Paul Gacek's World


North Carolina II 1999

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Welcome to North Carolina II 1999!

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The annual pilgrimage to North Carolina in June was troubled by Mother Nature's machinations so off we go on a four day excursion in August to get in some more blue water wreck diving! We arrive on a nice sunny day and learn that the preceding three days have been dreadful with winds and rain. Hopefully this time we'll get some diving in!

 Margie II The Margie II awaits our pleasure at Teach's Lair Marina in Hatteras, NC! The boat is a thirty-six foot US Coast Guard approved custom built dive vessel with a 400 horsepower Cummins diesel engine and fifteen knot cruising speed.
Captain Art has been diving for the past twenty-eight years. He is a veteran of the Andrea Doria, the Civil War ironclad Monitor, the Bianca C and many other shipwrecks. Here Captain Art is marshaling his resources to give us the finest Hatteras wreck diving experience. To send mail to Captain Art, click here: Captain Art  Captain Art marshalling his resources
 Senio mate Chris Dillon Essential to the smooth operation of any dive vessel is the first mate. If the captain can't pick on the mate, he'll pick on the passengers instead! "Senior" mate Chris Dillon was an avid New England wreck diver before fleeing south recently. He returns each summer to mate on the Margie II. Here Chris sports the latest in geriatric apres dive wear in Hatteras!
August 6 - A beautiful sunny day with a calm ocean has us heading south to the tanker Dixie Arrow. One of the earlier casualties of World War II, she was torpedoed on March 26, 1942, by the U-71 under the command of Kapitanleutnant Flachsenberg. The Dixie Arrow burned for days before finally sinking in 90 feet of sea water.  Getting ready to dive on the Dixie Arrow.
 Dixie Arrow bow section remains. August 6 - Dive 1 - Although you can see the boat at the surface from the bottom at 90 feet, horizontal visibility is only about 50 feet. Time is taking its toll on the bow section - the bulkhead skeletons at the rear of the bow section have now almost all collapsed giving the bow section a lower profile. Here the we see the remaining beams.
Built less than a year after her sister the FW Abrams in the same shipyard, they both met their demise within a few miles and within a few weeks of each other. Swimming toward the boilers, we rouse a sleeping turtle just forward of the three massive boilers. He continues to follow us to the stern.  Turtle on  the Dixie Arrow
 Diver swimming on surface. We decide to stay for a second dive on the Dixie Arrow. Three large boilers and an engine which rises twenty-five feet off the bottom lie in the stern. Beyond this the wreck tapers down to a one propellor blade and the rudder sticking out of the sand. Here a swimmer waits for the completion of the last decompression.
August 7 - Dive 1 - Another beautiful day so we head south to the liner Proteus which provided passenger and freight service between New Orleans and New York. One of the wrecks not from World War II she sank on August 19, 1918, after a collision with the SS Cushing. Here we see the donkey boiler which lies dislodged on the port side of the wreck.  Donkey boiler on the port side of the Proteus.
 Cargo hold winches forward of the boilers. The wreck lies in 130 feet of sea water and is inhabited by large schools of bait fish and sand tiger sharks. While the water temperature at the surface is 85 degrees, the temperature at the bottom is only 74 with 50 foot visibility. Here we see one of the cargo hold winches forward of the ships boilers.
August 7 - Dive 2 - We head to the tanker FW Abrams - a sister ship to the Dixie Arrow. On June 11, 1942, the Abrams fell victim to the same minefield which would later claim the tug Keshena. Here a school of Atlantic spadefish patrol the singular structure of the triple expansion engine of the Abrams.  Engine of the FW Abrams
 Steering quadrant on the stern of the Keshena. August 8 - One Dive - The forecast calls for lousy weather to move in during the afternoon hours so we head to the inshore ocean tug Keshena for a quick dive. The Keshena met its demise on July 19, 1942, in a minefield which was supposed to protect against the U-boat menace. Here we see the steering quadrant on the stern section of the wreck.
One of the lures of wreck diving is the recovery of artifacts. Over the course of time as wrecks collapse the "goodies" tend to get buried in the sand. Here several divers are using a scooter to excavate a hole in hopes of recovering treasures. Note the cloud of silt generated!  New Jersey divers excavating on the Keshena.
 Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC. August 9 - No Dive - The weather forecast again calls for lousy weather to arrive in the afternoon so we head out to the sea buoy to check out ocean conditions. Unfortunately, conditions are worse than yesterday so we head back to the dock. A visit to the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills occupies the afternoon. (Click on image for more pictures).
Members of the group from Treasure Cove Water Sports gather at the dock with Captain Art Kirchner and Mate Mike Cujo for a final picture as we conclude another wreck diving adventure in the "Graveyard of the Atlantic".  Treasure Cove Divers expedition to Hatteras, NC.

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Last modified on Friday, August 13, 1999 12:35:58