Paul Gacek's World

2001 North Carolina Expedition Two


Welcome to North Carolina 2001 Two!

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The only thing better than one trip a year to North Carolina is two trips a year! Here is it the beginning of August with no hurricanes in sight (of North Carolina!), so I head south for four days of wreck diving in warm blue Gulf Stream waters!
North Carolina Ferry Roanoke One of the pleasant surpises in the Outer Banks is the free ferry service provided by the State of North Carolina between Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. A pleasant 45 minute ride gets you to the southernmost inhabited island of the Outer Banks. Here we see the ferry "Roanoke" ferrying vehicles and passengers between the two islands.
Captain Art "The Legend" Kirchner eagerly awaits our arrival in Hatteras. After a lengthy period of inclement weather, Captain Art is eager to test his new technical diving rig. Here he demonstrates the "less is more" approach practiced in the early days of scuba diving. Captain Art demonstrates his technical diving rig.
Chris "That's not in my job description" Dillon Chris "That's not in my job description" Dillon has just driven up from St. Augustine, Florida to act as mate for Captain Art. After years of working in the public schools and cold water diving on Long Island, Chris managed to escape to Florida to preserve his sanity. Here he poses in his vintage 1984 Andrea Doria Expedition tee shirt.

Saturday August 4, 2001

Conditions are ideal as we head south to the US submarine Tarpon. After service in World War II, the Tarpon was being towed to the scrapyard when she foundered and sank in 1957. Although we can see the boat on the surface from 100 feet, visibility on the wreck is a more modest forty feet. The wreck is inhabited by a variety of marine life including several sand tiger sharks and this curious triggerfish. Triggerfish on the USS Tarpon
Navy anchor on the bow of the Keshena For a second dive we head north to the ocean tug Keshena which met its fate in an Allied minefield in 1942. As with other inshore wrecks, visibility here is a more modest twenty five feet. The wreck features two large boilers and an impressive steering quadrant and rudder. Here we see a Navy anchor lying atop the somewhat intact bow section of the wreck.

Sunday August 5, 2001

Conditions are again ideal as we head south to the liner Proteus which sank in a collision with SS Cushing on August 28, 1918. Descending the anchorline in the blue 80 degree water, the wreck looms into view. The usual complement of sand tiger sharks, barracuda and jacks populate the wreck. Visibility is a cloudy sixty feet. Here we view one of the deck winches which was used to open the cargo hatches. Deck winch on the liner Proteus.
Debris between the boilers on the Dixie Arrow For a second dive we head north to the tanker Dixie Arrow which was torpedoed on March 26, 1942 by the U-71. As with other inshore wrecks, visibility here is a more modest thirty five feet. Several sand tiger sharks secrete themselves under a plate forward of the propellor. Here we see debris lying between two of the ship's three boilers.

Monday August 6, 2001

Another beautiful day as we head south to the tanker British Splendour which was torpedoed by the U-552 on April 7, 1942. Descending the anchorline in the blue 80 degree water, we see the large engine crankshaft which spills out from the overturned hull. The stern section which once towered off the bottom continues to slowly collapse. Crankshaft on the tanker British Splendour
Sting ray on the tanker British Splendour The wreck lies on a sandy bottom in 100 feet of saltwater and is inhabited by a variety of marine life including purple soft corals, bait fish, amberjacks, barracudas and sometimes sand tiger sharks. Here a large sting ray cruises by to observe the intruders into his environment!

Tuesday August 7, 2001

Switching to the Bayou Runner out of Outer Banks Diving, we head south to the Catherine M Monahan - a working schooner that foundered in a storm off Hatteras in 1910. At the time of sinking, she was laden with a cargo of cement. Most of the wreck is outlined by neatly stacked bags of hardened cement. Here we see a plie of anchor chain and schooling spadefish. Anchor chain and spadefish on the Catherine M Monahan
Railroad rails were part of the cargo on the Nevada. For a second dive we head north to the wooden-hulled steamer Nevada. At the end of the Civil War, she was placed on the trade between Savannah and New York. In June of 1868 she ran up on the sandy Diamond Shoals and could not be freed. On the night between June 5th and 6th, the Nevada worked her way over the shoals and sank in twelve fathoms of water. Here we see part of her cargo of iron train rails.

Wednesday August 8, 2001

Again on the Bayou Runner, we head south to the liner Proteus. Although visibility in top blue 82 degree layer of water is over 100 feet, the visibility in the last 30 feet is a more disappointing 50 feet. The usual denizens inhabit the wreck - spadefish, baitfish, jacks and sand tiger sharks. Here a small sand tiger swims up to the camera to check out the electronic intruder. Close encounter with a sand tiger shark on the Proteus.
Amberjack being cleaned on the Dixie Arrow For a second dive we head north to the tanker Dixie Arrow. Although the water is warm and blue, visibility is only about thirty feet. From barracudas patrolling the wreck to sand tiger sharks hiding under the stern, a variety of marine life is present on the wreck. Here an amberjack patiently waits while a juvenile reef fish cleans his gill.

Area Links of Interest

Margie II Captain Art's Atlantic Wreck Diving
The Margie II, under the command of Captain Art Kirchner, offers dive charters out of Teach's Lair Marina in Hatteras Village, NC.
Outer Banks Diving Outer Banks Diving, P.O. Box 453, Hatteras, NC 27943 (252) 986-1056. Captain John and Amy Pieno run the dive shop located at 57540 Highway 12 in Hatteras Village. Full service dive center within walking distance of area restaurants, hotels and businesses. Rentals, air, nitrox, repairs, instruction and underwater camera rentals available.

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Last modified on Wednesday, August 8, 2001 17:45:58