This morning I got a nice early dive in before work with a few friends at Canoe Beach in Nahant, MA. Canoe Beach is one of my old favorite haunts; It’s a fairly shallow dive with an easy entry and has some very nice underwater topography compared to most shore dives in New England. A prominent attraction is a rock formation called the “chimneys” which you can enter from the right side and literally go through them and come out the top. There is also another small “cavern” entrance on the other side of the rocks that you can enter and explore.
For me It’s also a hell of a lot closer than driving up to Cape Ann for shore diving as it’s only about a 25 minute drive from my house. The trouble with Canoe Beach or any diving in Nahant, MA is the parking situation. The entire town is pretty much resident parking only with the exception of the parking lot at the beach where you first enter the town. Thankfully during the off season (in fall/winter and before Memorial Day) if you ask nicely at the police station they will usually let you park there. I’ve never had an issue myself personally provided I went early in the morning or late at night. Just make sure you have a backup plan if they say no or simply don’t go there during prime summer season and expect them to let you park. I HAVE seen cars being towed from the parking lot so don’t make the mistake of not asking them first.
The other issue I sometimes have with Nahant is the visibility can be really variable. Simply stated, when it’s bad it’s usually really bad and when it’s good then it’s usually sufficient good for New England. More often than not I seem to encounter poor visibility here. Because there are really only a couple dive sites in Nahant if they happen to be blown out you don’t have too many other options compared to some of the more sheltered dive sites like up in Cape Ann.
I wasn’t really expecting too much for visibility. Although there really hasn’t been too much wind this week we were pretty much getting in the water in the middle of an outgoing ebb tide. At this site I usually have better luck for visibility with an incoming high tide. In any case I think we were all pleasantly surprised; The visibility was around 20-25ft. We entered the water around 8am. Greg was diving doubles, Lewis was diving his rebreather while Dave and myself were diving single tanks. I was contemplating diving closed circuit today but I figured I would leave everything built and assembled for tomorrow’s dive. I also opted to go for wet gloves today instead of dry gloves. It is actually the first time this year I wore wet gloves and I was fine. The water was around 43-44F (~6c) degrees.
With the such good visibility, we managed to hit the chimneys head on and spent a bit of time poking around there. Marine life is certainly starting to come back in. Plenty of small non-legal sized lobsters and even an egger. I also managed to see my first striper of the year so that’s definitely a good sign. Here’s a map I did for my DM project a while back; I think it gives a nice general overview of the dive site. It can be a great dive site if you’re able to park there. There are some even better dive sites off Nahant if you have a boat.. (Egg Rock, East Point, etc)..
Total dive time was around 50-51 minutes. Max depth for 27ft (8.2m) Visibility: 20-25ft and water temperature was 43-44F (6.1c). I managed to take a few pictures of some nudibranchs and divers in the group.