Eightreale's Dive Log
Beach 8th Street, Queens on 1/27/2009
Jan 27, 2009, 12:00 AM
I have been diving on beach 8th street since 1980 long before almost paradise came along and ruined it! For years the same smiling faces showed up on a regular if not daily basis to dive. We had no worries about our cars, our kids knew each other and we all looked out for each other. One of the dive shops would organize beach cleanups where we would remove all the trash we could find from the water and beach. Afterwards they would feed everyone. The entire end of the street would be filled with divers and families sharing BBQ and stories and the occasional cerveza (AFTER ALL DIVING ACTIVITIES). The came for almost paradise and from that moment paradise was lost forever. We were forced to either pay this guy or you could not dive on a beach where we had dived even long before I came onto the scene. He put up a fence to block access and if we decided to dive from the wall he would call the cops to harass us. Ironically this was supposed to be a divers service center but that did not stop him from allowing the launching of jet skis right from the beach that divers were using! The best thing that ever happened there is the closing of this lousy facility. Good riddance Jay wherever you are! Now that things are somewhat back to normal I take my thirteen and eighteen year old sons there. Unfortunately for the years that Jay was there a lot of seasoned divers stopped going there. Hopefully they will return and bring some new friends.
Fort Pierce Inlet State Recreation Area on 1/31/2009
Jan 31, 2009, 12:00 AM
I dove this site only once, a while ago. I dove it with my newly certified stepson. Unfortunately I cannot offer any info on the outer reef. Not knowing the area and being with a novice diver dissuaded me from venturing out that far. It is quite a ways from the beach to the first reef but there are many things to see if you go slow. We had the misfortune of having two curious barracuda circling us along the way. Would not have been a problem except for the tightening circles as we swam. With one eye on the barracuda and the other on my son we ventured out to the reef in search of sunken Spanish treasure! That's right, gold and silver! Less than a half mile north of the jetty area lies a wreck. One of appx. eight Spanish Galleons that sank during a hurricane in July 1715. The ships are sunk all along the 'Treasure Coast' north of Sebastian inlet to south of the Fort Pierce inlet. Treasure is still being found on a regular basis yearly since the fifties. The sunken ship north of the jetty is commonly known as the 'Wedge' wreck, for the numerous wedges of silver, kinda like large cheese wheel wedges that were found on the wreck. Anyway the state park dive is nice especially if you know the history of the area. We came across a few sets of train wheels. I mean the entire set off of like a boxcar. You can find many interesting things there but be careful. This was the first site for the training of the newly formed Navy underwater dive team or the SEALs. They actually trained right there off that beach and along that coast. There are still some submerged tank barriers in some areas along the coast and you are warned about unexploded ordinance on the beach as well as in the water. The SEALs actually have a Museum on the beach about two miles north of the park open year round. The wedge wreck is a designated state park therefore a protected site. You can dive it but you cannot take anything off it. At one time there was a marker buoy so you could swim out and drop down the marker cable onto the wreck but the buoy is long gone after the last hurricanes. The site can be accessed from between the tall buildings, but without the buoy you will need a local to direct you to the right spot. After three hundred years on the bottom, the wreck is long gone and you have to look hard for evidence that it was even there, unless you are familiar with 17th century Spanish wrecks. There were a number of cannon on the wreck but the state has long since taken them away, but they did replace them with some nice cement replicas you can check out :) NO METAL DETECTORS ALLOWED IN THE WATER FOR OVER 20 MILES ALONG THE COAST!! ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO SALVAGE COMPANIES. However should you happen to stumble across treasure without the use of electronic aid you are entitled to a share from the salvage company. Anything found on the beach is considered 'Treasure Trove' and you are entitled to it free and clear! You can dive inside the 'outer reef' all day due to the less than twenty foot depths. Even though I dove there in 1995 I am very familiar with the area because I own a house there on the Island and travel there frequently. I have a friend who dives there in front of our house every week (4 miles north of the state park) and he comes home with lobster and fish dinner. I don't dive there because I don't have any gear there (being a New York diver and all) and I'm not particularly fond of the occasional stray shark that happens by :( I'm not a fraidy cat or nothin) I just feel that diving should be a relaxing enjoyable sport filled with fun :) With all the inherent risks associated with diving in itself I don't need to add unfavorable factors. And please remember, don't 'drink and dive'.