I went for two more dives at Back Beach (my first two certification dives were also there). This time I went with my brother, Eric. For the first dive, we swam out diagonally from the center of the beach over toward the rocks to the left. About halfway to the rocks we submerged, at this point the bottom was at about 15 feet. We swam around for about half an hour at depths ranging from 15 feet to about 20 feet. There were lots of tiny lobster hiding under and around the rocks on the bottom. There were many decent sized crabs swinging their claws at us. One of the things I found especially interesting about this dive was all the tiny, baby founder. They couldn’t have been more than an inch long! We ran into a few mid-sized stripers (striped bass). Boy, even though they were probably only a couple feet long, they look pretty large underwater! At one point Eric and I were going around a large rock on opposite sides when I startled a striper (it was only about one foot away). In an attempt to get away from me the striper bolted around the rock, nearly colliding with Eric’s face! It was a little funny… One the way back in, Eric almost caught a large, adult flounder with his hands. Now wouldn’t that have been an embarrassment for that fish!
For our second dive that day, we went straight out from the middle of the beach, submerged, and then meandered toward the right, eventually swimming back to the beach underwater. Like the first dive, this was also a shallow dive. We never even reached 25 feet. We got to see more crabs, lobster, stripers, and baby flounder. Plus, we found a starfish that was larger than Eric’s face! (I know it was that big because he picked it up and held it in front of his mask.) On the way back in, we ran into a lot of seaweed. It reached almost to the surface, so we were almost at snorkel depth for quite a way. At one point, I looked down and saw a very large pink thing in the seaweed. I couldn’t really tell what it was, but since it was much larger than me, I figured it was a rock until it started shooting away from me! “What the &!%$,” I wanted to yell! Half a second later, I realized that it really was just a rock. A wave had come in and since it was pushing not only me but also the seaweed all around me I hadn’t realized I was moving. Hehehe. Ok, so it wasn’t some huge, bizarre fish…
I think if I went back to this beach I would swim much further out before submerging. It would be interesting to see things much further below the surface. However, I don’t think I’ll be going back. My brother has found another place in Rockport he likes a lot better, so I’ll be heading out there this coming Sunday. I’ll tell you all about it in another article.
Directions to Back Beach:
- Find your way to 128 North.
- Drive all the way to Cape Ann on 128, passing through two rotaries.
- At the first traffic light, turn left onto route 127. There will be a sign indicating that Rockport is to the left.
- Eventually you will reach a weird five way intersection. The road ahead will have “do not enter” signs. There will be two roads to the right and one to the left. There will be a sign indicating that Pigeon Cove is to the left. Take that left.
- Watch the side streets on the right carefully. Eventually you will see Beach Street end on the road you are on. It joins the road you are on at an oblique angle so watch carefully. Take a right onto Beach St.
- Back Beach will be that stretch of sand and rocks on your left. (Back Beach is where they hold the bonfire on the fourth of July, so watch for nails in the grassy area near the road.)
If you go, you may have trouble finding parking. I suggest you either go very early in the morning, or get there as the people doing the certification dives are leaving (mid-afternoon). Also bring change for the parking meters. They give you 15 minutes for each quarter up to a maximum of 5 hours.
If you can’t find parking at the beach, you’d better leave one diver there with all your equipment. You won’t find another spot within lugging distance, but you may find one within walking distance.
If you need a dive shop on the way, there is one called Cape Ann Divers (978-281-8082) on route 127 in Gloucester. As you are driving toward Rockport, watch on the right for Cape Ann Marketplace (it also contains a Star Market and some other stores). As you pull into the parking lot, Cape Ann Divers is on your right more than halfway toward the back of the parking lot. I have no connection to this dive shop, I only mention it because I’ve been there and it’s convenient.