Waldport – Yaquina John Point

The Yaquina John Point dive site at Waldport is a good place to go if you want to do some crabbing while on SCUBA.  It is not a good place to go if you are looking for decent visibility and benign conditions.  This dive site is best tackled at low tide so that you will be sucked up into the bay rather than pushed out to sea.  Be mindful to not bother the seals that sometimes haul out on the tidal flats.

Imagery ©2018 Google, Map data ©2018 Google.
The Yaquina John Point dive site at Waldport is a good place to go crabbing but the viz is never good. Only dive this site at low tide.

Nearest Town:

Waldport, Oregon

GPS Coordinates:

44.427569N, -124.077189W

Special Directions to Site:

There are four places that you can access the Yaquina John Point dive site in Waldport.

To get to the parking area near Alsi Resort, go west on Bayshore Drive north of the US 101 bridge.  Bayshore Drive curves to the south.  Follow it all the way until it dead ends next to the Alsi Resort and the gravel parking area by the water.

To get to the parking area in downtown Waldport, turn west on Spring Street just south of the US 101 bridge.  The parking area is along Maple Street.

To get to the parking area south of Waldport, look for the small pull-out just as US101 heads south and leaves the bay.

To get to the drop off point at the southwest side of the dive site, go west on Bayshore Drive north of the US 101 bridge.  Bayshore Drive curves to the south.  Follow Bayshore Drive to turn west on Westward Ho Drive.  Then turn south on Oceania Drive.  Follow Oceania Drive all the way south until it curves around and starts heading north.  The road becomes Alsea Bay Drive as it turns north.  The drop off point is between the two houses on the east side of the road where you can see the bay and there are some small paths to the water.

Parking:

The three parking areas to access the Yaquina John Point dive site in Waldport surround the site.  On the north side, there’s a gravel lot that, when we last checked, is free to park in next to the Alsi Resort.  On the east side, there is parking in downtown Waldport.  Be sure to check the signs — the last time we parked here, it was three hour parking.  The south side has a small pull-out on US101 where one or two cars can fit.  There is no parking at the southwest entrance/exit but this is a good place for a friend to drop you and your gear off.

Site Orientation:

The dive site is always changing because the Alsea River is not managed by the Army Corps of Engineers like the improved ports in Oregon.  You want to dive in the channel where the water is deepest to hunt for crabs.  A few years ago, there was a small channel near the south side of the bay but lately the main and deep channel hugs the north side of the bay.  Between the main channel and downtown Waldport is a big tidal mud flat.  You will have to slog across the expanse of mud to get to the water.

Entrances and Exits:

The entrances and exits on the south and east side of this dive site require long slogs across tidal mud flats.  It’s not enjoyable but it is one way to get into the water.  The entrance/exit for the pull-out area at the southeast side of the dive site is back up US101 where there is a small path down to the tidal mud flats.

On the north and west side, the entrances and exits are somewhat easier.  You can walk down to the water along some small paths.  Then it is a short trip across the tidal area to get into the channel.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.  The water is usually too shallow to take a boat out to use as a dive platform.

Normal Conditions:

When diving at low tide, the dive will quickly become a drift dive as you get pushed up into the bay.  It is a bad idea to dive this site at high tide because it is quite easy to get sucked out to sea if you aren’t paying close attention to your location.  Unless you go out over the bar, waves and surf usually don’t penetrate into the bay.  There can be some boat traffic going through the bay to do some crabbing or fishing.  It’s a good idea to have a dive float that you tow behind you.

Normal Visibility:

Expect three to five feet on a very good day.  You may find there to be zero viz on bad days.  It’s par for the course at Waldport.

Normal Temperature:

48-52F is the typical temperature here.

Best Time of Year:

Winter and spring are good times to dive this site although any time of the year it’s possible to get in the water.

Max Depth:

Depending on what the channel is doing and recent storm activity, you might find water no deeper than 10 feet or water as deep as 35 feet where potholes form.  The potholes are often where the crabs hang out.

Suggested Special Training:

It’s a good idea to have rescue diver training.  This can be a difficult dive.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this an advanced dive because of the low viz and the likely drift nature of the dive.  You don’t necessarily have to dive it as a drift dive but it’s easier.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

The entrances on the south and east side can be up to 2000 feet from the water across the tidal mud flats.  It’s not a very fun walk.  On the north and west sides, the entrances are only about 50-100 feet from where your car will be.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is necessary once you get into the channel.

Special Site Notes:

We highly recommend that you only dive this site at low tide.  There is a significant risk of being sucked out to sea if you dive at high tide due to the tidal exchange.  This is an exposed dive site at high tide because there is no jetty structure for you to grab onto or take refuge behind.

The slog across the tidal mud flats is a real challenge.  Watch for holes in the sand where it is easy to fall.

This is a good site to do a drift dive where you ride the incoming tide up the bay.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

There are a number of good restaurants both in Waldport and Bayshore.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

The Waldport KOA campground near the northwest entrance is a good place to base from if you plan to do multiple dives at this site.  Otherwise, there are Siuslaw National Forest campgrounds up the Alsea River.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

 

 

Umpqua River South Jetty and Triangle Jetty

The Umpqua River South Jetty and the area known as the Triangle Jetty just outside the town of Winchester Bay on the (unsurprisingly named) Winchester Bay is a great place to explore a unique jetty structure.  Nowhere else that we know of along the coast in Oregon can you find a triangle jetty with water that is almost always calm even when the see is violently rough.  It is important to note that the shellfish being commercially grown are strictly off-limits to recreational divers.  It is a crime to attempt to harvest any of the shellfish.  Don’t give other recreational SCUBA divers a bad name!

umpqua south jetty and triangle jetty
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The Umpqua South Jetty and the area known as Triangle Jetty where commercial shellfish are grown is a good place to go dive in most ocean conditions. When the weather is rough, you can dive inside the triangle jetty. When it is good weather, you can dive on the outside of the jetty.

 

We can’t confirm it with our own eyes but based on videos we’ve found on YouTube, such as this one, it appears there is some sort of wreckage to discover along the jetty.  We suspect this could be a small boat or maybe a rail car that fell off the tracks when the jetties were originally constructed.  One way or another, we now have the triangle jetty and the whole south jetty complex on the Umpqua River on our short list of places to revisit in the very near future.  If you have more information on this wreck, including location and what it might be, please comment below!

Nearest Town:

The nearest town is Winchester Bay.  A little further inland is Reedsport, Oregon.

GPS Coordinates:

43.665295, -124.211310

 

Special Directions to Site:

From the town of Winchester Bay, take Salmon Harbor Drive south and west.

Parking:

There are several locations that you can park at depending on how crowded it is and where you want to enter/exit.  On the south jetty (north side of the dive site), you can drive right out along the jetty.  We think that you can also drive along the beach here to access the triangle jetty area where the commercial shellfish are grown.  There even appears to be access down to the south side of the triangle jetty.  However, before you drive out onto the sand, double-check the local OHV laws and make sure you have an OHV sticker on your vehicle.

If you don’t want to get into the sand, there are day use parking areas along Salmon Harbor Drive.

Site Orientation:

There are three distinct areas on this dive site.  The first that most people are the most interested in is the inside of the triangle jetty.  This is an active commercial shellfish business area.  Stay well clear of the shellfish platforms and hanging shellfish lines.  There is risk of entanglement in all of the equipment used by the commercial operation.  There may also be discarded shellfish lines underwater that you could become tangled in.

The second area is along the south side of the triangle jetty all the way out to the jetty tip where the south jetty reaches the sea and then partway along the inside of the south jetty.  This area is often rough.  Sea conditions usually preclude people from SCUBA diving here.  However, there is generally good spearfishing and crabbing in this area.

The third area is along the eastern part of the south jetty in the Umpqua River channel.  This area is usually pretty decent to dive and has decent spearfishing and crabbbing.

Entrances and Exits:

There are a multitude of entrance and exit options at this site.  You can crawl over jetty rocks on the south jetty to gain entrance to the Umpqua River channel.  You can practice your surf entrances/exits along the outer south side of the triangle jetty.  You can do an easy beach entrance into the interior of the triangle jetty.  This site has it all.

Please note that the surf entrance/exit can be dangerous and should only be attempted by divers who have sufficient training and experience.  Conditions can rapidly change and make this an untenable entrance/exit.  Have a backup plan!

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

If you are inside the triangle jetty area, there is almost never any bad condition to find.  The area isn’t even really impacted by tidal changes.  No real current, almost never any surf or surge, and extremely rarely are there any waves in here.  People can dive this area just about any time of the day or night and any day of the year.

Along the southern outside area of the triangle jetty, past the tip of the south jetty, and into the mouth of the Umpqua River, you will likely encounter surf, surge, current, and waves.  Watch conditions closely if you are going to dive this area.  There are only a few days a year that parts of this area is accessible.

On the inside of the south jetty in the Umpqua River channel, conditions are often better than on the outside of the jetties.  However, you need to be cognizant of the current.  Dive with the tide.  In really bad weather, you can have surf, surge, waves, and related nastiness.  In a worst case scenario, scratch a dive here and instead go dive the inside of the triangle jetty.

Normal Visibility:

Depending on the time of year and recent storms, you can range from 40 feet of viz off the tip of the south jetty on down to less than 5 feet of visibility along the outer south side of the triangle jetty.  Usually though you’ll find 20-25 feet of vis.

Normal Temperature:

Water temperature varies between 48 and 60F depending on the time of year.  If there has been recent snow that is melting in the mountains that feeds the Umpqua River, the river channel can be a bit colder.

Best Time of Year:

The inside of the triangle jetty can be dived any time of the year even in bad sea conditions (use common sense though!).  The south jetty along the Umpqua River is good most of the year although when the upwelling happens over the summer, visibility isn’t amazing.  The southern outside part of the triangle jetty is a very finicky place to dive and usually only will be accessible a few days a year in the summer.

Max Depth:

Off the tip of the south jetty, you can find up to 50 feet of water at high tide and with optimal bottom conditions.  When sand moves around, you won’t find it that deep.  In the triangle jetty, you’ll find maybe 25 feet of water but usually shallower unless there has been dredging recently.  On the south side of the triangle jetty, you might find 30 feet of water.

Suggested Special Training:

Inside the triangle jetty, open water divers with some experience at other dive sites should have a good time.  In some of the rougher areas outside of the triangle jetty and on the south jetty, the diving can become very advanced and challenging.  Specific training in surf entry/exit is needed if you plan to do that.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an intermediate dive although if you try to dive the jetty tip or the exposed portions of the triangle jetty, you can find yourself in extreme or impossible conditions.  Inside the triangle jetty there are entanglement hazards and machinery hazards so pay attention!

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Depending on where you park and where you’re walking to, you will either walk 50 feet or up to 1000 feet.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed at any of the areas in this site.

Special Site Notes:

Remember that it is illegal to interfere with the commercial shellfish operation.  We know those oysters look tempting but DON’T DO IT!  You will give SCUBA divers a bad name!

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

As of the time of writing this, there are no dive shops or air fill stations along the Umpqua River near Winchester Bay.  There is (or at least was the last time we checked) a shop in North Bend to the south.  Otherwise you’re looking at heading inland to Eugene.  Check out the updated list of local dive shops in Oregon to see where the closest shop is to your dive.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

There are a couple good restaurants in Winchester Bay and further inland at Reedsport.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There is a campground right next to this dive site and several others in the immediate vicinity.  In Reedsport there are the normal hotels although we haven’t tried any of them so we can’t comment on if they are friendly to SCUBA divers or not.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

 

 

Florence South Jetty Middle Area

Along the Siuslaw River in Florence the south jetty middle area is a good place to check out for some drift diving.  You can also do out-and-back dives but the current that often rips along the jetty wall is more appropriate for drift dives.  If you bring your mesh bag and a crab gauge, you probably can limit out on crabs here if you’re doing a longer drift dive.  This is a pretty good place to spend a lazy afternoon underwater on the Oregon coast.

 

Site Highlights:

This is a great drift dive.  Hopping in the water when you’re a little ahead of high tide is like riding a freight train.  You’ll zip right along the jetty heading up into Siuslaw Bay.  If you try to do this dive with the tide racing out to sea, you need to be very experienced and ready to exit over any part of the jetty so that you don’t end up outside the jetty out in the ocean.

There are a lot of crabs and fish along the jetty wall.  Bring your crab collection equipment and spear gun, and you’ll probably catch something good.

Nearest Town:

Florence, Oregon is just over the bridge on the north side of the Siuslaw River.

GPS Coordinates:

44.013354, -124.133215

Special Directions to Site:

Turn onto South Jetty Road from US101.  Bear right onto Sand Dunes Road by the Odd Fellows Hall.  Be sure to pick up a parking pass for the day by the entrance to the county park.  Drive all the way down Sand Dunes Road to the end.  You are now in the middle of the south jetty middle area dive site.

Parking:

This is a county park so be sure to get a day parking permit.  There usually is plenty of parking in several different areas.  Parking out along the jetty in the sand might be allowed with an OHV pass.  In the past we saw people do this.  However, inquire locally before you drive into the sand to make sure you won’t come back to a ticket on your car.

 

Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The south jetty middle area at Florence can be done as a drift dive. The southernmost entrance is the easiest with a sandy cove where you can walk into the water. The other entrances are classic Oregon jetty scrambles.

Site Orientation:

You want to stick close to the jetty at this dive site.  From the base to the half-way point, the dive site runs more or less to the north.  Then the jetty hooks toward the west.  If you want a navigational challenge and you have someone on the other side to meet you, you could navigate underwater across the channel and come up at the SCUBA Park.  We know someone who did this a few years ago.

The south end of the site has a protected area where you can make an easy entrance/exit.  We suggest exiting here.  Get in at the top of the dive site and ride the current into the bay before high tide.

Entrances and Exits:

The easiest entrance/exit is at the very southern end of the dive site.  The south jetty middle area is accessible anywhere along Sand Dunes Road.  The jetty entrances are a scramble (are there any that aren’t in Oregon?!).  The sandy beach entrance at the southern end of the site is nice enough that you might want to only explore around this area rather than try the drift dive and have to scramble over jetty rocks.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

The further out toward the ocean you go on this site, the more surf, surge, and general nastiness you might encounter.  There is almost always current on this site.  Right at high tide, everything slacks off for a few minutes and the water is calm.  The rest of the time, the water is really ripping and you’ll be taken where the tide is headed.

Normal Visibility:

Except during storms, viz here should be around 15-20 feet.

Normal Temperature:

Temperature can vary between 45 and 55F depending on the time of the year.

Best Time of Year:

We like diving this site in the spring and fall although it is accessible at any time.

Max Depth:

At the southern end of the site, you’ll probably find 30 feet of water where the channel swings close into the jetty.  At the northern end, you’re more likely to find around 20 feet although these numbers are dependent on when the shipping channel was last dredged and if there have been any big storms recently.  We’ve heard that sometimes you can find potholes along the jetty that get to be 45 feet deep although we can’t confirm that.

Suggested Special Training:

It’s a good idea to have advanced open water training and drift diver specialty training before attempting to do a drift dive here.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an intermediate dive as long as you’re heading into Siuslaw Bay rather than out to sea.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

It all depends on where you park.  If you’re lucky, you’ll walk 50 feet.  If not, you will walk 1000+ feet.  If you have two cars, then you can shuttle gear and people.  Otherwise, you’ll have to walk back to your car after a drift dive (2000+ feet is possible).

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is necessary here.

Special Site Notes:

This is a drift dive so plan accordingly.  It’s a good idea to carry a good dive knife to cut yourself out of any monofilament you might encounter and a dive flag so that boats know where you are at.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There used to be a shop with an air fill station in Florence but it closed a long time ago.  Now you have to go down to Port Orford or up to Depoe Bay for an air fill station (both by appointment only) or inland to Eugene for a full service SCUBA shop.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

The waterfront in old town Florence has a lot of good places to eat.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are a pile of county, state, and federal campgrounds in the area plus a few private ones.  We haven’t tried any of the local hotels so please get in touch with us if you know of a good one where divers are welcome.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Florence South Jetty Inner Fingers

The south jetty inner fingers at Florence are seldom visited by SCUBA divers but may be worth the effort if you are looking to do something a little different on the mouth of the Siuslaw River.  This salt water dive site is really four sites that are next to one another.  At the tips of the jetty fingers, currents dig holes in the sand where crabs often congregate.  This isn’t an amazing series of dives but they are interesting dives.  If you have a boat and want to check it out, put your boat in upriver and come down to the inner fingers.

Site Highlights:

The two highlights of this site are 1) the relative inaccessibility of the dive site compared to other sites around Florence and 2) crabs.  As far as jetty dives go, the dive sites along the north jetty in Florence have more micro life and often have more fish.  However, because so few people visit the inner fingers along the south jetty, crabs can sometimes be found here in abundance.  At the least, it’s worth a look if you’re bored with the other sites around Florence or if your attempt at going offshore to one of the reefs is canceled due to rough seas.

Nearest Town:

Florence, Oregon is just on the other side of the Siuslaw River.

GPS Coordinates:

44.001565, -124.127885

Special Directions to Site:

You’ll need a boat to access this site.  There are put-ins further up the Siuslaw River.  Pick your favorite boat launch and motor down river until you come alongside the US Coast Guard pier and boat house.  The four inner fingers are on the other bank of the Siuslaw.

Parking:

The boat launches all have decent parking for your truck and boat trailer.  Unless you fancy a long surface hike from one of the county beach access parking lots across sand and brush, there is no shore access.

south jetty fingers at florence
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The inner fingers on the south jetty of the Siuslaw River have some interesting holes in the sand where crabs sometimes congregate.

 

Site Orientation:

The four fingers are spread out roughly north to south with the northern-most finger usually having the shallowest hole.  The other three fingers usually have deeper holes but it is very dependent on the season and how the river has been flowing.  If the US Army Corps of Engineers has recently done dredging in the Siuslaw River Channel, conditions will be unpredictable but the holes might get deeper and better for catching crabs.

The fingers themselves are generally pretty shallow heading to the west.  You can check out along the base of the fingers but there isn’t much reason to go beyond the holes at the finger tips.

Entrances and Exits:

This is pretty much strictly a boat dive.  Plan accordingly.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a boat dive unless you love a very long hike across soft sand in SCUBA gear.

Normal Conditions:

There is usually current due to the tidal exchange and river conditions.  In the excavated out holes at the end of the fingers, water can swirl around and make a diver confused.  Good compass skills are a must so you don’t end up going the wrong way.  Generally there aren’t waves unless a ship is passing.  We have never seen surge or surf here but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Normal Visibility:

Vis at the inner fingers on the south jetty usually is around 10-15 feet.  Sometimes it gets a little better and sometimes it’s much worse.  We suggest only diving these sites at high tide so you have the best chance of good viz.

Normal Temperature:

Being so far up into Siuslaw Bay, water temperature is largely driven by river conditions.  If a big slug of cold water from snow melt in the coast range is making its way down the river, you might see temps in the 40s.  Otherwise usually you’ll see the low to mid 50s at this site.

Best Time of Year:

This site can be dived at any time of year.  Do it during crabbing season if you want to catch crabs.

Max Depth:

It’s hard to say what depth you are going to find at the inner finger tips.  It’s not unheard of to find 25 feet of water in the holes.  However, you might only find 10 feet of water at high tide if sand from a recent storm has filled the holes in.  If you have a depth sounder on your boat, you can drive over the area to locate the deepest place to jump in at.

Suggested Special Training:

Advanced open water training is a good idea here.  You also should be skilled at boat diving and be prepared in case you get separated from your boat.

Difficulty of Dive:

This is an intermediate skill dive because of diving from a boat.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

No walk is needed unless you’re braving the loooooong hike from a parking area.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed unless you anchor your boat far away from the holes at the jetty tips or if you get separated from your boat.

Special Site Notes:

You’ll have more fun if you dive this site at high tide.  At low tide, there is very little water around the fingers.  It’s a good idea to run a dive flag here because of boat traffic.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

Gone are the days of easy air fills on the central Oregon coast.  The shop in Florence is long gone.  The shop in Newport moved.  The air fill station in Depoe Bay is by appointment only.  Same goes for the one in Port Orford.  You’ll need to head over the coast mountains to Eugene for the closest local dive shop with air fills and full service.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

The old town waterfront in Florence has lots of good restaurants.  Head there and pick one that looks tasty!

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are a plethora of campgrounds that the county, state, and feds run around Florence.  We’ve stayed at a few and had pleasant experiences.  We haven’t tried any of the hotels so please let us know if you find a hotel that is SCUBA diver friendly!

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

The South Jetty Crab Dock at Florence

The south jetty crab dock at Florence is a good place to go diving if you’re bored of the north jetty dive sites along the Siuslaw, don’t want to go play in the mud at Woahink Lake, and aren’t feeling like doing the outer parts of the south jetty.  Crabs are usually pretty plentiful here although crabbers and fishermen up on the dock don’t usually enjoy divers underneath them when they’re trying to get some fish or crabs. You can link this dive site up with the other dive sites along the south jetty if you want to do some drift diving and this site is very protected from storms out in the ocean meaning that, as long as you’re okay with bad viz, this site is accessible most of the time.


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Site Highlights:

This is a great site for SCUBA divers when the conditions are lousy on the north jetty or further out on the south jetty.  Being so far into the Siuslaw Bay, it makes for a well-protected dive site from the worst of the winter storms that often blow out the other dive sites along the Siuslaw.  The south jetty crab dock is also a good place to go crabbing and fishing although you should steer clear of fishermen and crabbers on the surface.  It’s not a bad idea to have a friend stay on the surface to help smooth over any tensions with top-side anglers and crabbers.

Nearest Town:

Florence, Oregon is just over the bridge.

GPS Coordinates:

44.007688, -124.131897

Special Directions to Site:

Heading south from Florence, after you cross the bridge over the Siuslaw River, turn right (west) onto South Jetty Road.  There should be signs for the south jetty county park and day use areas.  Bear to the right onto Sand Dunes Road and follow it until you see signs for the crab dock and south jetty beach 6 day use area.

Parking:

There is some parking right by the dock.  If this is full, just up the road there is a much larger parking area.  There is a day use fee here so be sure to pay it or get the appropriate yearly pass before parking.

Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The south jetty crab dock along the Siuslaw River is a great site to go dive when conditions are rough further out on the jetty or if you’re looking for a very easy jetty to dive.

Site Orientation:

The jetty runs roughly north-south with a very calm inner bay area to the west of the jetty and a mostly calm southern area south of the jetty.  To the east and north, the jetty is exposed to the Siuslaw River so current becomes much more of a factor.  If you hit this site at the wrong time, you can get sucked out along the jetty or pushed up into the bay.  However, if you’re smart about it, you can turn this into an awesome drift dive.

Be mindful of other users of the site.  Recreational crabbers and anglers can get pretty mad if they think you’re stealing their catch underwater.

Entrances and Exits:

There are a lot of really good entrances and exits at this site.  On the map above, we starred the absolute easiest entrances and exits.  However, you can hop into the water just about anywhere you want.  If you really want a jetty scramble, you can do that.  Otherwise, there are plenty of easy entrances on sandy beaches.  If you enter from the northern parking lot, you’ll be in very shallow water for a while but otherwise all of these entrances and exits are in deeper water.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

Except at high and low tide, the current can really rip along the eastern side of the jetty where the deepest part of the Siuslaw River channel is located.  If you’re doing a drift dive, this is great.  If not, it’s a good idea to stay on the west side of the jetty so you’re not getting pushed around by the water.

There never is much surf or surge here.  We haven’t seen any big waves except when a boat passes by.  In general, this is a pretty benign dive site, and especially when considering that this is on an Oregon coast jetty!

Normal Visibility:

In good conditions at high tide, you can hit 20 feet of viz on the south jetty crab dock.  However, if there is a bunch of silt coming down the Siuslaw River or if there’s a big storm out in the ocean, viz can go down to 5 feet at times.  Usually it’s around 15 feet here.

Normal Temperature:

The south jetty crab dock is impacted by both the water pumping out of the Siuslaw River and by the water out in the Pacific Ocean.  If there is a big spring runoff event with a bunch of snow melt, then you might see 40 degrees.  It can get up to about 60 F on the western little bay area in the summer when the weather is warm and the sun has been out for a few days.  Normally you’ll probably find around 50-55F water temps here.

Best Time of Year:

Any time of year is a good time to check out the south jetty crab dock.

Max Depth:

On the east side of the jetty and near the northern tip of the jetty you’ll sometimes find 25-30 feet of water.  On the west side of the jetty, you’ll be in around 15 feet of water at high tide.

Suggested Special Training:

Recently certified open water divers can successfully dive this site.  If you’re going to do a drift dive, you should have drift diver specialty training.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an easy dive unless you’re doing drift diving or if you hit the site when the tide is ripping.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Depending on where you park and where you enter, you might have between a 5 foot and a 500 foot walk to your entrance.

Surface Swim Length:

If you enter up by the north parking lot, you’ll end up with a 200 foot surface swim to get to deeper water.  Otherwise, the other entrances don’t really need any surface swims to get to the good diving.

Special Site Notes:

Dive this site at high tide for the deepest water you can get at this site.  Especially on the west and south sides, it gets rather shallow.  Be careful of the current in the river channel.  It can go from zero to ripping in just a few seconds.

Be courteous to other users of this site.  There are a lot of people who go crabbing and fishing here.  It’s not a bad idea to have a friend stay on the surface and smooth over any tensions with above-water site users.

It’s a good idea to carry a good dive knife or line cutter.  There can be quite a bit of lost monofilament at this site.  Getting tangled in fishing line sucks but if you have a good knife, you can get yourself free.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

You have a long way to go for a dive shop or air fill.  There is a by-appointment-only air fill station up in Depoe Bay and another down in Port Orford.  Otherwise, head over the coast range mountains to Eugene where there’s a full service dive shop.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

There is a lot of good food in old town Florence along the waterfront.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are a lot of county, state, and federal campgrounds in the area that are great for tent camping or for an RV.  We’ve based out of a few of the campgrounds around here to go diving and haven’t been disappointed.

We haven’t tried out any of the hotels in the area so please let us know if there’s a SCUBA diver friendly hotel nearby that you like.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Fogarty Creek Kelp Forest

In just the right conditions, the kelp forest at Fogarty Creek is accessible to SCUBA divers from shore.  There are not very many places in Oregon where divers can access kelp forests without a boat.  The surf entrance can be tricky and conditions can change fast but if it you hit the beach at the right time, you can go dive some great kelp beds.  We have not been able to dive this site yet due to unfavorable conditions when we have tried in the past but we have heard of others diving here and from everything we have observed, it looks like a good spot to check out when the seas are kind and calm.

 

Site Highlights:

The main draw here is the kelp beds just off shore from Fogarty Creek.  There are some interesting rock formations to check out, too.  Someday otters will once again live here but for now, it will only be us SCUBA divers and a few other mammals visiting these kelp beds.

Nearest Town:

Lincoln Beach is just north of Fogarty Creek and just to the south is Depoe Bay.

GPS Coordinates:

44.839318, -124.051719

 

Special Directions to Site:

Watch for the Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area signs on US101 north of Depoe Bay.

Parking:

There is plenty of parking at the state rec area.  You will probably have to pay to park here but double-check the signs.

fogarty creek kelp forest
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The kelp forest at Fogarty Creek is shore-accessible in calm sea conditions.

 

Site Orientation:

The kelp forest is split into two parts.  The northern kelp forest is larger but a bit more of a surface swim to get to.  The southern kelp forest is smaller and a shorter swim.  There are some interesting rock formations near the southern kelp forest that can also be visited.

One thing to remember here is that surf conditions need to be really good before you try diving at Fogarty Creek.  There aren’t many beach surf entrances in Oregon and it is important to know how to do safe entrances and exits from the beach.  We’re not your mom so make sure you know what you’re doing.

Entrances and Exits:

You can enter or exit just about anywhere along the beach but doing your entrance/exit nearer to the area you want to dive is a good idea.  However, you need to do an entrance and an exit where it is safe to do so.  Surf conditions, current, undertow, and other conditions will dictate where it is best to enter/exit.  If you don’t know how to do an army crawl out of the water, you should get instruction on how to do so.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive although you can also access the site from a boat.  If you wanted to, you could probably put in an inflatable raft with an engine here.  We have not done this yet so be sure to double-check with the relevant state authorities before launching a boat from Fogarty Creek Beach.

Normal Conditions:

Normally the conditions are rotten here.  Surf, surge, current, waves, undertow, and many other bad and nasty things are the norm here.  On a rare calm day, you will have better conditions but there are still dangers here.

Normal Visibility:

Viz can be up to 30 feet here.  Sometimes it’s even better.  The summer upwelling can reduce visibility and right after a storm there will be worse viz.

Normal Temperature:

Depending on the time of year, you will see temperatures between 45 and 55F.

Best Time of Year:

There isn’t really a good time of year to dive here but in the summer and early fall, you have a better shot of having halfway decent conditions to dive Fogarty Creek Kelp Forest.

Max Depth:

This is a fairly shallow site which makes surge much worse here than other deeper kelp beds in Oregon.  You can find 30 feet on the far west side of the kelp beds.

Suggested Special Training:

Advanced open water training is a really good idea before diving this site.  Rescue diver training is a good idea.  Lots of practice and training in surf entrances and exits is needed here.

Difficulty of Dive:

This is an advanced dive.  You need to know what you’re doing before you do a shore dive into the open ocean.  Even people with many dives on the Oregon coast can make mistakes here that can lead to being killed or even worse.  Be sure you know what you’re doing and you’re comfortable with the conditions before you go diving.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

You will have between 500 and 1000 feet to walk to get to the entrance.

Surface Swim Length:

A surface swim between 100 and 200 feet is a good idea to get into some deeper water.

Special Site Notes:

This site is dangerous in all but the best conditions.  In even ideal conditions, the site is still dangerous.  Take a safety sausage.  Have a friend keep track of you from the surface.  Be sure you have plenty of air in your tank in case you have to belly crawl out of the surf.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There is an air fill station in Depoe Bay that you can get air at by appointment only.  Otherwise you’ll need to go up to Astoria or in to Portland, Salem, or Eugene for a full service SCUBA shop.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

There is lots of good food on this part of the coast.  Let us know what your favorite place is!

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are several state campgrounds in the area as well as many hotels and vacation rentals.  We haven’t tried any of the lodging outside of tent camping around here so please let us know if you have found a good hotel or house that welcomes divers.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

The Lumber Dock at Garibaldi

The lumber dock at Garibaldi is a favorite of many Oregon divers.  It is a mellow, easy dive that is almost always a good bet at high tide even if a storm is raging out on the jetty at Barview.  The water is shallow and there isn’t much current here.  The piers have lots of marine life on them to explore.  Sometimes you can find a crab or two that are of legal size and occasionally a perch will swim by that’s worth spearing although hunting isn’t the main reason to come dive this site.

NWP Photo Contest entry, Scenic/Seasonal, Chris Rauch; Engineering and Construction Division
The commercial dock, crab dock, and lumber dock at Garibaldi all in one photo at sunset.

 

Site Highlights:

A quick note on which dock we’re talking about… There is some confusion online and among our SCUBA friends over exactly which dock at the Port of Girabaldi is the “Lumber Dock” that everyone talks about.  We believe it is the dock farthest to the west along the south riprap wall that is publicly accessible.  Further to the west is the Coast Guard Station and further to the east is what we believe is the “crab dock.”  Even further east is a commercial dock.

The main highlight of this and the other sites at the port is that the conditions here are almost always good.  When the sites further down the bay, such as the Three Graces, or the South Tillamook Bay Jetty, are blown out due to storms, the docks in Garibaldi allow you to still get in the water and have a good dive.  Underwater you’ll find some good marine life on some of the piers and pilings.  There isn’t much else to see at this site so don’t get too excited for great hunting or good marine life viewing.  For what it is though, the lumber dock is a fun little dive.

Nearest Town:

The lumber dock is in the middle of Garibaldi.

GPS Coordinates:

45.554179, -123.915854

Special Directions to Site:

This dive site is at the south end of the Port of Garibaldi.  Head south on 7th Street past the small RV park.  The dive site is just south of the coast guard station helipad.

Parking:

The last time we were here, we could park in the gravel area right in front of the dock.  However, we think that this might be closed off now.  If it is closed off, there is free parking a block north.  Double-check that it’s still free though.  You could try asking at the Port of Garibaldi office just to the east of the dive site about if you can get access to and park right next to the dock with your car.

lumber dock at garibaldi
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The lumber dock at Garibaldi is a good place to go if the weather is too rough to dive the jetty.

Site Orientation:

The dock runs south from the riprap wall and then runs east toward several pilings that are used to tie up ships.  We have never seen a ship unloading here but it is possible that one might be on this dock.  If that’s the case, one of the other docks in Garibaldi is a better choice.

Navigating out to the pilings away from the dock is a fun challenge.  If you keep going south, west, or east beyond the pilings, there isn’t much other than a sand and mud bottom.

Entrances and Exits:

You have to climb over the riprap wall at the base of the dock.  It’s a bit scrambly but not as bad as some of the jetty entrances in Oregon.  It’s a good idea to look at what the better side is when you arrive so you know which way you’re going before you gear up.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

Conditions here are normally pretty good.  It’s rare to have a big wake from a boat in the area.  It’s rarer still to have much wave action.  There can be a little current during the tidal exchange but it’s nothing compared to out on the jetties.  There is boat traffic in the area so it’s a good idea to fly a dive flag.  You also might want to take some dive lights with you to check out the little sea creatures on the pilings.

Normal Visibility:

Depending on what the rivers upstream of Garibaldi are doing, you may have 20+ feet of viz or 5 or less feet of viz.  Usually it seems to be around 10-15 feet.

Normal Temperature:

The water temperature is usually around 50-55F although it can be cooler in the winter with snow melt and cold rain runoff from the Oregon coast range.  In the summer, it can be a bit warmer as well.

Best Time of Year:

You can dive at any time here although you need to dive with the high tide.  At low tide, it’s more of a mud flat than a dive site.

Max Depth:

At a very high tide you might find 25 feet of water at the deepest part of the dive site (south of the dock out in the shipping channel).  You’re more likely to be around 15 feet deep under the dock.

Suggested Special Training:

This is a good site for open water divers to dive right after they’ve been certified.  Aside from the typical Oregon coast jetty scramble, it’s a very easy site to dive.

Difficulty of Dive:

We think this is an easy dive site that anyone can enjoy.  The only real difficulty is getting down to the water.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

Depending on where you can park, you might have to walk 50 feet or maybe up to 1000 feet.

Surface Swim Length:

It’s a good idea to kick out 50 feet along the lumber dock before going down.  That gets you to some deeper water.

Special Site Notes:

This is an active port area.  It’s a good idea to go talk with the port office before hopping in the water.   If there is a ship tied up at the lumber dock, you shouldn’t dive this dock.

Fly a dive flag and bring a light along so you’re safe while you’re exploring and you can check out all the little life on the piers.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There used to be a place in Garibaldi where you could get an air fill.  We think it closed a few years back.  There also used to be a place in Tillamook but it appears to have closed, too.  The closest reliable sources for air fills and gear servicing are in Astoria and Portland.  It’s a good idea to be self-sufficient in the Tillamook Bay so you aren’t spending hours driving back and forth to Portland.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

There are plenty of good restaurants all around the bay.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

We haven’t tried any of the hotels in the area but there is plenty of camping (including RV sites right by the dive site!) around the area.  If you go back into the forest in the right places, you can primitive camp, too.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Depoe Bay Boat Ramp

The boat ramp at Depoe Bay is a good place to check gear out before diving offshore.  If conditions are lousy, you can spend an enjoyable hour searching around underwater for cast off junk from the industries that have occupied the world’s smallest harbor.

depoe bay
The boat ramp in Depoe Bay is a good place to check your gear out before going for a dive offshore.

Site Highlights:

Even though the site is shallow, you can enjoy some time underwater here testing out gear.  There is a fair amount of junk underwater left from the old businesses that used to be around the harbor.

Nearest Town:

The boat ramp is right in the middle of Depoe Bay.

GPS Coordinates:

44.808141, -124.060102

Special Directions to Site:

From US101, take  Schoolhouse Street east and then then turn left onto Shell Avenue.  The boat ramp and parking are right at the end of the road.

Parking:

There usually is plenty of parking here.  Just make sure not to occupy boat trailer parking.  We haven’t had to pay here before but double check the signs to make sure something hasn’t changed.

depoe bay boat ramp
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The boat ramp is a bit cramped and shallow. You could explore more to the north although there is a lot of junk underwater and some old line.

Site Orientation:

Head south to get out of the water.  Head north in search of deeper water.  We suggest you stay out from underneath the boats.  Along the western edge of the harbor there is a lot of junk underwater.  Don’t get entangled in anything!

Entrances and Exits:

You can get in right at the boat ramp or over the little jetty to the right of the boat ramp.  It’s an easy entrance/exit.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

Depoe Bay is very protected once you’re inside the channel.  Watch out for boat traffic.  It isn’t a bad idea to have someone on the shore to let boaters know you’re underwater.  This harbor is pretty tight to fly a dive flag but it isn’t a bad idea.  We have a favorite flag we use all over Oregon on our Gear We Use page.

Normal Visibility:

Usually you’ll get 5-10 feet of viz here.  The bottom can get stirred up especially on the right side of the dive site where the little creek comes into the harbor.

Normal Temperature:

It can be between 45 and 65F depending on the time of year and how shallow you go.

Best Time of Year:

Water conditions are usually better in the winter than summer but you can dive this site at any time of year.

Max Depth:

If you go north far enough, you might find 20 feet of water but usually you’re going to be in about 10 feet of water.  Buoyancy control is critical here.

Suggested Special Training:

Open water divers can dive here but be careful with underwater entanglement hazards and sunken machinery.  It’s a good idea to carry a good dive knife and line cutter.

Difficulty of Dive:

This is a pretty easy dive but be careful of entanglement hazards.  Boat traffic can also be an issue.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

50 feet is usual but 150 feet could happen if you have to park a ways away.

Surface Swim Length:

No real surface swim is necessary here.

Special Site Notes:

Be careful of underwater entanglement hazards.  Also watch for boat traffic.

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There used to be a dive shop in Depoe Bay but it was in the process of closing when we were last at this site (February 2017).  However, they may still be giving air fills.

Otherwise, you need to head up to Astoria, down to Port Orford, or inland to Portland, Salem, or Eugene to get an air fill and have gear serviced.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

Tidal Raves has absolutely outstanding food and a great ocean view. Gracie’s Sea Hag has the best clam chowder on the entire Oregon coast.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

South of Depoe Bay is Beverly Beach State Park where there is good camping.  We haven’t tried any of the hotels in the area so please let us know if you have stayed at one that is SCUBA friendly!

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Newport – South Jetty – First Finger

The first finger of the Newport South Jetty does not see very many SCUBA divers but if you are in for a fun and challenging test of your buoyancy skills, the shallow dive site is a great place to look for crabs at the right time of year.  Sometimes seals or sea lions will come and visit you while you’re diving here, too.  This dive site is so big that it is a good thing it’s such a shallow dive because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to dive it on one tank.

The first finger is close to the Yaquina Bay Bridge on US101 in Newport, Oregon.  The channel marker in the center of this photo is next to the end of the first finger.

Site Highlights:

The highlight of this SCUBA site for us is searching for crabs in low visibility conditions common on the first finger.  While many divers love the 100-200 foot visibility of Clear Lake, we enjoy low viz from time to time.  Anyone who dives in Oregon and calls themselves a Pacific Northwest diver will know that we can have all sorts of visibility conditions, especially on the Oregon coast.

This dive site is much quieter than the other fingers along the South Jetty but curious harbor seals and very occasionally a sea lion will come up to divers here to investigate what you are doing on the first finger.  We have had our fins nipped once or twice by playful harbor seals.  We have not met up with a sea lion underwater yet but maybe someday soon we’ll see one under the waves.

For those with good navigation skills, a visit to the channel marker to the west of the first finger can be a fun challenge.  There is some sea life on the base of the marker tower.

Nearest Town:

Newport, Oregon.

GPS Coordinates:

44.617422, -124.057731

Special Directions to Site:

Take the US101 exit toward the aquarium and then turn west onto Southwest Jetty Way.

Parking:

The first finger has limited parking on the north side of the road.  Only a few cars can fit here.  Luckily we have usually found the dive site to be quiet and with only one or two vehicles parked there.  Otherwise, you will have to walk quite a distance along the jetty road from other parking.

First finger dive site overview
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google. The first finger is a very large dive site compared to most of the dive sites in Newport. The channel marker to the west of the finger can make a fun navigation challenge.

Site Orientation:

The site runs generally north-south with the channel marker being west of the end of the first finger.  The entire site is very shallow and requires excellent neutral buoyancy skills to stay underwater.  For this reason, we recommend this site for anyone who wants to really hone their neutral buoyancy skills.

At the tip of the first finger, you can encounter some current although only when the tide is really running into or out of the bay.  Because of how shallow the site is, it is really only good for SCUBA divers at high tide.

Seals sometimes haul themselves out on the rocks at the tip of the first finger.  We have also seen the odd sea lion on the end of the rocks.

The South Jetty at the base of the first finger is also a good spot to check out if you have more air to burn and the tide hasn’t gone out too much yet.

Entrances and Exits:

There are two primary entrances and exits, and one secondary entrance and exit.  The two primary sites are at the base of the first finger.  The secondary site is right off the western parking area.  All of the entrances and exits are difficult due to having to climb over the jetty rocks.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.  While you can maneuver a boat into this area, the water is pretty shallow and when the tide goes out, this area can become an exposed mud flat.

Normal Conditions:

Usually the first finger is a calm dive site.  When all of the other fingers on the South Jetty are blown out due to surf and surge, the first finger is still diveable.  However, in those conditions visibility can be almost zero.

There is boat traffic in this area occasionally from shallow draft little boats putting crab pots out.  It’s wise to fly a dive flag and move it with you as you swim along underwater.  We have our favorite dive flag that we use listed on our Gear We Use page.

Normal Visibility:

At this dive site, we occasionally get 15 feet of visibility but usually more like 5-10 feet.  When water is pumping out of the Yaquina River or during a storm, visibility can be zero.

In certain areas of this dive site, we have encountered blackout conditions from stirring up the bottom.  In other areas, the bottom is sandy and will not stir up.

Normal Temperature:

This dive site fluctuates between 42F and 50F throughout the year.

Best Time of Year:

We prefer diving this site in Fall, Winter, and Spring although a SCUBA diver can enjoy the site year round.  The absolute best time to dive the site is at a very high tide.

Max Depth:

If you take a shovel with you and go to the end of the first finger, you can hit 20 to 25 feet at a very high tide but most of the site is more like 15 feet deep.

Suggested Special Training:

Open water divers can dive this site.  However, the shallow depth makes this a challenging site if you don’t have your neutral buoyancy skills on point.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an intermediate dive because of the difficult entry and exit over the jetty rocks and the challenge neutral buoyancy control.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

If you can get close parking, you only have to climb over about 25-50 feet of jetty rocks.  If you have to park far away, you’re in for a bit of a hike.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed here.

Special Site Notes:

This site absolutely must be dived at high tide.  Anything less than high tide and you won’t have enough water to go diving in.

We suggest bringing along a flashlight to look in all of the little nooks and crannies along the jetty rocks on the first finger.  We have our tried and trusted dive lights that we recommend on our Gear We Use page.

[Underwater Map of Dive Site Coming Soon!]

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There is a local dive shop in the South Beach area of Newport where you can get air fills, dive gear, rental gear, and some repair services.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

Both north and south bayfronts in Newport have good food and good brew pubs.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

We have camped at the South Beach State Park several times while diving.  It is a good place for SCUBA divers to base themselves while they are diving up and down the central Oregon coast.  The campground also has great yurts for rent.

We have not tried any of the hotels in Newport.  If you have and you know of one that is friendly to divers, please let us know!

South Beach State Park has great yurts that SCUBA divers can rent. The heaters in the yurts really are nice after a long day of diving around Newport.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!

Newport – South Jetty – Second Finger

The second finger on Newport’s South Jetty is a great site is a little bit deeper than the first finger and is smaller than the third finger.  There is plenty of  life on the jetty rocks that stick out into the Yaquina River’s exit to the sea.  SCUBA divers are rewarded diving this site by abundant marine life.  We have found many nudibranchs here over the years.  Good crabbing and spearfishing are also to be had on the second finger in the right conditions.

Photo from the second finger on the south newport jetty
The view from the second finger on the South Jetty at Newport is spectacular on a clear day.

Site Highlights:

The main highlight on the second finger is the swarm of micro life.  We have found many nudibranchs here.  If you are patient and go slow, you will be richly rewarded with all sorts of interesting creatures revealing themselves.  If you’re more into crabbing or spear fishing, at the right time of year this SCUBA diving site can be very productive.  This is also a good place to go if the fingers closer to the ocean (fifth, fourth, and third) are too rough due to ocean conditions or are too busy with fishermen and crabbers or other SCUBA divers.

Nearest Town:

Newport, Oregon

GPS Coordinates:

44.616403 N, -124.060984 W

Special Directions to Site:

From US101, take the aquarium exit and follow signs to South Jetty and Southwest Jetty Road.

Parking:

Parking right next to the second finger dive site is a little limited but we have never had trouble finding a place to squeeze in.  Park on the north side of the road in the sand.

Second finger dive site map
Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google. The second finger on the south Newport jetty is a fun little place to play around and hunt for fish.

Site Orientation:

The second finger, while short and stubby, is still aligned roughly north-south like all of the other fingers on the Newport South Jetty.  Only a few kick cycles are needed to reach the end of the second finger.  We prefer to dive this site very slowly to look at all of the tiny marine organisms that call the second finger jetty rocks home.  If you want to go faster, combining this dive with the third finger can make for a longer underwater swim.

Entrances and Exits:

While you can climb over the jetty rocks almost anywhere, we find it is easiest to enter and exit right at the base of the second finger where it joins the jetty.  Be sure to scope out the way to the entrance before you don your gear to make sure you know where you will go once you have 100 lbs of SCUBA gear on.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.  We don’t recommend trying to dive this site with a boat because the site is shallow and really isn’t worth the trouble of putting a boat in at the marina in Newport.

Normal Conditions:

This site will often have a little surge but nothing nearly as bad as out on the fifth finger.  We have encountered a little current at the tip of the second finger when we are diving way off tide but the third and first fingers protect the second finger from the majority of the tidal currents in Yaquina Bay.

Normal Visibility:

This site usually maxes out in the best conditions at 15 feet of visibility.  If you try diving it at low tide, aside from being in only a few feet of water, you will also find there to be almost no visibility due to the water being pumped out of the Yaquina River on the way to the ocean.  On stormy days in the ocean, this site sometimes has about five feet of visibility but most SCUBA divers going to the second finger will find around 10 feet of visibility.  Remember to keep your buddy close!

Normal Temperature:

We have gone diving here when the water was 42F and when the water was 50F.  Seasonal temperature variation in the ocean and the amount of water flowing out of the Yaquina River change the water temperature you are likely to see at this site.

Best Time of Year:

We prefer diving this site in the spring and fall although the winter is also good at this site.  In the summer, we usually don’t dive the second finger because we generally focus our attention further out toward the ocean where conditions are usually favorable for SCUBA divers in the summer months.

Max Depth:

We once found 30 feet of water here at an extremely high tide but usually you will find a depth of about 20-25 feet at high tide at the tip of the stubby little second finger dive site.

Suggested Special Training:

Open water divers successfully dive this site although the entrance and exit are a challenge due to having to crawl over the jetty rocks.  For this reason, taking an advanced open water course or doing a discover local diving trip with experienced divemasters or instructors may help you dive this site more comfortably.

Difficulty of Dive:

We rate this as an intermediate dive because of the entrance and exit.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

If you get good parking, you will only have to climb over 50 feet of jetty rocks.

Surface Swim Length:

There is no surface swim necessary at this dive site.

Special Site Notes:

If you try diving this site at anything other than high tide, you won’t find enough water to have much of a dive.  We like taking a good dive light with us to look in all of the cracks and crevices of the jetty rocks that make up the second finger dive site.  There is a lot of great micro marine life that has wonderful colors with good illumination from a dive light.

[Underwater Map of Dive Site Coming Soon!]

Closest Local Dive Shops to Get Air Fills and SCUBA Gear:

There is a local dive shop in the South Beach area of Newport that does air fills, services gear, and has a limited selection of new and rental equipment.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

Both the north and south bayfronts of Newport offer a lot of great dining and some good breweries and pubs, too.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

We have camped several times in the South Beach State Park campground.  The yurts at the campground are great to rent in the winter when the air is cold and damp.  We haven’t stayed in any of the hotels in Newport but if you have and can recommend a diver-friendly hotel, let us know!

South Beach State Park has great yurts that SCUBA divers can rent. The heaters in the yurts really are nice after a long day of diving around Newport.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

Please write in the comments below your experiences with this dive site!