Kudos to them for finding it and saving it for her! Gotta love that small town feeling in Bonaire!!!
01/15/2008 4.50 English Garden Bonaire South, ABC Islands
This one can be a bit tricky to find without a yellow rock as a land marker. The dive itself is a bit like Pink Beach since it is the next site to the south, but the slope on the reef is way more gradual and the soft coral is far more abundant. I don't recall seeing so much soft coral at any other site on Bonaire; but, of course, after a week in Bonaire it can all start to bleed together, lol. We had a tiny bit of current and a slightly longer swim over sand to the drop off than at sites to the north. This is a great place to see Eagle Ray. We spent about 20 minutes with one. Yet another lovely dive in Bonaire. It's basically a southern extension of Pink Beach.
10/21/2007 3.18 Nubble Light Maine, USA East
Well, my buddy and I drove up here from Boston during a visit from NYC and found some pretty rough conditions (many surfers on the beach lol) so we thumbed the dive and headed to old reliable Back Beach in Cape Ann. Still, I got a great look at Nubble Light and here are some impressions for the first timers that I hope will be helpful. It really is LOVELY so bring a camera for some topside shots. This is a great place to bring non-diving adults while you dive or to visit even if you don't dive it. We got there at low tide and as previous reviews state, the tidal swing is HUGE so slippery rocks are left exposed all the way down to the water line. Still, it wasn't too horrible, just be careful and go slow. At high tide I imagine the entry is pretty easy. Also, pick your path by walking it first and avoid the people fishing at the entry point. While you will be walking down hill during low tide, it's not very steep like at Cathedral Rock in Cape Ann. Nothing as bad as that. There is free parking at Sohier Park with an excellent view of the lighthouse. The lighthouse and grounds are not open to the public. Bathroom facilities (nice) but I'm not sure if they are open year round. Tons of restaurants close by. Enjoy! I can't wait to get back for a dive. Locally it is sometimes called Cape Neddick Lighthouse and is in York, Maine. Cool facts: Station established: 1879; Present lighthouse built: 1879; Automated: 1987. Construction materials: Cast iron lined with brick. Height of tower: 41 feet; Height of focal plane: 88 feet.
09/28/2007 2.12 St. Lawrence River Ontario, Canada
Well, doing a review for the entire St. Lawrence river could be lengthy since it's diving possibilities cover literally hundreds of miles but here are a few comments and highlights. Start in Clayton, NY and do a shore dive on the Wreck of the Islander. See the review here on ShoreDiving.com as with any wreck I mention. Next, make your way up to the Prescott, ON area in Canada (about 1 hr drive north and east) and shore dive the Conestoga (locals call it the Connie) and also dive the wreck of the Rothesay just a few miles away. All three dives I mentioned are easy/shallow shore dives but still hold much interest for advanced divers as well. Current can be an issue at the Connie, and, if you do dives from a boat, the current can really rip (Cozumel Like) in places and at certain times. Shore diving the St. Lawrence river is a great weekend trip for NE US divers. Stop in one of the local dive shops in ON, Canada and you can get air fills and even more info about other shore dives close by (none as exciting but still ok) and also info on doing one of the frequent boat dives. There are more shore dives than you can do in a long weekend unless you really go all out. Enjoy!!!
09/27/2007 2.87 The Wreck of the Islander New York, USA East
This site really can't get much easier. Park next to the water by the Gazebo and down the street from the hospital in the very small city of Clayton, NY. The "downtown" area is very quaint in a touristy kinda way. It's kind of like Key West without the weird, lol. A VERY short swim brings you to the wreck in 15 feet of water. The wreck, or what is left of it, drops to about 45-50 feet. Just swim directly away from the small concrete entry ramp into the St. Lawrence river. Visibility was about 35 feet and water temps were around 72 in August. No current to speak of. A very easy and relaxing dive with a little bit of fish life and bottles as well. It was worth the two hour drive while visiting family upstate. Save time to drive another hour into Canada to shore dive the Conestoga and the Rothesay! It was slow the weekend we were there but others told us that the place is sometimes jammed with divers, so get there early I guess. We didn't have a problem though. If the small parking area fills up then just take one of the close by metered spots. No bathroom other than close by restaurants. Enjoy!!!
09/25/2007 4.37 Alice In Wonderland Bonaire South, ABC Islands
Yet another awesome dive in Bonaire with my ShoreDiving.com hat! Park as close to the water as the terrain will allow and then scout out the best entry into the water over coral rubble, rock, and other hazards that aren't too difficult to avoid. A slightly longer swim over a sandy bottom on these southern sites to the usual awesome, healthy, gently sloping drop off teaming with life! No need to go deep. Bad dive in Bonaire? No. Typical southern site. I find this area of sites to be particularly thick with coral growth once at the drop off.
09/25/2007 4.50 Andrea II Bonaire North, ABC Islands
A short walk to the water where you have to be careful entering. Nothing too hard but a few ankle breaker spots here so go slow and look for the sandy channels between the coral rock. No real reason to dive this spot as the snorkeling is truly lovely. We spent most of our time in the shallows to the north (right) side of the entry. Tons of fish life with large parrot fish in water as shallow as 1 foot! You can't see your car from the water as with most northern sites above town. Yet another great dive in Bonaire with zero need to swim more than 50 yards away from the entry. Of course the drop off is always there if you want to go deeper.
09/25/2007 3.75 Red Slave Bonaire South, ABC Islands
We aborted this dive shorty after entering due to various issues including much lower viz than usual and much stronger current than usual for Bonaire. All that said, park next to one of the slave huts and walk down the coral rubble hill to what is a really a very easy entry on a mostly sandy bottom. Just walk the entry before doing it in gear. Topside doesn't get much more lovely! Other than the stronger current, this is a pretty typical southern Bonaire site and that equals paradise! You really can't find a bad dive in Bonaire. It mostly just comes down to entry concerns.
09/25/2007 4.24 Andrea I Bonaire North, ABC Islands
Well things are changing here at Andrea one since my last visit here 1.5 years ago so I decided to write and update. Sad news really. The construction has moved south and is almost covering the entry to Andrea One and certainly not helping what was a more solitary site free of human touch. I almost drove into a construction ditch getting to this site. The Iguanas I mentioned in my last review are all gone and I am sure the recent construction of waterfront homes almost touching one another doesn't help. Annoying. Moreover, who the heck wants to live in a waterfront home in paradise where you will probably be able to hear your neighbor fart from your own kitchen??? Nonetheless, it's still a great site for a dive or snorkel and was busy at sunset with about 6 cars of water lovers on hand for a lovely sunset dive/snorkel. The solitude score is suffering on this one now! This wasn't the only site on Bonaire suffering from waterfront construction.
09/25/2007 4.57 Weber's Joy Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This northern site is still on the two way road so no worries about having to drive the long way back through Rincon. Only about 5 parking spots here next to the concrete construction that was left to the elements probably some time ago. Easy entry down some concrete stairs and over coral rubble to the water. You can't see your car from the water through the trees. The coral starts quickly after a short swim over a sandy bottom dotted with life on your way to the sloping drop off. Typical Bonaire dive where typical means ALWAYS great no matter where you dive. Very healthy!
09/03/2007 2.90 Conestoga Ontario, Canada
The Conestoga is a great old wreck and can be dived any time of the day without worrying about conditions or tides as the St. Lawrence river is pretty flat and predictable. As the previous diver mentioned, you can actually see the engine/smoke stack sticking about 8-10 feet out of the water about 25 feet or so from the shore line. The shore line is a very thin spit of land so park on the side as close to the edge and leave room for other cars if you get there early in the morning. Chances are another 15 cars will arrive shortly on a weekend. The wreck is about 200 feet long and is best found by swimming to the protrusion and descending there to the stern of the boat. Play around the back and then go up and over the deck and slowly make your way to the bow. Once at the bow, drift in the current along the bottom of the wreck in 22 feet and start all over from the stern again. From previous research I thought this wreck would be one large wreckage but I have to say that it is in much better shape than people let on. I enjoyed the dive a lot. Once you have done it a few times then you can descend upstream and find the bow in about 18 feet. But if the current is ripping as it was when I did it on 9-1-07 then be careful or you can miss it especially if the viz is down. Viz was excellent at about 35 feet easily and the temp was 71 degrees. My wife had a twisted ankle so she didn't dive but I had no problem finding a buddy among the very friendly Canadian divers. Do yourself a favor and visit this area if you are close by! It really is a very charming wreck! BTW, we didn't use a dive flag and I am glad we didn't given the current and the way the wreck is situated. It would have been an issue but do bring an SMB just in case you get blown of the wreck. That said, it really is close to shore so no worries there. When you face the wreck from shore, the bow is on the right and the current runs right to left and varies daily.
09/03/2007 2.81 The Rothesay Ontario, Canada
Park along the tree line by route 2. You will see all the cars. Busy day on 9-2-07 with 15 feet of viz, a tiny bit of current, and flat calm conditions with 71 degree water. A port-a-potty on site. Down the 10 or so metal steps (careful) and into the water on the small beach area. Snorkel over very shallow water to the floating milk jug and then descend and follow the installed line about 100 yards or so to the site of the Rothesay. The Rothesay is really a large mess of wreckage with a slightly in tacked bow and stern. Nice dive, just make your way around the jumbled wreckage and then back to the line again and to shore. Super easy but the viz tends to be slightly less at this site compared to say the Conestoga wreck. Easy entry, no surf to worry about, no current really, basic facilities and picnic tables. Enjoy!!!
03/14/2007 2.88 Caribe Blu Cozumel, Caribbean
The first review I did on this site can be found below. It was written BEFORE hurricane Wilma. I was staying at Caribe Blu hotel and dove at this site one day before Wilma hit and experienced the hurricane first hand on the island. I finally returned to the island for some diving in February of 2007 and again stayed at Caribe Blu. The hotel itself is even better than it was before the hurricane hit. They have done a nice job rebuilding. Unfortunately, the dive site was pretty much blown away by Wilma. While the site remains a great place for a checkout dive and maybe some night time exploring with a little marine life, it is nothing close to what it used to be. Now, it's just sand and some rubble piles. You will still see a variety of fish but the coral is almost entirely missing. Only a few small heads here and there. Too bad really. Basically, if you are staying at Caribe Blu then do the dive, but don't make the trip to the property JUST for the dive. It's simply not worth it for the time being. All that negative said, this is still a great property and a nice little first dive of your trip, and Cozumel is as wonderful a place as it always was. The island's charm remains and the drift diving is still fantastic! Another positive is that the entry is even easier now, if that's possible, than it used to be. Just walk in, with nothing to trip on or avoid now. Enjoy!!!
09/29/2006 3.83 The Prince Albert Honduras, Roatan, Caribbean
Located in front of Coco View Resort, this is just as easy as wreck and shore diving gets! You could spend hours on this wreck and never get bored. Basic penetration is also a blast. Make sure to try this at night! Look for all types of macro critters on this wreck like sea horses. Nice coral growth too. Rarely any current. Shallow to 60 feet. Visibility can be as low as 10 feet or crystal clear depending on the wind and weather conditions. At times I could see it from the surface and others I couldn't even see it from 20 feet away. Nonetheless, visibility isn't required to make this a great site. Simply awesome! I will dream of this shore dive for years! On one night dive around it I saw 7 octopus, 3 giant crabs, a red nudi, a seahorse, and more!
09/28/2006 4.02 Newman's Wall Honduras, Roatan, Caribbean
Good info provided by others so I'll just add that this site can be done as a shore dive from Fantasy Island or Coco View Resorts. We stayed at CCVR and dove this site almost everyday. It's awesome but I did prefer Coco View Wall a little more. Visibility was always 50-100 feet. The wall is healthy and the shallows on the top probably get less attention than they should. Coco View does this site as a boat drop off in the mornings for the second tank. You just swim along the wall keeping the wall to your left, pass the wreck, and then you are back on shore at CCVR. Very easy and relaxing dive. It takes about 40 minutes from the wall to CCVR swimming at a moderate pace with a few stops along the way to smell the coral roses. Lovely as a night dive too if you feel like swimming all the way out and back. Very rarely had current here. Dramatic wall to 100ft+.
09/28/2006 4.34 Coco View Wall Honduras, Roatan, Caribbean
My Wife and I had a lovely week at Coco View Resort and dove this site several times. The only negative is that it's a pretty good swim out and back from shore (I suspect many never really make it out to the wall itself the first time here) but it's a great trip so you won't get bored. You will have plenty of shallow reef along the way and also the wreck of the Prince Albert as well to keep you busy. This was one of my favorite sites all week. Easily as good as any we dove from the boat, if not better. Very healthy reef system here! This is also a spectacular night dive! We saw several basket stars out at night! The actual wall is very steep and dramatic. Do yourself a favor and try Coco View for some worry free diving.
07/24/2006 3.13 Loblolly Cove Massachusetts, USA East
The two reviews below are very helpful. Very scenic, large cove. Don't even bother coming here at low tide; however, if you want to see what the dive site looks like from the shore, then low tide will show you because the tide shift is that dramatic. Entry here ranges from easy at high tide to pretty hard at low tide, especially from the rocky right side. Tons of medium and small boulders for creatures to hide in and around. This is a really cool dive but parking is a major issue if you aren't a local with a residence sticker. The dive police will show up and tow you. If you have a non-diver along then do this dive so they can stay in the car or do the driving back and forth from Pebble Beach.
07/24/2006 3.43 Plum Cove Massachusetts, USA East
This lovely little beach within a small and well protected cove offers an easy shore dive for the new diver or for creature watching. Entry is made on the right side of the cove, over sand without a lot of rocks to trip you up. As others have said, very shallow, we had 12 feet out at the right point at low tide. Would have been easier to get closer to the cove wall and rocks during high tide. 65 degrees in July. Nice and warm! Navigation is easy. Just follow the rocky wall out on right and then back. Tons of lobster, skate, stripers, crabs galore. Life guard was on duty, portable toilets, parking for residence only. Park down the street, but you can drop your gear off first. A lovely little beach for the kids and non-divers to enjoy.
07/24/2006 3.04 Front Beach Massachusetts, USA East
The best thing about this dive is the facilities and parking! Full size bathrooms and metered parking right in front of the beach! Yeah! The best diving is on the left side and is much closer to the parking area too. A small rocky area on the left wall. Mostly sandy in the middle and shallow. Tons of people and families swimming in July. A slightly better option for diving is Back Beach just a few hundred yards away. Don't bother here at low tide as the rocky areas on the sides are completely exposed. After your dive, explore the quaint shops located within walking distance. Great beach for the non-divers and the family.
07/03/2006 2.27 Beach 8th Street, Queens New York, USA East
I thought I would give an update for Beach 8th Street, formerly called Almost Paradise, the name of the business that used to run a shore diving facility here. Basically that now means park at your own risk and use the potty before you arrive or go in the water. Two years ago I first dove here and it was a great little property in Queens but Almost Paradise has since closed. Construction has not begun, and doesn't look like it will begin anytime soon, on the condos slated to be built here on the beach. Someone has removed a bit of the fence so access to this little piece of beach is once again possible (and has been for some time) but who knows for how long. SO, here is the honest skinny on what is now Beach 8th Street as of today. First, you MUST dive at slack tide and carry a dive flag. Boat traffic and currents are relentless otherwise. Don't let this scare you though. Once slack arrives the place turns into a big bathtub. Very calm. Second, be prepared for visibility as low as 1 foot (yes ONE) or as good as 10 feet but probably 5 or less like we had today. Third, this is an interesting part of NYC. You are basically diving off the beach in Far Rockaway by JFK airport, in the middle of low income housing units and adult assisted living communities. It is safe, but just keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings. Most of the characters you WILL see are harmless. Slack tide also brings 30+ divers on weekends so you won't be alone. My favorite part of today was listening to a local fellow puke as we suited up, lol. Fourth, make sure you park on the Beach 8th street side and not Beach 9th street or you won't have access to the safest diving location. If you have a GPS then park by the Rockaway Manor Home for Adults (145 Beach 8th St Far Rockaway, NY 11691) and center on N40 35.728 W73 44.579. Arrive early, maybe 1+ hrs early or more, or you won't get parking due to other divers and classes. Suit up at your car after checking out the sandy beach entrance. Fifth, the dive has lots of life like snails, crabs, horse shoe crabs, bass, lobster, jellyfish, Corona bottles, fluke, mussels, kelp and god knows what else. Temps on 7/2/06 were 60f at 20 feet. Depths to 40+ but that takes you into the boat channel. This is an easy but low viz dive as long as you go at slack. Also, watch out for fishing line and people casting from the rocks. Finally, This (http://didieterdiving.com/resources/resourcesindex.html) dive shop lists current slack tides and can assist with rentals and info too, as they seem to always be there on weekends with classes. Have fun and see you there! If you dive at the end of the summer, you may even see tropicals.
06/09/2006 3.15 Atlantis Bonaire South, ABC Islands
My wife and I went by here to check out the entry and we didn't find divers but rather a ton of kite surfers flying through the air (maybe 35+ people around) and thus weren't able to dive it. Try to enter the water here and you will get killed by a kite boarder. I do suggest you come by and have a look as the kite boarding was awesome to watch. We were here on a Friday so maybe that was a kite boarding day. I don't really know. The entry and surf looked pretty easy so if it isn't busy with boarders you shouldn't have a problem. Very pretty beach/sandy area for the non-divers in your group.
05/30/2006 4.23 Something Special Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This one was hard for us to find. We were using Jessie Armacost's guide book (excellent btw) and it said that this spot was a marked site, but we never found the yellow stone for it. I don't believe it has one, but perhaps it once did. Anyway, the first time we tried to dive it we found ourselves parked in an empty lot/field off the main road about 50 yards from the water. We had to walk down a dirt road next to private homes that had signs claiming they were private property on the water's edge. We weren't sure if this was the entrance, so we didn't try it the first time. Also, boats were "parked" in the water (nobody around though) and we just weren't sure about entering here. But just down the road from Pasa Bon Pizza, the entrance is on the street along the main water front. We confirmed that we were in the right spot with the Buddy Dive staff and went back another day. Pretty much the same as all the other southern sites, as we swam over sand to drop off in 25 fsw then to a gradual slope to 100 fsw+ to the bottom. Lots of the usual suspects. There were reports of a 10+ foot hammerhead hanging out here from the Buddy Dive staff and many other divers. We never saw it but we did see some recent photos of it. Easy entry to a sandy beach with a small mound of coral rubble to slowly walk over.
05/22/2006 4.45 Karpata Bonaire North, ABC Islands
As others have said the entry here looks intimidating but really isn't that bad once you take a minute to walk it and plan your route, usually to the right of the washed out dock, put your fins on, and in ya go. Sometimes the surf can pound you here but it is usually pretty calm. The reef starts almost instantly (great for snorkeling) without the sandy bottom you find in the southern sites on Bonaire. This site was always crowded and busy with divers and locals. I liked it a lot but really didn't think it to be better than the other sites, just a bit different bottom topography (more shallows and rolling walls) that made it stand out. Lots of life and great shallow areas to explore. Parking fills fast and you will have a long drive back to town so don't think you went the wrong way or are lost!
05/22/2006 3.53 Scuba Club Cozumel Cozumel, Caribbean
This is the house dive of the famous Scuba Club Cozumel dive resort. Shore diving doesn't get much easier from here in Cozumel. The last time I was in Cozumel was during hurricane Wilma. I didn't get a chance to dive after the Hurricane passed because I was a little occupied by getting home, lol. Before Wilma this was a great third dive of the day after boat dives and especially an awesome night dive for poking around in the sand and small coral heads on the patchy reef in about 20 feet with only slight current. Excellent visibility. Great for photo taking. Even if you weren't a guest, they would allow you to dive from their dock with permission. Post Wilma reports have mentioned devastation in the shallows but some have said that lots of fish life can still be found. Scuba Club Cozumel was literally torn apart along the shore line in the back of the property but they have now rebuilt and are going as strong as ever! A convenient and charming property built exclusively with divers in mind.
05/22/2006 4.42 1000 Steps Bonaire North, ABC Islands
Other than the 72 steps down and up (not bad at all and a lovely view too) this is a VERY easy entry across hard packed coral rubble and sand, and is one of my favorite Bonaire dives. Short swim to the reef line and plenty to see in the shallows unlike some sites on Bonaire where the drop off is more like a mini wall dive. Great spot for a snorkel or a long shallow dive. Tons of the usual life and very healthy coral, too. Busy day with the locals here on this Sunday afternoon picnicking on the beach and enjoying the pleasures of Bonaire. Simply lovely view from the top of the stairs! Shore diving can't get much easier or more rewarding than this!
05/22/2006 4.62 The Lake Bonaire South, ABC Islands
Park right by the water and make your way in over small rocks and coral rubble to the sandy bottom then swim to the drop off. We visited the garden eels in the sand channel between this double reef system at 80ft then we slowly made our way up to the shallows. No current, 75ft+ viz, and plenty of life make this a great spot! This site is next to several other sites including the Hilma Hooker wreck. Very convenient location for a multiple dive day. As always, take a minute to plan your entry because even small rocks and rubble can ruin your day if they cause you to slip or fall on an urchin! Is it possible to dive in Bonaire and not see a spotted drum? I guess not!
05/22/2006 4.50 Angel City Bonaire South, ABC Islands
As other have said, this is a great location with an easy entry but as always, watch out for those small rocks when entering as they are very easy to slip and trip on. You can clearly see the double reef system separated by a small sand channel. Very nice choice for a long, shallow dive or especially for snorkelers and the reef is very healthy, as well as packed with life. Watch for the lettuce leaf sea slugs in the sand channel before the drop off. We counted more than 20 in one small area! Spotted Drum City could be another name for this site! Park next to the water's edge and in ya go! Couldn't be easier to enter unless the beach was covered in sand instead of small coral rubble and smooth rocks but you will find a sandy bottom about 25 yards from your car if you park close enough to the water. Pretty typical entry along this stretch of southern Bonaire. We accidentally left our keys and dry box in the rental truck on this dive. Oopsie! No problems, though.
05/22/2006 4.70 Pink Beach Bonaire South, ABC Islands
This beach is located across from some pink colored salt ponds and is a very pretty, sandy beach that would be great for sunning. A longer swim across a sandy bottom to get to the drop off than at other sites slightly more north of here like Angel City. Easy entry, maybe the easiest all week and with decent viz but we did have a slight current here, nothing to worry about. Saw lots of the usual with the highlight being a spotted eagle ray. Yet another easy Bonaire shore dive!
05/22/2006 3.99 Devil's Grotto Cayman Islands, Caribbean
As others have said this is the same entry as Eden Rock, just a slightly different area and bottom topography with Grottos. Shore diving doesn't get much easier than this. Full facilities with dive shop, rentals, air, lockers, bathrooms, and easy as pie to navigate. Depths to about 40 feet, great visibility almost always around 50-70 feet and cool rock formations. Tons of fish. A great place for fish watchers and newbie divers to venture out on your own for the first time after certification. Bring thick booties as urchins are everywhere on the bottom by the entrance. A small beach area and great snorkeling for your family, too. If you are visiting Cayman on a cruise boat, skip the boat diving and walk here to dive for the day. It takes about 5 minutes to get here from the cruise port area by foot. Just look for the big apple sign that says "Eden Rock." No current and usually very calm. Eden Rock doesn't charge for diving but they won't let you bring outside tanks in so expect a "small fee."
05/22/2006 4.72 Reef Scientifico Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This reef is basically located in front of Captain Don's Habitat and we dove it several times, but we entered at Buddy Dive. Head north (right) from Buddy Dive and stay in 30-40 feet of water and you will find this reef area with signs of research from the past in the form of old grids where studies took place, from what I gather. Keep going north and you will find the wreck of the Machaca as well. It's a leisurely 12 minute swim along the drop off to or from Capt.. Don's/Buddy Reef. This is a great night dive with healthy coral and facilities for a change as this entire stretch of reef has resorts dotting the shoreline.
05/22/2006 4.57 Ol' Blue Bonaire North, ABC Islands
Yet another lovely Bonaire shore dive. Entry not too bad down a sandy/coral rubble beach to the water where the swim to the drop off is short. Busy this day with 5+ cars and divers sitting under the trees along the beach. Spotted Drum and more of the usuals! Very healthy reef! Entry was best on the far right or left of the beach where it wasn't as rocky. Writing reviews for 20 Bonaire shore dives makes me feel like I am repeating myself. Poly want a great shore dive? ANY shore dive on Bonaire is what Poly wants, LOL!.
05/22/2006 4.40 Buddy's Reef Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This was our house reef during our week long stay. We dove here about 6 times in one week, mostly all at night. Entry down steps, follow rope to drop off in about 25fsw, head north, saw lots of the usual and one small hawksbill, visibility about 75ft. Nice night dive! Current? What current! Look out for Charlie the very large 3+ft tarpon that isn't shy and likes to hunt by dive light. The Buddy facilities made shore diving here and at other sites a real pleasure. Have dinner at the Lion's Den after a night dive here!
05/22/2006 4.62 Windsock Bonaire North, ABC Islands
Located across the street from the windsock at the Bonaire airport, this easy beach entry (only very small rocks and coral rubble) is a great choice for a slow and relaxing dive. We saw all the usual suspects and concentrated our dive in one small area just observing macro life. No current, 75ft viz, short swim to the reef line over a sandy bottom that mostly ends at the drop off, and welcome to yet another great shore dive on Bonaire! You have to park your car along the busy main road so be careful suiting up. Maybe a 25 yard walk to the water. Nice and easy! This site may be listed as a northern site but I also considered it a southern site due to its typically "southern Bonaire" feel. It really is much like other places along the southern shore line like Angel City, Invisibles, and The Lake both above and below the water.
05/22/2006 4.57 Oil Slick Leap Bonaire North, ABC Islands
This was the only dive we did twice (other than the Buddy Reef) during our week long visit. You can park your car basically right by the new ladder that can be used to enter or exit down the 4-6 foot cliff. It's really better to leap off the rocks and use the ladder only for exiting. A little tricky putting fins on on the cliff edge but it really is a short leap into 15 feet of water. Lots of fun! Lots of life, very healthy, great shallow areas, slight current that won't effect you, easy to find, and an all around great site. This site has a very remote feel to it. Spend some time in the shallows along the cliff wall underwater. Very nice view of the surf pounding the cliff wall while you dive and the giant parrot fish will also keep you company. Three spotted drum! It seems spotted drums in Bonaire are like grunts in Key Largo. Well, not that many but we did see over 20 in one week!
05/22/2006 4.40 La Machaca Bonaire North, ABC Islands
We stayed at Buddy Dive but a 5-10 minute swim along to the drop off towards the north (right from Buddy) will bring you through Reef Scientifico and then to this upturned wreck in 30-40 feet of water. Nice large grouper under it and Charlie the very large Tarpon may visit you to hunt by dive light. This is a fantastic night dive! Very slight current, 50-75ft viz, and plenty of life along the way and around the wreck.
05/22/2006 3.98 Town Pier Bonaire North, ABC Islands
Make sure you do this dive, 5 spotted drum, 2 sea horses, 6 free swimming eel, decorator crabs, a maze of pier pilings, tires of all sizes, macro life galore, trash and rubble piles filled with life, coral and sponge in every color and all over the place and on the pier pilings. My Wife said it was like being in a bad hood in Queens with the best and most colorful graffiti you have ever seen! I think we have been living in NYC too long. This dive reminded me of Fat Albert's neighborhood or one of those paintings JJ used to paint on Good Times. Colorful, cartoonish, and fancy in a run down way. 4 divers per dive guide, $25 per diver fee, worth every penny and then some! This dive must be arranged through a local guide, the harbor master, and/or your dive shop. Very easy entry down a few steps and onto a sandy beach to the left of the pier.
05/22/2006 4.71 Bari Reef Bonaire North, ABC Islands
Yet another lovely dive in Bonaire! They were all great! A short swim over sandy bottom brings you to the drop off in about 25fsw with plenty of life and healthy coral. All the usual suspects and Octopus at night. I had fun with protective Damsel fish and Blenny in the shallows. I noticed lots of large rubble in this area.
05/22/2006 4.08 Bachelor's Beach Bonaire South, ABC Islands
This is a lovely sandy beach at the base of a 10 foot cliff with stairs leading down to it. You can park right next to the stairs and be in the water in seconds. It can't get much easier to enter, just watch your step on the last rock/step! A bit of surf when we were here but not too bad and great visibility without current. A short trip across a sandy bottom to the drop off in about 25 ft brings you to a lovely and healthy reef system filled with life. Saw lots of the usual including 3 adult spotted drums. Not much else to say, just get in the water and enjoy a very easy and relaxing dive! I just hope the construction going on around this beach doesn't block shore access any time soon. Construction is inching southward on Bonaire.
05/21/2006 4.33 Andrea I Bonaire North, ABC Islands
Just returned from a week in Bonaire. This site can be found after driving through a new neighborhood and past some home construction and down a small hill to the beach. Yellow marker rocks will guide you from the main road. Total beach access was deliberately blocked by large rocks so a 50 yard walk from the truck to the only sand channel will bring you to the entrance by the middle palapa. A small ledge, rocks, and some coral heads to navigate around to the drop off located in about 25 fsw but no big deal if you walk the entry before you put your gear on. All of the usuals were spotted along with large schools of chub and don't forget to look for the giant parrot fish feeding in the shallows. This is a great place to feed iguana. Bring some fruit and about 50 lizards will come running out of the bushes to greet you. They aren't shy!
10/01/2005 2.32 Blue Grotto Florida, USA East
Joined some friends for a couple of dives in the cool (71 degrees) clear (viz 100+ ft) waters of Blue Grotto. Nice facilities with rentals. Lots of parking, picnic tables, and space to spread out even on a VERY busy Saturday at the end of the summer. The dive itself begins in a fresh water basin that opens up into a very large cavern with depths into the darkness around 100 feet. A lovely dive if the crowds and classes aren't around. Enjoy the Dive Bell located at the top of the cavern mouth at 33ft where you can take out your regulator and take off your mask to talk to your buddy. A really unique experience. I would say that this place is good for two dives and then it's time to go across the street to Devil's Den. 28 bucks to enter. Stay off the silty bottom and arrive early on weekends as the many classes will conspire to make the gin clear viz more milky. Enjoy!
07/08/2005 3.27 King's Beach Fishing Area Rhode Island, USA East
A very secluded entry with no facilities and dirt roads. Plenty of room to park in the "dirt lot." Simply lovely little beach great for the family as well. Frequently used for classes but dead on week days. Suit up at your car and walk down to the water (maybe 50 yards or less) and in ya go! Very easy entry, even at low tide. Swim straight out into 25 fsw past the eel grass. Kelp, flounder, skate, fish, crabs and the usual. 62 degrees at 26 fsw in July. Really lovely secluded place! Fairly protected as well. Viz was about 10+ feet (not bad in 20 feet of water) when I did it bit it ranges between 0-20 on a great day. No current or surf, a tiny bit of surge when I was there. Very easy dive. After your done here go check out Forth Wetherill or Beavertail only 10-15 minutes away by car.
07/08/2005 3.11 Fort Wetherill Rhode Island, USA East
Fort Wetherill actually has two coves that are close together and both diveable. The right and left cove. The right cove is an easy entry down the boat ramp, busy on weekends so watch the boat traffic. Once in the water follow the wall out and back. Viz ranges from 0-15 feet and is easily silted on both sides. Animal life is abundant on both coves but better on the left cove, a short walk down to the beach through a small but easily walked goat path. This is a really pretty place and great for the non-divers and kids as well. Lots of free parking and porta-johns, too. Short walk from parking to the water. Lots of lobster, flounder, crabs and the usual NE critters. This dive isn't heaven, but it does the trick. 62 degrees at 25 fsw in July. Good for macro unless a frequent class is in session.
07/08/2005 3.07 Beavertail State Park Rhode Island, USA East
This is one of the prettiest shore dives in Rhode Island from above and below the water. Plant and animal life are abundant. The entry can be found in Beavertail State park at parking lot #2. Park in the middle. Another entry point is also located at another parking lot. The entry isn't an easy one. While not impossible, if you don't feel comfy trekking down steep rocks and sliding on your rear in full gear then don't do it. Not to mention, this site can only be attempted when all is calm. Once down the "cliff" the beach entry is very easy. This park is located at the end of a point and isn't protected very well from wind. Best diving is straight out through the rocks 50 yards into about 20-30 fsw. Viz varies from 0-30 feet depending on winds. If you go and decide not to do it, all is not lost. Enjoy the park, lighthouse, bathroom facilities (porta-johns) and the scenic view from the top of the rocks over looking a lovely beach that surrounds the point on three sides. A perfect picnic location!
04/27/2005 3.94 Caribe Blu Cozumel, Caribbean
My wife and I just returned from a week in Cozumel at Caribe Blu Hotel and had the chance to dive this site 4 times. It's shallow (max 19 feet) and filled with life hidden among small coral heads. A 50 yard or more swim to the left from the hotel. If you head straight out you hit sand. Go to the buoy line and turn left into the normal current (not too strong) and swim until you get tired or hit the end of the reef and then drift back to the hotel. The current is light to moderate but not as strong as the current one finds on most Cozumel reefs deeper out towards the wall, so no problems. This dive comes alive at night! Octopus, squid, eels galore, many fish and small coral heads. Get a tank and or gear from the Blu Angel dive shop, actually the current name of the dive site, too, as the hotel name has changed recently. If you go by cab you may have to tell the driver you are going to La Lorena Hotel, now called Caribe Blu Hotel. Not as good as the house reef in Grand Cayman but just right for a relaxed night dive with a camera!!! Enjoy, we did.
04/11/2005 3.33 John Pennekamp Florida, USA East
This is more of a snorkel review than a dive review because we were told that scuba from the shore isn't permitted in the park. Snorkeling sure is and is one of it's main attractions. The park is lovely. A nice beach and nice wildlife and plants can be found on a stroll through the boardwalk areas. A bird watchers heaven. Very shallow and crowded at times. Small entry fee per car. Full service scuba shop (they do run boat trips to the local reefs) and great facilities. Worth a day trip if you are in Key Largo diving.
04/11/2005 2.38 Willow Springs Park Pennsylvania, USA East
While Willow Springs doesn't boast the same reliable 30-50 ft visibility that some other local quarries have, it does feature really nice facilities and a full scuba shop. Plus, if you have non-divers in your group they can enjoy the brisk swimming area. Entry into the water is very easy and depths average 30-40 ft. The water is cold, I had 49 degrees at 39 feet in the summer. The visibility was maybe 5 ft but all the attractions were linked together with rope so navigation is easy as long as you have basic compass skills and the map to the various sunken cars and trucks. Viz was so bad at one point that we were on the deck of a boat and didn't realize what it was until we poked around. A great place for low viz practice and to get wet when waiting for a Coz fix. Watch the bottom. It's silty and thick. Great facilities with a full service shop with rentals and sales. Have fun!
04/11/2005 2.76 Rainbow River Florida, USA East
This ranks as one of my favorite dives. Topside is typical "wild" Florida. Very peaceful and lovely. I don't believe this one can be done as a shore dive but you can snorkel here from shore after paying a small park entrance fee. This drift dive is done after a short ride in a boat up current. Visibility is forever (fresh cool 72 degree spring water) and depths are very shallow, ranging 5-20ft. The current is Cozumel like with a break at the end of the dive in a small spring area. Not much fish but a few friendly ones. The attraction here is the unique Florida spring water and underwater topography. A really lovely dive in central Florida! About a 2 hour drive from Tampa.
03/27/2005 2.90 Crystal River Florida, USA East
I honestly don't know where one might "shore" dive this river but I am sure it is done. My wife and I have snorkeled here from a small boat and did pass lots of private homes along the way so one surely could jump off a back yard and snorkel it very easily if you have access to the shore. Much of Crystal River is very shallow and would be a pain to scuba anyway, and I believe in some locations SCUBA isn't allowed. That's what we were told by the dive op anyway. We snorkeled with the gentle and friendly manatees in a shallow area and then did a dive in Kings Bay Cavern, a small cavern with an opening in about 15 feet of water located in a boat traffic lane a long surface swim from any decent "shore" I recall seeing around. Like the Florida Springs, temp was about 72 and viz in Crystal river runs from 10 feet to 100 feet depending on your location and amount of plant life etc in the water. I highly suggest time spent with these loving creatures. Just some thoughts on Crystal River that may help even though we didn't shore dive it… Ned DeLoach's comprehensive DIVING GUIDE TO UNDERWATER FLOIDA has a really detailed 3 page section devoted to Crystal River and its many springs. I highly suggest this book for any diver in Florida! Ned only says, "A boat is needed to dive in the bay and canals." Perhaps a future reviewer or local diver will add more info as to shore diving this wonderful river.
03/18/2005 2.96 Round Valley Reservoir New Jersey, USA East
The info above just about covers it so I'll just add a few thoughts. To be honest, if you are desperate to dive or are looking for a cheap place to dive while family members enjoy the park then this is the place. It's certainly not as exciting as Dutch Springs below the water (another local dive spot) but the park is REALLY lovely and it's closer to NYC and it's cheaper than Dutch Springs. Plus, you can bike, hike, and fish if ya like. Great trails! About $7 per car I believe to get into the park. It's a great place to get used to chilly to cold water diving or to use new gear or check out gear before a long trip. Water temps vary drastically with the season and depth. Make sure to check in with the Ranger before you dive to get a permit and a map. C-card and buddy required and so is a dive flag. Watch the silt on the bottom. An underwater platform is located in the dive area for practice. No diving during some months in the winter and the park does have hours that change so be sure to contact the park before you go to be sure they will be open and that diving is allowed. Getting in and out couldn't be easier. Suit up at your car and walk to the water and in ya go. Visibility is surprisingly good.
02/09/2005 3.59 LA - Marineland California Mid, USA West
When I visited this site the first time I couldn't believe that such lovely places existed in America! It really is a picture perfect spot. As mentioned in other reviews, access is only permitted from 9-4pm and security guards on site may ask what you are doing. Just say you are there for "coastal access." It looks like construction is about to start up again after many years so dive it now before beach access is halted. I actually saw a group of free roaming sheep and goats both times I was here. Insane! A somewhat long hike in gear to the rocky/pebble cove beach area brings you to the water along a sloping sand path. It is best to bring a friend who has done this before because surf can be high and hard. Picking the right place to enter is key here. Too much surf caused me to abort my dive attempt on the first trip here. Watch out for very sharp pieces of an old pier sticking out of the water at the cove entry. They can only be seen during low tide. Free parking and security but no bathrooms or any other facilities. Dolphins, Sea Lions and more here! I really felt like I was diving from some remote beach in another country, but I live in NYC so...
02/04/2005 2.47 Hudson Grotto Florida, USA East
My wife and I went to Tampa, Florida for a wedding and wanted to practice using our new DUI TLS350's. We figured the springs would be a good place to do this but we didn't want to drive 3 hours just to practice and the Gulf of Mexico was not cooperating. Thus, our hunt for a convenient dive began! Enter Ned DeLoach's DIVING GUIDE TO UNDERWATER FLORIDA. I love this book. Ned says, "This is a typical gulf coast sink that resembles a pond. It slopes gently to 15 feet where the sink walls plunge almost vertically to 110 feet. Below 80 feet there is a salt water level with a slight intrusion of hydrogen sulfide." I say, "This dive scared the hell out of me." Seriously though, not a good place to practice anything unless you are with an instructor or you are very comfortable diving in very low light conditions. I couldn't even see the first training platform (located at a depth of 20 ft.) from the surface! Eventually we did find it and could see the dock above us thanks to the noon sun shining down through the water. The visibility was about 20 feet but it was pitch black due to the tannic water. Our lights did nothing for us. The temp. was 68. We never went deeper than 22 feet. Hudson Grotto has so much potential though. The owners of Scuba West, located across the street from the gated grotto, were pleasant. They own and operate Hudson Grotto. The facility has picnic tables, a nice floating dock, underwater training platforms, covered classroom areas with blackboards and tables, parking, and nice signs explaining how the grotto came to be and how best to dive it. The total cost for this dive was just under $50 bucks including admission for two, 2 tanks and 2 sets of weights. We chose to do one dive only due to time constraints but I'm sure the friendly folks at Scuba West would have allowed us to spend the entire day there if we wanted.
02/04/2005 2.82 Weeki Wachee Springs Florida, USA East
Even though my wife and I grew up in near-by Tampa, this was my first visit to the location of the world famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids. I remember as a kid I would drool at the tiny theme park as we drove by it on US 19 on our way to what my Mom called "a real park," OUR destination was Orlando. I must have known at an early age that I would one day be a diver because I always wanted to visit. Weeki Wachee can best be described as a fresh water spring with a theme park built around it. To quote another diver I overheard suiting up next to me, "It's too bad they had to build a damn Disney here." I personally found the park to be charming in a 1950's kind of way and the underground theatre was just too cool for words. But then again I'm an actor who dives, so I was in heaven. In between dives you can watch the mermaid show that takes place right there in the spring. During the show a real turtle kept trying to steal focus by swimming in front of the Mermaids as they performed. Very funny. (Never act with children or animals). If you do have small children or non-divers they can enjoy the shows, take a river boat trip or chill out at the water park, Buccaneer Bay, located within Weeki Wachee. Their admission is not included with your dive admission, though. As you explore the dive site you will see several air hoses for the mermaids, a castle, costumes used during the show, and an underwater "green room" sort of like a dive bell where the mermaids hang out while not "on stage." The water is a constant 72 degrees, about 50 ft deep, very clear, but lacks abundant life as most fresh water (Florida) locations do. You might see small fish and a few turtles. If you are really lucky a manatee may visit but don't count on it. The facilities are clean and comfortable and the entrance into the water is simply a matter of easing your way down a (rather slick) ramp. To dive Weeki Wachee (currently) you have to be with a class or have a guide from one of the local shops. If you can find a local shop doing a class, you don't have to be in the class, you just have to be in the water when they are. We dove with Sunny Seas Scuba in New Port Richey, whom we highly suggest. Cost for two with tanks/weights and admission to the park was about $100 bucks total. This charge is handled by the local dive shop. You can do two dives easily and maybe more if the shop stays longer. After your dives, hang out at the water park or explore the grounds for no additional charge. Once again, visit Ned's book for more info on Weeki Wachee and other shops around the area.
02/02/2005 4.60 LA - Casino Point California Mid, USA West
There are plenty of boats that go out of Catalina, but we chose to dive in this protected and roped off marine park which couldn't have been much easier. Just suit up and head down the steps into the water. Catalina Divers Supply has an air fill van right at the Casino that is open most days during the in-season and only weekends during the off season. They also have some gear rental and snacks for purchase. We had all our own gear except for tanks and weights, so we never needed more than the van had to offer. Their web page has specifics on hours of operation and prices, which you should be sure to check, as it is and island and island time applies here, too. There are bathrooms on site, however, there are no showers and no rinsing facilities (unless you are rinsing their rental gear). I highly suggest buying a map of the dive park from Franko's Maps either before you go, or from CDS at the Casino. We found it very helpful and useful for dive planning. We had surprisingly good visibility given surge and surf that met us at the bottom of the steps. This was our first dive in Southern California and we were instantly awed by the amount and variety of life and the abundance of kelp (this sentence works best when spoken with a Cousteau accent ;-). Interestingly enough, our main objective on this dive was to find the Jacques Cousteau commemorative plaque in 35 feet of water. Highlights on this dive included: a very large bat ray and our first look at Garibaldi's and of course, kelp, which can best be described as ethereal and surreal (again, with the Cousteau accent). What can we say? Kelp, kelp, kelp, Garibaldi, kelp, Garibaldi, kelp bass, kelp, Garibaldi and a whole herd of blue banded goby. Starfish, kelp bass, opal eye, half moon, lingcod, sheephead, Garibaldi and sargo were present on almost every dive. Kelp forest diving must be experienced to appreciate it, but it felt to us as if the Northeast and the Caribbean conspired to create this truly unique environment. 61 degrees in January at depth, 67ft, 35 ft vis, light current. It was a good day to be diving dry as the surface interval proved to be breezy and chilly.
02/02/2005 2.89 Malibu - Redondo California Mid, USA West
I assume this is Redondo Beach, also known as Vet's Park, in Palos Verdes. So, very easy entry from a sandy beach with generally small surf (1-2 ft for our dive). Vis was down after weeks of rain and dredging at the beach. About 10 ft of vis, lots or particulate matter, and almost no current. I saw a few squid egg casings, crabs, flounder. This dive is pretty easy but most of the life is where the submarine canyon starts in 90 feet of water. Conditions are usually good but low vis and depths can make it advanced. Temp was 59 degrees at 80 feet. Very sandy bottom so stay off or you will silt out the vis. They say this dive comes alive at night. Facilities included bathrooms, metered parking lot, rinse showers, a pier with stores and food, and a lifeguard station. Can get busy so arrive early. A lovely beach for the non divers.
11/08/2004 4.18 Eden Rock Cayman Islands, Caribbean
Shore diving doesn't get much easier than this. Full facilities with dive shop, rentals, air, lockers, bathrooms, and easy as pie to navigate. Depths to about 40 feet, great visibility almost always around 50-70 feet and cool rock formations. Tons of fish and more. A great place for fish watchers and newbie divers to venture out on your own for the first time after certification. Bring thick booties as urchins are everywhere on the bottom by the entrance. A small beach area and great snorkeling for your family too. If you are visiting Cayman on a cruise boat, skip the boat diving and walk here to dive for the day. It takes about 5 minutes to get here from the cruise port area by foot. Just look for the big apple sign that says "Eden Rock." No current and usually very calm. Eden Rock doesn't charge for diving but they won't let you bring outside tanks in so expect a "small fee."
11/08/2004 2.81 Dutch Springs Pennsylvania, USA East
My wife and I have logged about 25 dives here in the last two years. It's a great place to learn and practice with new gear or skills. Located about 2 hours from NYC in Bethlehem, this privately owned quarry charges (I believe) $22 for a day of diving. The topside facilities are great with ample restrooms, air fills, basic food, picnic areas, and parking. The water facilities include many training platforms located around the waters edge, sunken cars, planes, trucks, helicopter, bus, crane, and more. Fish life is limited in this fresh water quarry but you may see small to medium size bass and more. No current or surf to worry about ever in this controlled environment. Visibility ranges between 20-50 feet depending on number of classes but you can always get away from the crowds because this place is pretty big. The water temps are very chilly ranging from 40-70 degrees depending on depth and time of year. You can almost always count on temps below 55 degrees once you hit 40 feet for most of the year. In the summer, temps peak in the 70's from the surface down to about 25 feet. Weekends are busy and weekdays are dead. A great place to meet other divers! Hours change as winter approaches so contact the park for more info. WWW.Dutchsprings.com.
11/05/2004 2.26 Beach 8th Street, Queens New York, USA East
This review is being written based on what Almost Paradise NOW looks like after a developer purchased the property. At one time, this spot was a great place to do a nice one hour dive with nice facilities and a secure parking lot in an area of NYC that can be described as tough if you didn't grow up here. The visibility rarely exceeds 10-15 ft., the temp rarely goes above 70 at the surface, and the current will take you out to sea if you don't dive it at slack. The boat traffic is very busy. Marine life is plentiful for a low viz dive. Lobster, crab, tons of horseshoe crab, starfish and a few other fish. While I did see some trash, the water was surprisingly clean for a NYC shore dive. No needles or beer bottles, but that may change now that divers aren't protecting the water. In the late summer some folks saw tropicals. A small fee was gladly paid for the facilities that used to exist. Rumors exist that the developer is going to build a compressor on the new property (housing) and open again in the future but this has not yet been confirmed as of 11/3/04. Now, you have to crawl through a fence (read 'maybe illegal') to dive here and the parking options are scary at best. The beach isn't bad so bring a non diver with you to watch your car and stuff. The non diver shouldn't need someone to watch him or her. It's not that bad. I almost wrote this review under the "Beach 8th Street" name because another name for Almost Paradise was Beach 9th Street. Yep, just one street away in Queens, NY. Just a short drive from JFK airport if you aren't familiar with the area. The big difference was the small fee for the secure facilities and parking offered. Worth it! Too bad we lost this one. Some still dive it, but I haven't been back since it was "Almost" Paradise, if ya know what I mean.
10/29/2004 2.76 Ginnie Springs Florida, USA East
If you find yourself in the northern Florida area, do yourself a big favor and dive at Ginnie Springs. If you have ever consumed Dannon Spring Water then you have already come close to diving Ginnie because that is where the Dannon water comes from. Just for the record, I did pee in the water.
Ginnie Springs is a park with an entry fee of about $20 for divers. They have a full dive shop with gear and do tons of instruction from basic to cave level. If you have non diving family members, they will love this place. My wife and I like to dive as family members snorkel above in water so clear that after an hour long dive you feel like you could take the reg out of your mouth! Visibility is literally unlimited. Crystal clear like air and a constant, crisp 72 degrees year round!! I love it! A must do is the ballroom area. It's a very large cavern down to about 55 feet where fresh spring water rushes out through bars that prevent you from continuing deeper into the caves. At other spring entry sites in the park, full cave diving is at its best but rules prohibit those untrained in cave diving from venturing into the caves. It's fun to watch the cave divers vanish into the openings. Dive, snorkel, hike, bike, tube, kayak, and camp. You will love it. Great for all levels of diving. Easy entry and exit with no current, surf, or surge to worry about here. A great place to get comfortable as a diver. The rock formations are a wonder! Don't forget to drift dive the Sante Fe River if conditions are right.
10/29/2004 4.31 Smith's Cove Cayman Islands, Caribbean
Grand Cayman has so many awesome dives that I suspect this site gets over looked. Park across the street in the free lot and walk to the beach and in ya go. Swim over the sand about 100 yards to the reef line and drop down 20-40 feet. Mild current, no surf. 75 ft visibility. Large mounds of coral with tons of life. TONS! A great place to bring non-diving family members as this location actually has a lovely sandy beach nestled between iron shore, hence the name Smith's COVE. Snorkeling is at its best here! The kids will enjoy clear water with plenty of coral and fish. No other divers and just a few snorkelers. The beach is located about one mile past Sea View Reef and Sunset House heading out of Georgetown on the right side.
10/29/2004 4.54 Sea View Hotel Cayman Islands, Caribbean
My wife and I stayed at the Sea View hotel for a week in May of 2004 and had a blast. We did about 6 dives on the Sea View Reef and loved everyone. Giant stride off the iron shore into the water and up the ladder when you exit. Nice and easy. Never had surge or surf. Only mild current on one dive. Just drop down in 6 feet of water after you enter and make your way out all the way to the wall if you want to scuba that far. We never went out past 50 feet of depth down the gently sloping coral. Great visibility at 50-100ft. 84 degrees in may. The coral is pretty healthy but the animal life is super! Turtles galore and just about anything in the reef fish/creatures ID book will be found here in about five dives. Don't miss a night dive here. The tourist submarine goes out every night here and you can hear it clearly during the dive. A small but professional dive shop (Treasure Island Divers) will rent anything you might want right by the water. The restaurant at the hotel will not disappoint before or after a dive. The diving is awesome and the facilities are, too. Do Eden Rock, Sea View Reef, Sunset Reef, and then Smith's Cove all in one day. Each shore dive is located in order about a quarter of a mile apart heading out of Georgetown on the right. Heck, I could dive all four or just one all week and never go anywhere else in GC!
10/29/2004 2.14 Devil's Den Florida, USA East
Imagine walking in a field in Florida 100 years ago and falling into a hole about 25 feet wide and then plunging downward about 50-75 feet to land in a 72 degree, fresh water pool. The only light comes from the opening above you and the cool water appears to be an underwater maze of large boulders. Well, that's how I picture Devil's Den over 100 years ago.
Since then, a nice diving park has been built around the "hole" and lights have been installed in the underground pool as well as a set of wooden stairs that vanish into the earth and lead you to the water's edge. Pretty darn cool if you ask me. Add some large catfish and you have a Devil's Den. I read that the name comes from the fog that would gather at the top of the hole making the sink look like a "Devil's Den" to the locals. Fun place to dive. If you visit northern Florida, dive here and then drive down the road and spend some time at Ginnie Springs as well. Nice topside facilities too!
10/29/2004 3.71 Lauderdale by the Sea Florida, USA East
Lauderdale by The Sea is a lovely little town just outside of Ft. Lauderdale that boasts a very easy shore dive that can be truly heaven (for a Florida shore dive) if conditions are right. It's like Ft. Lauderdale but much slower and less crowded. We stayed in a waterfront hotel so suiting up was a matter of walking out of our room and into the water for a 50-100 yard swim out to the first reef line of three. Each reef line is another 100 yards and gets deeper as you go. We always dove the first reef line at a max depth of about 20 feet. We saw a few boats at the outer reef line. The first reef line, located at the fishing pier, is not spectacular as far as health is concerned but it does showcase all of the usuals like Angels, Grunts, Grouper, Turtles, and more. We had a blast poking around with dive times well over one hour! Winds=N, Viz=20ft, Water Temp=87 during the month of September. Small surf. Mild S. current. This would make a lovely weekend trip as hotels can be found from around $50-$60 in the off season. If you drive, a small parking lot is located by the pier. Bring a ton of quarters for the heavily monitored meters. Restrooms and beach showers are by the lot. Flag required. Boat traffic is moderate beyond the pier. Surf and current vary with wind speed and direction. Deep Blue Diver's rent gear, if needed, two blocks away from the pier. Don't underestimate this dive. It's a fish watchers fantasy and the price is right. Free!
08/05/2004 3.51 Back Beach Massachusetts, USA East
Besides Folly Cove, this was my favorite site after a weekend visit in Cape Ann for many reasons. No swimmers and very few divers combined with metered parking right across the street from a very easy beach entry, oh, and don't forget public restrooms, made this a real joy to do. We did this dive on a cloud covered Sunday morning so that may have been the reason for the lack of people. Usually it is packed. The parking is right by private homes so keep the noise to a minimum or someone will complain or call the police, understandably. The dive itself is a matter of swimming out a short 50 yards and dropping down to a very healthy boulder and plant field with lots of life like lobster, crab, starfish, stripers, and more. No current and 55 degrees at a max depth of 25ft on August 1st. Visibility was about 15-20 feet on a very calm day. Amazingly good viz so close to shore. This is a newbie's dream dive but will also make the experienced diver very happy with easy conditions all around. A real pleasure to dive with no hassle after a long weekend of climbing up, down, and over hills and boulders to shore dive in lovely Cape Ann. Did I mention bathrooms for you dry suit divers? Don't underestimate this very easy shore dive. Easy doesn't mean boring in this case. In my opinion the underwater view was better than Old Garden Beach but not nearly as good as Folly Cove.
08/05/2004 2.95 Old Garden Beach Massachusetts, USA East
This public beach in Cape Ann is crowded on Saturdays with divers and swimmers of all ages but everyone seems to get along and have fun. No bathrooms and a small parking lot that is only for residents make this a tough place to park but once you get your stuff there the ease of shore entry (walk in the water from a sandy beach) and atmosphere make it an enjoyable place to dive. If you do park in the lot, you will be ticketed and then towed. One poor guy was left with nothing but his dive gear as he watched (from the water) his car get towed! The dive itself is a matter of snorkeling out about 100+ yards and dropping down to 20-40 feet where you will find kelp and plant covered boulders with lobster hiding EVERYWHERE! Crabs, stripers, starfish and more. Max depth for us was 39ft and I had 52 degrees on August 1st at depth. Chilly but only slight current and no surf on a very calm and sunny day. Gear up on the "monument" area by the lot once you unload your stuff. Restrictions are many at this spot so notice the sign that says you can't do anything like park, yell, and sit in the grass. Police seem most concerned about protecting local resident's privacy (understandably) but they can get a bit annoying when you consider that we put money into the community. However, the community seems to have plenty of money so divers are only tolerated in small doses. Just a rant. All in all, a very easy dive but not as good as our other dives on this trip. Folly Cove has this one beat by a mile!
08/02/2004 2.39 Cathedral Rocks Massachusetts, USA East
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.
08/02/2004 3.52 Folly Cove Massachusetts, USA East
This was my favorite Cape Ann dive site during our visit. As many mentioned, small parking lot is only for residents so park a few blocks away or they will ticket or tow you! Only dive at high tide or you will have a very tough entry over extremely slippery boulders and rocks for at least 50-100 yards. Very dangerous and almost impossible in full gear. Visibility was over 20ft., with great plant and animal life including torpedo rays, dog fish, flounder, lobster, crab, anemone, starfish, urchin, stripers, skates, and more! Navigation is as easy as following the right or left wall out and then back again. Topside is very pretty! Crowds are low. Mostly divers. The day I was there the sea was like glass! Watch for the dogs that chase tennis balls down the rocks from the private homes. They love to come down and check divers out as they go under.
05/04/2003 3.53 Epcot Dive Quest Florida, USA East
This dive isn't cheap at around $145 per person, but IT IS worth it. Epcot does a nice job making you feel like a VIP and the experience is great from start to finish. From playing with guests eating in a restaurant to watching the sharks, rays, and turtles, this dive is cool. If you are into coral and plant life, forget it. It's all fake. This dive is more about being a part of the Disney family in a most unique way. Leave all equipment at home except your mask. They even supply shampoo and towels. They supply a shorty and split fins. Mostly Scuba Pro stuff, if I recall correctly. The water is 76 and the viz is 200+. Bottom time is exactly 40 minutes with a max depth of 25ft. You will love this experience. Discount with PADI membership. You pay for parking. Non diving visitors have to pay park entrance fees to watch. That stinks. You can stay for free after the dive, but not much time left since the dive program happens later in the day. Free t-shirt. Video of dive is $35. My wife and I didn't regret the money spent. A woman actually asked me why we didn't have the manatees in the exhibit today. She thought the divers worked for Disney/Epcot because they walk the group through the "ride" in shorties to get to the water. Very funny. I told her they were at a party. She gave me a strange look. I was so excited about the dive, I just felt like being silly.