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!

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.


.

 

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!

Florence – North Jetty End of the Road Parking Lot

The north jetty on the Siuslaw River at Florence is a great place to do some diving on the Oregon Coast.  At the west parking lot near the observation tower, a short jetty scramble leads to good spearfishing and crabbing.  If you plan your dive with the tide, you can drift dive this site riding the tide out from the SCUBA Park to the east or head that direction if you ride the tide in.

North Jetty in Florence, Oregon
The western parking lot along the north jetty at Florence is a more difficult entrance and exit than the SCUBA park to the east but is a quieter dive site and often has good spearfishing. “North Jetty in Florence, Oregon” by Rick Obst is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

Site Highlights:

The main reason we dive this site is to go spearfishing and crabbing.  While Crab Hole further east on the north jetty gets fished all the time, the further west part of the north jetty gets less hunting.  We have done some drift dives here as well where we follow the tide back toward Florence.

Nearest Town:

Florence, Oregon is just up the north jetty.

GPS Coordinates:

44.018318, -124.137102

Special Directions to Site:

From US101, head west on 35th Street.  Take a right on Rhododendron Drive then take a left on North Jetty Drive.  Follow North Jetty Drive all the way to the end.

Parking:

There is usually plenty of free parking right by the jetty.  Check the signs to make sure the situation hasn’t changed, but we’ve never paid for parking here.

Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
There are a lot of options to dive this site. You can hop in at the SCUBA Park entrance and ride the tide as a drift dive to an exit at the west parking lot on the Florence north jetty. Or you can stick close to the west parking lot. Or you can head for the ocean and hop out along the jetty and walk back across the sand.

Site Orientation:

The site runs east-west.  Stick close to the jetty rocks.  We haven’t found much of interest out in the channel other than a bunch of sand.

As you get further west, conditions deteriorate.  The dive becomes more advanced the closer to the tip of the jetty you get.

If you run this as a drift dive, you can drift all the way back to Crab Hole.  Watch for the big underwater pipe that marks the exit through the fish ladder.

Entrances and Exits:

The main entrance/exit here is over the jetty at the parking lot.  If you end up out toward the end of the jetty, you can hop out and walk back on the beach.  If you head in toward Crab Hole, you can get out at the fish ladder.  Just watch for the pipe underwater that leads to the exit.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

The further to the west you go, the rougher the conditions will get.  At the entrance, you’ll probably find surf and some surge.  Further to the west, you’ll run into much rougher conditions unless the sea is calm.  Breakers routinely crash over the north jetty at the Y-shaped tip.

The current can really rip going into or out of the Siuslaw River.  If you plan your dive right, you can do a great drift dive from the parking lot in toward Crab Hole and then back out again to the parking lot.  If you’re diving around low tide, you could head out on the last ebb of the low tide and then get pushed back into the river by the inrushing tide.  However, this is a more advanced dive.

Normal Visibility:

We usually get 15-20 feet of visibility here.  The bottom is heavy sand and doesn’t easily get stirred up.

Normal Temperature:

We’ve seen anywhere between 45F and 55F depending on the time of year.

Best Time of Year:

The water is usually calmer in the summer and fall here but the site is diveable any time of the year assuming that water conditions aren’t too rough.  If they are too rough, try Crab Hole, or the Woahink west or east boat ramps.

Max Depth:

It’s usually around 35 feet deep at the bottom of the jetty although depending on what the Army Corps of Engineers is doing with dredging the center channel, the depth can vary.

Suggested Special Training:

It would be a good idea to have advanced open water training for this site.  The eastern part of the site is diveable by less experienced divers but the western part of the site requires a lot of experience diving on Oregon jetties.

Difficulty of Dive:

We consider this an intermediate dive as long as you stay far enough inside the jetty.  If you head west toward the tip, this becomes a very advanced and difficult dive.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

You can usually find parking right next to the jetty but sometimes you might have to walk 200 feet.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed here.

Special Site Notes:

Conditions can deteriorate rapidly at this dive site.  The further west you go, the worse it can get.  Be sure you know what you’re doing here.  Don’t get sucked out to sea or pushed way up in the bay.

We suggest flying a dive flag while you’re diving case anyone with a small boat ventures over toward the jetty to check out your bubbles.  We have a dive flag we love and use all the time around Oregon over 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 used to be an air fill station in Florence but we heard that it is now closed.  The closest place to get a full service on SCUBA gear and air fills is now Eugene.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

Florence’s old town on the waterfront has a lot of great restaurants.  River otters along the Siuslaw River provide some great entertainment, too.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are several state campgrounds in the area that we have stayed at.  We haven’t tried any of the local hotels so please let us know if you know of a good place for divers to stay the night.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

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

Woahink Lake West Boat Ramp and Bridge

The west boat ramp by the bridge on Woahink Lake is a dive that just about every one of our SCUBA friends in Oregon has done at least once.  It is a popular place for training dives and a fun place to rinse gear in fresh water after diving at the SCUBA park on the Florence jetty.  While the site is relatively small and visibility can be poor, people keep coming back here because of the quirky things left underwater by other divers.  Everyone always seems to mention the KISS concert whenever they talk about this site.

Site Highlights:

The reason that we come to this site is to see what new things have been added to the treasure trove of random stuff that divers have left underwater.  Someone posed figurines of the band KISS into a mini concert on the north side of the dive site.  There’s a toilet or two with funny things in the bowls.  On the south end, we heard there might be a sunken model submarine.

Nearest Town:

Florence, Oregon is just up the road from the dive site.

GPS Coordinates:

43.929335, -124.102980

Special Directions to Site:

Look for the signs for Jessie M. Honeyman State Park.  Turn east onto Canary Road.  Immediately after the first small bridge, park on the right.

Parking:

There is minimal parking at this site.  One big dive group will take up all the space.  The site is often popular with SCUBA classes for Open Water courses so it’s a good idea to have some backup sites in mind like the East Boat Ramp at Woahink or the SCUBA Park on the North Jetty.

Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google.
The little SCUBA park that has been made at the old west boat ramp at Woahink Lake is a fun spot to spend a dive or two looking at all of the odd things people have left underwater.

Site Orientation:

The site runs more or less north-south.  There are a few things just north of the bridge but heading further up this finger of Woahink Lake won’t lead to anything interesting other than a few fallen trees.  To the south past the submarine, you will find deeper water but not much else.

Entrances and Exits:

The old boat ramp at the southeast corner of the bridge is an easy entrance.  The last time we were here, there was a bit of a step down from the asphalt to the water but it wasn’t too bad.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

Conditions here are usually very benign.  If an open water SCUBA class just got out of the water, visibility will be lousy though.

Normal Visibility:

If no one has gone diving at the site in the last day, we usually get 10-15 feet of viz at the west boat ramp in Woahink Lake.  However, the bottom stirs up very easily and can reduce visibility to less than 5 feet.  This is a good place to practice neutral buoyancy.

Normal Temperature:

Usually it’s between 48 and 56F here although we have seen it a little colder and a little warmer depending on the time of year.

Best Time of Year:

Any time of the year is a good time to go diving at Woahink Lake.

Max Depth:

We’ve hit 30 feet on the south side of this dive site but most of the site is a bit shallower.

Suggested Special Training:

You can dive this site as soon as you have your open water diving certification.

Difficulty of Dive:

This is a pretty easy dive.  There are a few submerged trees that you could get tangled in at the edges of the dive site but otherwise there aren’t any significant hazards that we’re aware of.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

If you have to park at the farthest parking spot, you might have to walk 200 feet.  At the closest spot, you’ll need to walk about 50 feet.

Surface Swim Length:

No surface swim is needed at this Woahink Lake dive site.

Special Site Notes:

This site gets a LOT of use from regional SCUBA shops.  If a class is using the west boat ramp on Woahink Lake, go try the east boat ramp or the SCUBA park on the north jetty.

[Underwater Map of Dive Site Coming Soon!]

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

There used to be a fill station in Florence but we recently heard (February 2017) that it is no longer operating.  The closest place to get an air fill or gear service is in Eugene.  Port Orford to the south or Depoe Bay to the north also may still have air fill stations.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

There are a lot of good places to eat along the old waterfront in Florence.  We usually see river otters playing on the riverbank there, too!

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are several state campgrounds in the area that are a good place to base yourself for a few days of diving in Florence.  We haven’t tried any of the hotels so please let us know if you have a favorite that is good for divers.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

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

Florence – North Jetty SCUBA Park and Crab Hole

Crab Hole at the Florence north jetty SCUBA park is one of those dives that just about every SCUBA diver in Oregon has done at least once.  Many people do their last one or two open water certification dives at the SCUBA park.  Lots of people come over for an afternoon of diving from Eugene or a weekend of fun in Florence from Portland.  The very easy diver-friendly entrance, the relatively protected inner area of the dive site, and the plentiful crabs out in Crab Hole make it an excellent place to have some fun.  Even when the parking lot is full of divers, the site is big enough to accommodate everyone.

florence entrance
The entrance at the Florence Dive Park and Crab Hole is custom-made for SCUBA divers. Sometimes a little debris gets washed up into the top of the old fish ladder but it usually isn’t too bad.

Site Highlights:

This site has something for everyone.  Most people will first mention Crab Hole, a feature of the jetty construction where there is a small semi-circular hole in the bottom that crabs congregate in by the mesh bag full.  Many people will mention how easy the entrance and exit is.  An old fish ladder was installed at the site specifically to make it easier for SCUBA divers to get into and out of the water.  There isn’t an easier place to reach the water on any of the jetties in Oregon that we know of.  We also love looking at all of the micro marine life at this site.  There are a few protected spots that you can mostly get out of the current to go slow and check out nudibranchs, hermit crabs, barnacles, and other tiny things.

Nearest Town:

Florence, Oregon

GPS Coordinates:

44.016220, -124.131106

Special Directions to Site:

It’s a little tricky finding this site without a GPS or navigation map on your phone.  If you plug in the GPS coordinates listed above, your smart device will take you right to the site.

Otherwise, take 35th Street west from US101 in Florence.  Turn right onto Rhododendron Drive.  Turn left onto North Jetty Road.

Take the first left off of North Jetty Road into the large parking area.

Parking:

Parking has always been free and plentiful here.  It is not uncommon to see several of the dive shops from the Willamette Valley have their trailers parked here while they run classes at the dive site.

Imagery ©2017 Google, Map data ©2017 Google. An easy entrance, a bounty of crabs, and lots of parking — this dive site has it all! Crab Hole and the Florence SCUBA Park is a great place to go diving and get experience on the jetties of Oregon.

 

Site Orientation:

The site runs from southeast to northwest.  The entrance is roughly in the middle of the dive site.  There is a big old pipe underwater that is a good marker for knowing where to surface to take your exit.  Crab hole is roughly south from the entrance.

If you get too far out into the shipping channel not only will you find nothing but sand but you will also potentially find strong current and shipping traffic.

Entrances and Exits:

This is one of the easiest entrance/exit setups on the whole Oregon Coast.  No other jetty has it this easy.  You walk down some stairs into the old fish ladder where there are some benches you can sit on while you do final gear checks.  Then step out of the end of the old fish ladder into the water, put your fins and mask on, and away you go!  Just about anyone can do this dive site.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a salt water dive.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive.

Normal Conditions:

Conditions here are usually good.  Occasionally there is some surge but it is rare.  Very occasionally a big storm can push wood and other debris up into the entrance area.  We once did not dive here because some big logs were rolling around right where we wanted to dive.

Nine times out of ten, this site is just fine to go diving.

logs in the water
In really bad storms, logs and other debris can find their way into the entrance area at the Florence SCUBA Park and Crab Hole. On days like these, we usually go to a different site in Florence rather than deal with the hassle of logs.

There is some current that you need to deal with especially on the western side of this dive site.  This is a good place to practice dealing with current on a jetty.

In crab hole itself, the current can swirl around in an unexpected way that can be disorienting to some people.  Be sure to watch your compass so that you can stay oriented with the jetty.

Normal Visibility:

Usually we get about 15 feet of visibility when we go diving here.  The bottom is sandy and can’t really be stirred up.  On a rare day with a very big high tide, you might push 20 feet of visibility.

Normal Temperature:

It’s usually between 45 and 55F here.

Best Time of Year:

This site can be dived all year long.  Crab Hole always has crab in it but check local crabbing regulations and make sure you have your permits in order.

Max Depth:

We have hit 55 feet in Crab Hole before.  Most of the site is around 40 feet though.

Suggested Special Training:

We have watched many open water divers finish their training dives here.  This site is accessible to anyone who is certified to go SCUBA diving in open water.

Difficulty of Dive:

This is an easy dive suitable for beginners who are freshly certified and for people who don’t like the physically demanding entries at other jetties on the Oregon Coast.  The only difficult part is the current can kick up and make your dive a little more strenuous.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

20 feet if you get the best parking spot.

Surface Swim Length:

None unless you want to for some reason.

Special Site Notes:

It’s a good idea to fly a dive flag here to let boaters in the area know that you’re underwater.  A flashlight is a good idea when you’re in Crab Hole hunting for crabs and to peer in between the jetty boulders.  A good mesh bag is what you need to put crabs in.  We have our favorites for all of these gear items listed on our Gear We Use page.

The site can get very busy with divers.  Be sure you know what your buddy looks like underwater and stick close together.  We have seen it happen more than once where a buddy pair will surface with different buddies than when they started the dive!

[Underwater Map of Dive Site Coming Soon!]

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

There used to be a local dive shop in Florence although we haven’t been by in a couple years to confirm if it is still in operation.  The last time we were in, you could get air fills and very limited SCUBA gear.

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

The old waterfront in Florence has some great seafood restaurants that we like.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are several camping areas around Florence that the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Bureau runs.

We haven’t tried any of the local hotels yet.  Please let us know if there is a good hotel in town that is SCUBA friendly that you have tried!

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

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

Florence – Woahink Lake East Boat Ramp

The Woahink Lake east boat ramp near Florence, Oregon is a great place to go if you want to use up some air in your tanks after diving the north jetty on the Siulsaw River (either the SCUBA park or further out on the jetty), you want to rinse your gear off in fresh water, you need to test some new equipment out in a forgiving environment, or you want to work on some skills.  The site is used often by local dive shops for open water and rescue diver courses although the site is big enough to accommodate several large groups diving at the same time.  Visibility is usually 20 feet before the water gets stirred up.  The bottom has a lot of silt that is easy to stir up and reduce visibility down to 5-10 feet.  The silt settles quickly though.  The main attractions at this site are a jumble of logs off to the right of the boat ramp and a sunken kayak a few hundred feet in front of the boat ramp.

Woahink Lake East Boat Ramp Area.
There are several conveniently located picnic tables next to the parking lot where you can assemble your equipment and gear up. If you have a larger group, part of the group can stay on shore here cooking lunch or heating up water for hot chocolate while the rest of your group is diving.

Site Highlights:

The main highlights of this site are the pickup sticks pile of sunken logs on the south side of the dive site and the intentionally sunken kayak out at the eastern edge of the dive site.  There is a variety of life that you might see such as crayfish, trout, the occasional freshwater shrimp, and loads of newts and salamanders.  If you dive around the boat ramp, you might find some gear dropped overboard from boaters.

Nearest Town:

Florence, Oregon

GPS Coordinates:

43.927329 N, -124.097511 W

 

Special Directions to Site:

The road to the dive site is clearly signed from US101.  If you are driving south on US101 from Florence, there is a center turn lane that makes turning left across traffic easier.  If you’re driving south on US101 and you see a lake off to your left, you’ve gone too far.  If you’re driving north on US101 and you see a light commercial/industrial park on your right, you’ve gone too far.

Look for signs for the Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park and Canary Road.  Once you’re heading east on Canary Road, you will cross two small bridges.  After the second small bridge, take the first right.  If you cross a third larger bridge, you’ve gone too far.  You will drive down into a parking area.  Stay to the left where the road forks.  There is car parking along the eastern side of the lot (closest to the boat ramp).  We usually park under the trees next to the picnic tables.

Parking:

In the fall, winter, and spring we have never had trouble finding ample parking on the weekends.  We have not gone diving in the summer at this site so we can’t report on how packed it gets on hot summer days.  Day use parking is $5/vehicle.

Woahink Lake East Boat Ramp Site Overview.
Imagery © 2017 Google, Map data © 2017 Google.

Site Orientation:

The dive site is roughly oriented on N-S-E-W compass bearings.  When in doubt, head west and you will find the shore.  The jumble of sunken logs is due west of the big tree circled in orange in the image above.

Entrances and Exits:

The entrances and exits that we normally use require some careful foot placement to step up and down from the bank to the small beaches at each entrance point.  For those who have trouble with the big steps, you can enter and exit at the boat ramp assuming that there is no boater traffic.  It would be worthwhile to talk with a State Parks employee to ask for permission if you are using the boat ramp as an entrance and exit.

Salt/Fresh:

This is a fresh water dive and is perfect for rinsing your gear after diving at the jetty in Florence.

Shore/Boat:

This is a shore dive although you could practice your boat diving skills here if you wanted.

Normal Conditions:

The lake is usually calm and quiet.  Boaters can add a level of complexity and you should post a dive flag .

Normal Visibility:

Usually you get 10-20 feet of visibility, depending on if it’s been raining lately and if sediment has washed in from the surrounding streams.  If you stir up the silt on the bottom, things can go down to 1-3 feet pretty quickly.  However, all you need to do is swim a little bit in any direction and you’ll be back in clearer water.  The silt settles back down to 5-10 feet of visibility after a few minutes and the visibility goes back to normal after a half hour or so.

Normal Temperature:

We have seen water temperatures here as low as 43F and as high as 52F.  Very occasionally you might experience a thermocline in the top foot or two of the water column if it has been heavily raining.  Diving in a dry suit with proper thermals or a 7mm farmer john-style wet suit is appropriate at this site.  We know a guy who used to dive here without a hood but we’d recommend full neoprene protection from the cold.

Best Time of Year:

Fall, winter, and spring are all great times of year to dive this site.  The park is quiet and you often will have the place to yourself.  If a SCUBA class is at this site, try the Woahink Lake west boat ramp or the Woahink sunken train wreck.

Max Depth:

If you really search for it, you can hit 40 feet by burying your gauge in the muck in a couple places at this dive site.  Normally you will hit between 25 and 35 feet depending on what part of the site you visit.

Suggested Special Training:

This site is appropriate for open water divers after they have completed their checkout dives and have been certified.

Difficulty of Dive:

This dive site is easy to dive.  Woahink Lake provides an excellent place for SCUBA divers of any physical ability.

Distance of Walk to Entrance:

From the parking lot to the entrance, you have about 150 to 200 feet to walk.  You descend down a gentle hill.  There is a big step down from the bank to the beach although you can use the boat ramp to enter if the step is too much for you.

Surface Swim Length:

You can wade out about 20 feet from shore to start your dive or kick out another 50 feet to descend down to about 15-20 feet deep.

Special Site Notes:

Watch for boat traffic especially in the summer.  A dive flashlight could be useful to look under logs for newts and salamanders.

[Underwater Map of Dive Site Coming Soon!]

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

There used to be a shop in Florence although we can’t confirm at this point if it is still open for business.  Please contact us if you know of any local shops for air fills and SCUBA gear!

Nearby Restaurants We Like:

The old town area of Florence has several good seafood restaurants.  Along the riverfront you can sometimes spot a group of river otters playing on the banks.

Nearby Places to Camp and Diver-Friendly Hotels:

There are several state park campgrounds near the dive site.  We have not tried any of the hotels in Florence yet.  If you know of a good place to stay, please contact us.

What Other People Have to Say About This Site:

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