Folly Cove is probably one of the most visited and loved dive sites in Cape Ann area. That is because it has a topology to satisfy divers of all kinds of interest. You can do a shallow dive with lost of sunshine or a deeper, green water dive; you get to see schooling fish or loners of all ages or even torpedo rays sleeping under the sand, begging to be awakened (!); you can cruise along the wall, take photos of all the critters or work to get some food on the dinner plate. There is something for anyone!
We generally have three ways of diving at Folly Cove.
1. The left wall: This is probably the most travelled path at Folly Cove, and there is a reason. For this dive we do a rather long surface swim over to the left side of the cove and get some distance out on the way. Once reached the left wall we drop down, usually hit ~12-15 ft. Keeping the wall on our left we just swim out until it is time to turn around. The dive starts with a reef on the left than becomes a wall with many crevices and over hangings, gradually deepening. While the reef/wall is more than enough to entertain you make sure keep an eye on the sand on your right. There will be flounders, skates, zillions of sand dollars. The sand is also where you will find the torpedo ray if you are lucky. If you didn’t get too distracted you may reach the big boulders at around 45-50 ft. I find this point very fascinating with a very different atmosphere with green hue with abundance of schooling fish and big boulders to look under.
2. The right reef: I must admit I haven’t done right reef as much. However, every time I did it was fun. In this dive you basically keep the reef on your right and swim with northwest heading. This is a much shallow dive, mostly around 15-25 ft range.
3. Middle reef: Our groups choice is generally to do this dive as a second dive after the left wall. With ~30 degree heading you get to the middle reef of the cove. Once, I was told that there as a wolffish there, I looked everywhere, he is not there anymore. But why quit looking? We generally spend 20-25 mins at the middle reef, find a few rock gunnels or grubbies, say “hi!” to the big lobster under the boulder then head to the left wall over the sand, hoping to see the torpedo rays on the way. depending on our air supply we either head out some more or make a turn along the wall.
There is a small parking space right at the entrance of the cove, which is resident only. However we can use this space to unload/load the gear. I usually park across the Lobster Pool restaurant, but if I come later in the morning on a summer weekend it gets really hard to find parking there.
When to dive:
The site faces north-northwest, so it gets washed out with northern winds. However, it is quite protected otherwise.
The entry to this site is very rocky, makes it quite tricky at low tide. However, it is doable unless you have ankle or knee problems or planning a night dive.
Folly Cove is best diving morning, day, night, summer, winter. Come here any time for an awesome dive with wind and tides in mind.
Torpedo rays, many species of nudibranchs in winter and early summer, possibility of wolffish (One Eyed Willy), different kinds of anemone on the left wall, all kinds of fish and critters.