New Jersey Scuba Diving
- large double-L shaped beach jetty
- 5-15 ft
This jetty is a massive structure, probably the biggest north of the Manasquan Inlet. The strange shape of the jetty is actually the result of the 1916 Matawan shark attack scare. The closed-in lagoon was built so parents would not worry about a shark attacking their bathing children. The entire beach area which is surrounded by the rocks belongs to the adjacent house, but the owner is actually pretty nice about people using it as long as they don't leave a mess.
The jetty is just down a concrete ramp at the end of the boardwalk. Hike diagonally down to the little cove inside the outer "L", enter there and swim around the point - the fastest and easiest way out to the deeper water. It is probably best to double back at the end of the dive and exit at the same place. In a pinch you could also exit at the tiny beach just to the north of the rocks, but climbing up the steep and slippery rocks anywhere else would be difficult.
The rock field extends quite a ways out underwater off the end of the jetty and the outer "L". This is area of large rocks and sandy patches, overgrown with mussels and different types of seaweeds and sponges. You could spend quite a while just exploring this area, but definitely bring a flag to ward off boats and fishermen. Rounding the corner of the outer L brings you to the best spearfishing spot, along the outer part of the main jetty. Again, the rock field underwater is a lot more than is visible from topside. Blackfish and lobsters are not hard to come by, probably Stripers as well.
The water depth in these areas runs from 5 ft to a maximum of 15 ft; you would be hard-pressed to find anything deeper than that. About halfway in along the main jetty the depth shrinks to about 6 ft, so I can't imagine that the inner "L" is worth diving. The best time to dive this site is on an incoming high tide, when it is flushed with clear ocean water. You can get 20-30 ft of viz on a nice day. Once the tide peaks and turns around, the water picks up junk off the beach and the viz drops considerably.
Since this is an open ocean dive with potentially strong currents, surge, and waves, it should only be attempted on an exceedingly fine day, by persons experienced in northeast beach diving. Even a two foot sea, or any kind of swell at all, can turn this dive into a nightmare. Beginners are well advised to try the Shark River or Railroad Bridge instead.
This site can be a little hard to find from inland. From Rt. 18: take Rt. 66 east to Main Street ( Rt. 71 ) in Asbury Park. Turn left onto 71, cross Deal Lake, then right onto Corlies Avenue in Allenhurst. Follow Corlies Ave. to the ocean, turn left onto Ocean Place, and follow that to the dead end. Parking here is limited.
This site lies on the border between the town of Allenhurst and the shiekdom of Deal to the north. I'm pretty sure Deal is not part of the United States, and the police there will arrest any of us foreigners that dare to tread on their beaches or swim in their water. I'm not making this up - don't stray too far to the north.
Not all fishermen are thieves, but some certainly are, and anything you leave on shore, or even in the back of your vehicle, is likely to be gone when you get back from your dive !
From the other side
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