Angel's Dive Log
Beach 8th Street, Queens on 5/9/2016
May 9, 2016, 12:00 AM
It pains me to write this review about a location that has always held a special place for me. My original open water certification was done here at Beach 8th/9th when Almost Paradise was still open and since those first dives I have gone back there too many times to count both for fun and to work classes as a DM. My first experience there was not what I would call the best. I was a little disconcerted by the current and the low visibility. I wondered, like many students after me, WTF?! I was, and is, such a convenient site for me though that I could not help but go back and I was so glad I did. The variety of life, both plant and fish, is astounding and the night dives there are amazing. I saw my first sea horse there, shown to me by my buddy Cosmo, and was so surprised I almost spit the regulator out of my mouth. I have liberated black fish that were caught on lines that were snagged on rocks or even the cages. I have seen horseshoe crabs getting busy (and left them to their business). My first experience with bio-luminescence was there and that was a very special night dive as it was when I first met my wife Christine. I have been on night dives there and seen so many spider crabs that they looked like a blanket covering the bottom. I would always tell students that they needed to keep an open mind. That it was not always dark and ominous. My buddy Cosmo and I did one dive there on a Memorial Day where the visibility was more than 40 feet (I kid you not). It was a gorgeous day and the beach was packed with bathers and divers and yet when we stood on the shore we could actually see the cages!!! Not your typical conditions for this location but there you have it. Divers will complain about the cold but I have dove there in August with only a 3mm and been more than comfortable. So... you may be asking yourselves at this point why my review begins as it does. Unfortunately Beach 8th has undergone quite a change. Ever since Sandy paid us her visit the site is no longer as it was. I cannot say if it was simply a result of Sandy or it has to do with the dumping that goes on nearby or what the reason might be but the result has been drastic. The bottom composition is now a fine silt that becomes a dark and eerie cloud if one gets too close. The visibility, which could be anywhere from 4 to 40 feet depending on the day you were there, has now become a sad memory. My last dive there was 1/1/16. Our Club's New Year's Day dive. My buddy Don Preus and I went in to welcome in the New Year as we have often done in the past and were saddened by the visibility which was somewhere in the neighborhood of a whopping 3 inches. Ouch! And this, unfortunately, has become the norm rather than the exception. I don't know if this will eventually change. I certainly hope so but in the meantime I will always have fond memories of the Beach 8th/9th that was and that showed me so much of her wonderful beauty.