Paul Gacek's World


North Carolina Wreck Diving

Rainbow


2002 North Carolina Expedition



NORTH CAROLINA 2002 IS HERE ! !


This years North Carolina expedition departs from the traditional two week stay in Hatteras and consists of one week each in Morehead City and Hatteras. After an uneventful trip from Connecticut we arrive at our destination and spend the first day seeing some of the sights.

Sunday, June 9, 2002

Artillery piece at Fort Macon Construction of Fort Macon was begun in 1826 and the fort was garrisoned in 1834. At the start of the Civil war, North Carolina seized Fort Macon from Union forces but the fort fell into Union hands again in 1862. For the duration of the war, the fort served as a coaling station for Union ships and a a federal prison from 1867 to 1876. Here we see one of the artillery pieces on the grounds.
Fort Macon was again garrisoned during the Spanish American war and finally closed in 1903. In 1923 the state of North Carolina purchased Fort Macon from the federal government for one dollar making it the second state park. Restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934, the fort was garrisoned for the last time during World War II. Here we see a volunteer demonstrating the operation of an actual Civil War rifle. Musket demonstration
Deck gun from U352 After our tour of Fort Macon, we adjourn to the Morehead City waterfront for lunch and a visit to Olympus Diving where members of the group pose with the deck gun from the German submarine U-352 which we will visit tomorrow.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Captain Jerry Smith at the helm of the Sea Quest II on our way to the wreck site. Captain Jerry who has four years US Naval Service experience, has been a certified diver since 1982, and has been licensed by the US Coast Guard since 1984. Captain Jerry has worked on or around the water for over thirty years and brings this experience to work every day. Captain Jerry Smith
Justin Merrell Our mate, Justin Merrell, relaxes in between performing his duties. Justin is an avid scuba diver and is entering his senior year at Eastern Carolina University majoring in Recreation and Leisure Studies.
Conditions are ideal - flat seas and light winds - as we head southeast to wreck of the Schurz. Originally launched as a gunboat in Germany in 1894. Seized by the US Government in 1917 she was commissioned as a US vessel. A collision with the steamship Florida lead to here demise in 1918. Here we see a school of bait fish and Atlantic spadefish swimming though a davit. USS Schurz
U352 conning tower For a second dive we head north to the German submarine U-352. Built in 1941, she came to her final resting place on May 9, 1942 when she was depth charged by the USCG Icarus. The wreck lies in 110 feet of salt water listing toward its starboard side. Here we see a group of divers aft of the conning tower.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Another perfect day - flat seas and light breezes - as we head south to the stern section of the tanker Naeco. Torpedoed in 1942, the ship broke into two sections which lie approximately two and a half miles apart. The price for the exceptional visibility is a stiff current which extends from the surface to the wreck at 140 feet. Here we see a portion of the steering quadrant at the extreme end of the stern. Steering quadrant on the Naeco
Boiler on the Schurz For our next dive we head north for a return visit to the Schurz. The exceptional current and visibility from the Naeco follow us to our second dive. The wreck is carpeted with large schools of bait fish. Here we see one of the large boilers.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Another beautiful day as we head south to the tanker Papoose. Built in 1921 as the Silvanus the 412 foot long tanker was torpedoed in 1942 and sank upside down in 125 feet of salt water. The hull rises some thirty feet off the bottom and is relatively intact with several breaks where you may gain access to the interior. Here we see a pile of anchor chain in the bow section of the wreck. Anchor chain on the Papoose
Atlantic Spadefish on the Aeolus For our next dive we head north for a visit to the Aeolus, a 426 foot long Navy Cable Layer resting in 120 feet of water with the highest decks at 85 feet. It was sunk as part of the artificial reef program in 1988. The Aeolus was broken into three pieces by hurricane Fran in 1996. Here we see a large school of the many Atlantic spadefish that call the wreck home.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Another beautiful day as we head east around Lookout Shoals to the tanker Atlas. Built in 1916 as the Sunoil the 430 foot long tanker was torpedoed in 1942 and sank upright in 125 feet of salt water. The hull rises some thirty feet off the bottom and is relatively intact with several breaks where you may gain access to the interior. Here we see the steering quadrant rising from the stern section of the wreck. Rudder quadrant on the Atlas
Turtle on the Atlas Reports from another boat of poor visibility at our second dive site prompt us to stay at the Atlas for a second dive. Sand tiger sharks make their appearance and here we see a large turtle who appears amidships.

Friday, June 14, 2002

A cloudy day with a dire forecast of twenty knot winds and five foot seas leads us to decide to head out for one return dive on the Atlas. Although conditions are not as bad as predicted, it is rougher than earlier in the week. Visibility on the wreck is actually better than yesterday and we continue to explore the tanker. Here a curious sand tiger shark checks out the intruders to his environment. Sand Tiger Shark on the Atlas
Connecticut group All good things come to an end and the Connecticut contingent (members of the Fairfield County Diving Association) gathers for a traditional portrait on the dock along with the Captain and mate. Fond memories of five days of excellent diving will have to last until next year's trip.

Saturday, June 15, 2002

With everyone departed, I return the house keys and begin the trek to Hatteras. A one hour drive to Cedar Island, followed by a two hour and fifteen minute ferry ride to Ocracoke, a fifteen minute drive to the next ferry terminal and a forty minute ferry ride finally put me in Hatteras. Here we see the US Army Corps of Engineers dredging the channel into Hatteras. Dredging the Hatteras channel

Sunday, June 16, 2002

Captain Art's continental breakfast. Captain Art "The Legend" Kirchner eagerly awaits our arrival in Hatteras. Captain Art has been diving for the past thirty 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 displaying his new continental breakfast feature for the benefit of his passengers.
Mate Eddie "Silver" returns each year from Long Island to mate under the watchful eye of Captain Art aboard the Margie II. An avid diver himself, Eddie tries to make each days diving experience an enjoyable and memorable one for the passengers. Always willing to lend a hand where needed. Thanks Eddie! Here he enjoys a "brief" moments rest from his duties. Mate Eddie 'Silver'
Nurse shark on the British Splendour For a first dive of the week we head south to the oil tanker British Splendour which was torpedoed in 1942 British Splendour his passengers. The torpedo hole in the stern section has been reduced to a mere crawlspace by the collapsing hull. The wreck is covered by green algae typical of late summer. Here we see a nurse shark meandering forward of the stern section.
For a second dive we head east to the oil tanker Dixie Arrow which was also torpedoed in 1942. This wreck is also covered by green algae but not as extensively as the British Splendour. The wreck is teeming with marine life of all varieties from baitfish to large amberjacks. Here we see the large rudderpost in the stern of the wreck. Rudder post on the Dixie Arrow

Monday, June 17, 2002

Propellor oin the Proteus For a first dive of the day we head south to the liner Proteus which sank in a collision with SS Cushing in 1918. The wreck is largely broken up except for the rear portion of the stern consisting of a massive propeller, rudder and steering quadrant. Here we see the large steel propeller which measures nineteen feet across.
For a second dive we head north to the oil tanker FW Abrams which also sank in 1942 but not because of German submarines - she met her demise by straying into an Allied minefield. Visibility is an exceptional fifty feet and the wreck is teeming with marine life. He we see the unique gears which mark the top the the Abrams steam engine. Engine on the FW Abrams

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Nurse Shark on the Proteus Tuesday dawns gray and overcast. Based on yesterdays experience we head south again to the liner Proteus. A slight surface current disappears as we descend to the wreck where visibility opens up to a dark sixty feet. In addition to the usual sand tiger shark residents, we come across a large nurse shark. Here we see the nurse shark attempting to escape to find a new hiding place. As we head to a second dive site the Coast Guard broadcasts an alert about squall activity in the area so we wisely head back to the dock to dive another day.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Wednesday dawns gray and dreary again as we head south to the Proteus. A large black storm cloud looms over the coast as we head offshore. Conditions at the wreck are better than predicted - no current at the surface or at the bottom and visibility is an impressive 75 feet. Here we see the massive propeller and rudder at the stern of the wreck. Propellor  and rudder on the Proteus
Bow of the Keshena For a second dive we head north to the ocean tug Keshena which met its demise by wandering into an Allied minefield in 1942. Descending the anchor line it is possible to see the entire wreck and our boat on the surface is visible from the bottom. A high point of the dive is a small lionfish hiding in the bow. Here we see the bow of the Keshena.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

In spite of the small craft advisory we head south for one dive on the tanker FW Abrams. After a lumpy ride through the inlet, we arrive at the wreck to find no current and excellent visibility. Although is is dark and overcast you can see the entire wreck as you descend the anchor line. Here we see a large school of Atlantic spadefish obliterating the view of the wreck. Atlantic spadefish on the FW Abrams

Friday, June 21, 2002

Doppler radar for June 21 Happy first day of summer! The small craft advisory combined with the 25 knot winds and torrential downpours finally torpedo our dive plans for the day. The storm cells which previously been moving toward the northeast have switched and are now moving toward the southwest. The local fishing boats are seen going out and returning shortly thereafter.
All good things come to an end and the Delaware contingent (members of the Delaware Underwater Swim Club) gathers for a traditional portrait on the dock along with the Captain and mate. Fond memories of five days of excellent diving will have to last until next year's trip. Members of the DUSC
Sunset over Hatteras Landing What better way to end an excellent week of diving than with a dinner of shrimp, lobster and crawfish etouffee, fine wine and a chocolate monstrosity for dessert at the Austin Creek Grill in Hatteras Landing. Here we see a gorgeous sunset over the boats docked at Hatteras Landing. Until next year....

Links of Interest

First Week


Seaquest II The Sea Quest II is a 47 ft. Neuville aluminum dive boat. The Captain is Jerry Smith who has four years US Naval Service experience, has been a certified diver since 1982, and has been licensed by the US Coast Guard since 1984. Click on the picture for more information.
Fields Fields is an oceanfront cottage in Atlantic Beach. 5 Bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, maximum occupancy 14, 4 Doubles, 1 Queen, 5 Twins, central heat/air conditioning, microwave, TV, phone, oceanfront deck with rocking chairs, near fishing pier. Click on the picture for more information.
Shark Teeth Discovery Diving Company - Your World Class Warm Water Wreck Diving Headquarters, 414 Orange Street, Beaufort, NC 28516 (252) 728-2265. Our base of diving operations for the week. Click on the picture for more information.
Cape Lookout Data Station CLKN7 Station - Cape Lookout, NC. The National Data Buoy Center provides real time meteorological and oceanographic data. Click on the picture for more information.

Current Weather Conditions at Morehead City, NC



Click here for North Carolina Local Doppler Radar


Second Week


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. Click on the image to go to the Captain Art's Atlantic Wreck Diving web page.
Point II Point II is an oceanfront house north of Hatteras Village. 4 Bedrooms plus Den, 3 1/2 bathrooms, maximum occupancy 12, 2 Kings, 2 Twins, 2 sets of bunks, double sleeper sofa, central heat/air conditioning, microwave, washer, dryer, TV, phone, oceanfront deck. Click on the picture for more information.
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.
Diamond Shoals Light Station Diamond Shoals Light Station. The National Data Buoy Center provides real time meteorological and oceanographic data. Click on the picture for more information.


Current Weather Conditions at Hatteras, NC


Click here for North Carolina Local Doppler Radar

Rainbow

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Last modified on Friday, June 28, 2002 15:10:58