On the surface, this secluded little cove is a beautiful place. A mile east of the cove is picturesque Thatcher Island with its twin lighthouses. There’s a sand beach, a rocky headland, and a tangle of narrow footpaths winding through the brush to the water. Parking is difficult but this is a consistently good dive.
Entry and exit are most easily made from the sand beach. From here, swim straight out along the right side of the cove, where a line of ledge and large rocks meets a gently sloping gravel bottom. If you move out from the side into the middle of the cove, depths become shallow enough to stand up in. Out beyond the right point, though, approximately 100 yards offshore, rocks and boulders get larger, and the ledge becomes far more interesting. Large cracks snake through it and medium-sized boulders are all around. Farther offshore, the bottom becomes sandier with small to medium-sized boulders still scattered about. Depths reach 40-45 feet. The site hosts numerous invertebrate species and fishlife. This is a nice dive.
[caption id="attachment_576" align="alignright" width="300"] View looking southwest from the point. The best entry is from the beach by the kayaks to the left of the frame.[/caption]
There's a short walk from the dropoff area to the beach. Entry and exit are made over sand and are relatively easy. The site can also be approached from the eastern side of the point via the path at the end of Old Penzance Road. This entry is over slippery rocky ledges and is not recommended unless you have ample experience with entry over hazardous ledges. The area east of the point does feature a picnic table, scenic vistas, and some excellent tide pools that will keep non-divers entertained.
The site can be rough when the wind blows out of an easterly direction or from the north.
The protected beach makes this site accessible in all but the worst weather. If you opt for the entry east of the point be very careful managing your footing on the extremely slippery rocks.
Underwater you'll find a number of old steel cables that could cause entanglement if you let accessories drag. Make sure to keep your gear tidy and keep clear of these hazards, especially if you're focused on retrieving the lobsters that reside in the numerous caverns and crags in the rocks at this site.
Parking at Loblolly and on the surrounding streets is all restricted to residents. The most practical approach is to drop gear at Loblolly, park at Pebble Beach, and then walk the half-mile back to the Cove. Make sure to bring fresh water to stay hydrated before and after your dive, you'll need to walk all the way back to your vehicle after the dive for a round trip of over a mile.
There is free parking on the western end of Penzance road along Pebble Beach. There is a sign that marks the resident only section about half-way down. If you plan to dive Loblolly, park as close to this sign as possible to shorten your walk.
Note, Penzance road is marked with a do-not enter sign at the eastern end (closest to Loblolly) so it is effectively one-way. If you're navigating in your car, the software may not be aware of this restriction so make sure to approach from the west. Penzance road has a tendency to be washed out in winter storms and you may have to move to an alternative site if this is the case. Make sure to check on the road access prior to dropping gear at Loblolly!
Jerry Shine provided much of the written dive site content on the shore diving sites around New England from his 2005 publication: A Shore Diving Guide to New England which is currently out-of-print. His 2017 publication A Year Underwater: Twelve Months of Diving, Fraternizing with Marine Life, and Just Having a Great Time, from the St. Lawrence River to West Palm Beach is available for purchase on Amazon.
If lobstering be sure that you are licensed, have a gauge for the area you are lobstering in, have your numbers on your cylinder and flag, and don’t land any shorts, longs, notches, or eggers. For more information please reference the mass.gov regulations site here.