Review Date AVG ShoreDiving Site
05/07/2010 2.86 Family Beach Guam, Pacific
Since early 2010, the Port Authority of Guam security has begun stopping divers and demanding that they show a permit issued by the port general manager. This is a bit of silliness as it apparently was put in place for all the dive classes at Outhouse Beach but has been extended to every diver, who must now submit their certification and certificate of insurance for approval. Bizarrely, people say they are never challenged at Outhouse Beach because there are so many classes that security assumes you are part of one, while challenge the occasional group of shore divers at Family Beach. Hopefully saner minds will eventually triumph. If you have said permit, have evaded the authoritarian grasp of bureaucracy, or if security has gone back to not caring, this is the perfect beginner shore dive - easy entry, relaxed, stuff to look at in a reasonable depth. I typically take a heading on the buoy or ship out the right of the beach and, after dropping down, go right over the top of Dogleg Reef (1-3'). ('Dogleg Reef' is another name for this dive.) You drop down the other side of the coral to where the sand begins at 60' or so and then turn left and go around the tip of Dogleg Reef at a very leisurely pace and you should have plenty of air to follow the wall all the back to your entry point. You could easily just follow the side until you reach halfway air and turn around. Never more than 60-65' deep if you stay on the coral, at a slow pace with a surprising amount of fish. For the adventurous, Harley Reef, which has a pre-war or WWII-era Harley-Davidson motorcycle on top is supposedly very close to Dogleg Reef, though nobody has ever given me decent directions.
05/07/2010 2.63 Amtrak and Cemetery Wall Guam, Pacific
Note that 'Cemetery Wall' is the dive done from the boat that heads toward shore to see the Amtrak before turning around. I've never met anyone who has done the wall from the shore. Some call this dive 'Agat Cemetery'. Once you enter the water left of the pipeline head out past where the water breaks over the pipe and go due west. You're pretty much in a large canyon between coral almost the entire way and the only time someone generally familiar with the site will need to look at the compass is at the sand flats just before the Amtrak, though you could easily find it without a compass by bearing left and following the coral wall. This is a fine dive even if you never find the Amtrak, with a maze of canyons between coral walls, decent number of fish, and the odd anemone bed. With a bottom of about 55', if you dig, it's a nice dive to get rusty or newly certified divers comfortable in the water. The mouth of a small river is nearby so visibility can drop to 30' or less after rain and the 'Beer Gardens' of cans that drift to the bottom are the focus of cleanup divers at least twice a year. Still, every once in while you get a day of 100'+ viz and the dive becomes really special. One of the old reliables for Guam shore divers.
05/07/2010 2.82 Out House Guam, Pacific
This is not a bad dive, but totally predictable and subject to long periods of absolutely nothing going on, as compared to Family Beach up the road, which has a surprising amount of fish. I have no reason to doubt C. Gobin above that this is a great site for underwater photography once you know where all the interesting animals are located, since the animals are so used to hapless OW student divers wallowing about. However, for an experienced diver who isn't familiar with the site and wants to be able to jump in the water, swim along and look at stuff, this site is a bit of bore. Still it's wet, is diveable even in the worst conditions outside the harbor, and the port is, from rumor, less likely to stop you here than at Family Beach. It's better than nothing and divers who aren't used to tropical diving will likely find it a blast.
04/22/2010 3.19 Asan Cut Guam, Pacific
This cut is nasty on days with surf and on outgoing tides, as all the water on a large stretch of shallows pours into the cut. Divers have exhausted themselves trying to get out of this cut until they give up and wait for the rescue helicopter to show up. I've never done this dive when the water wasn't flat, and don't want to. When coming up at the cut, stay low, grab a hold of the bottom (wear gloves!) if you're going backward, and if you really can't hold on, allow yourself to get sucked back down rather than hurt yourself. Trying to snorkel your way out of Asan Cut in bad conditions is madness. Once you drop down into the cut, you'll find yourself in a murky bowl that some divers never find themselves out of. I have seen both eel and large scorpionfish here. If you stay left you'll eventually reach a notch in the bowl that lets you out into the open ocean, which normally has some of the best visibility of any shore dive on Guam. I've seen turtle, and other divers insist they regularly see both mantas and reef sharks, and one acquaintance has a legendary story that a pair of curious spinner dolphins came to investigate him. You'll have enough time to wander about a bit, with the sand flats at about 70' but plenty of neat coral and occasional fish to see along the reef wall. If you go right (north) from the entrance notch, you can find another notch at about 20-30' that will drop you back into an extension of the bowl and, if you stay to the right wall, you'll eventually find yourself back at the cut to exit. There is also an Amtrak partially embedded in the landward side of the giant bowl, but it's in pretty bad shape compared to the one at Agat Cemetery and there's really nothing else to look at, so I really can't recommend it to people who are new to the site, given how good the dive can be when you get out into the open water.