Last Friday and Saturday nights, I went diving at the Shark River Inlet in Belmar/Avon, NJ. Saturday was a much better dive...there were about 15 fewer divers in the water than there were on Friday! Also, high tide was 35-40 minutes later, so it was truly dark when I entered the water (the darker the better for marine life to come out of hiding). Vis was great for the first two thirds of the dive, but toward the end of the dive after the tide turned, it decreased quite a bit, but still not too bad.
I saw several lobsters, which I left for another day. Also, there were lots of blue claw crabs, starfish, eels, hermit crabs, a variety of fish, horseshoe crabs, flounder, clams, and muscles (billions).
I found a Flounder (or was it a Fluke) that was on the end of a broken fishing line. I pulled him close to see if I could get the hook out, but he wanted no part of it, so I cut the line and he was off. Although he looked pretty big, I don’t think he was big enough to keep. Wouldn’t that have been a funny sight though, a scuba diver walking out of the water with a fish on the end of a fishing line.
If anyone is considering this dive, make sure you have something to cut fishing line with. There is quite a bit down there as this inlet is heavily fished. On one dive, I freed a horseshoe crab that was tangled in fishing line and unable to move more than several inches one way or another. Ironically, this crab had a tracking tag on its shell, and it was the tag that had him tangled.
Max water depth was 25’, most of the dive was at 15-20’. Water temp was around 65. I used a 1mm full skin, and was quite warm. Spent about an hour ten minutes in the water. Easy entry by sitting on the wall under the bridge, and rolling into the water 8” below. Exit on the rocks by the wall is one of the easiest jetty exits I’ve seen.
Plenty of free parking on Washington or Ocean Ave. From the intersection of Washington and Ocean, you have about a 300’ walk over sand to the primary point of entry. From the primary point of entry you can go 600’ east on the rock jetty toward the ocean against the current both ways, or you can go 600’ west on the inlet wall to First Avenue, floating with the current both ways (There are dozens of other possible profiles).
Next “high tide at night” opportunity is 15th and 16th. I’m thinking of going in the 16th to get those 2 lobsters I left. Check your calendars and let me know anyone wants to join me.