Paul Gacek's World


North Carolina Wreck Diving

Rainbow


2003 North Carolina Expedition



NORTH CAROLINA 2003 IS HERE ! !


This years North Carolina expedition departs from the traditional two week stay in Hatteras and consists of one week each in Hatteras and Morehead City. After a "weatherful" trip from Connecticut including rain, fog, torrential downpours, thunder and lightning we arrive in Hatteras to find Mother Nature blowing away at twenty knots!

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Families Are Forever This years adventure includes a new house - Families are Forever - located just off the beach a bit closer to the village with a host of amenities to make our stay enjoyable. Hopefully we won't be able to enjoy them all because we'll be off diving every day!
After a long afternoon of unloading vehicles, running up and down two flights of stairs and unloading our dive gear at the boat, we adjourn to dinner at the Breakwater restaurant overlooking Pamlico Sound. Here we see a vessel returning to the marina as the sun prepares to make its departure. Sunset over Pamlico Sound

Sunday, June 15, 2003

The old men of the sea Mother Nature will always have her way! The morning dawns with the winds forecast for 15 to 20 knots and the advisory that "small craft exercise caution". Today is not the day! Here we have Capt Larry Keen of the Gekos, Capt Art Kirchner of The Margie II and myself ruminating over the workings of Mother Nature on the Outer Banks.
This provides an excellent opportunity to visit the new Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras which opened in October of 2002 after last years trip. Unfortunately we are foiled again because the museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays! Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum

Monday, June 16, 2003

Captain Art on the dive deck A front passed over the area last featuring downpours, thunder and lightning and the wind is now blowing out of the north. We set off under gray skies and relatively flat seas in search of underwater adventure. While en route the sun makes its appearance. Here we see Captain Art taking charge of the dive deck.
The key to any successful dive operation is the mate. This year Captain Art has enlisted Davina Menduno of Buxton, North Carolina to serve in this capacity! Here we see Davina gearing up before she jumps in to tie the anchor into our first dive site. Mate Davina Menduno
Spotted eel. Our first wreck is the tanker Dixie Arrow which was torpedoed in 1942 by the U-71. We arrive at the wreck to find green water with a surface temperature of 74 degrees and a bottom temperature of 73 degrees. Visibility is a mere twenty-five feet - considerably less than normal. The wreck is teeming with fish life from bait fish to jacks. Here we see a small spotted eel found by George Lock.
As sea conditions worsen, we head northwest to the tug Keshena which ran afoul of an Allied minefield in 1942. The seas are somewhat calmer inshore and visibility is a good thirty feet although the bottom temperature is only 73 degrees. Here we see one of the two Navy anchors which lie atop the bow section of the Keshena! Navy anchor on the Keshena.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Mal, Roseanne and Mark at an exhibit Mother Nature has her way again! Small craft advisories and forecasts of 6 to 7 foot seas result in a lot of empty spaces in the marina parking lot this morning! At last, an opportunity to visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum! Here we see Mal and Roseanne Kroeber and Mark Wetzel at a display on the wreck of the USS Heron.
The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is dedicated to the preservation, advancement and presentation of the maritime history and shipwrecks of the North Carolina Outer Banks. Here we see some of the artifacts on temporary display in the gift shop while the main exhibition hall is under construction. Artifacts on display at the museum.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Sand tiger shark patrolling the Proteus In spite of a lousy forecast and gray skies we head south toward the Proteus - a liner which sank because of a collision in 1918. As we arrive at the wreck the sun makes an appearance and sea conditions do not worsen as predicted. As we descend we pass through warm green water then warm blue water to 72 degree green water at the bottom, we see a large sand tiger shark patrolling the wreck.
For a second dive we head north to the FW Abrams - a tanker which ran afoul of an Allied minefield in 1942. Visibility is only twenty feet as opposed to the forty feet we experienced on the Proteus although the bottom temperature is a more respectable 75 degrees. Here we see the telltale gears which mark the engine of the FW Abrams. Telltale gears on the Abrams engine.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

East Central Doppler Radar The forecast has improved somewhat but the entire east coast seems to be plagued with rain and thunderstorms. The captain wisely decides to defer diving for today. Perhaps Mother Nature will relent tomorrow and let us out for our final day. Meanwhile, it's off to do some sightseeing!

Friday, June 20, 2003

With reasonably calm seas we head south to the British Splendour but the wreck is occupied by fishing boat. We head further south to the Proteus but find a strong current running there. Back north again to the Dixie Arrow where we finally anchor and find that conditions have deteriorated from Monday's visit - a swift current and 10 to 15 foot visibility greet us. Here we see a toadfish hiding in the wreck. Toadfish hiding on the Dixie Arrow.
Captain Art diving technique. Captain Art decides to pull the hook and demonstrate some of the latest diving techniques in Hatteras! In keeping with the maxim that "less is more" Art demonstrates how to dive with only a mask, tank, regulator and weight belt!
The group from the Delaware Underwater Swim Club gathers at the dock to bid farewell at the conclusion of the days adventure. Hopefully Mother Nature will be kinder to us in 2004 when we again return to dive the "Graveyard of the Atlantic"! The group at the dock.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Ocracoke to Cedar Island Ferry. The first day of Summer! Now if only the weather would catch up! Time to make to trek from Hatteras to Atlantic Beach. A forty minute ferry ride to Ocracoke Island, a twenty minute drive to Ocracoke, a two hour and fifteen minute ferry ride to Cedar Island and a one hour drive to Atlantic Beach. Here we see the Ocracoke-Cedar Island ferry prior to departure from Ocracoke.
The weather is more cooperative than it has been all week and the forecast actually looks promising calling for two to three foot seas through Thursday. We arrive at Island Birds in Atlantic beach - our base of operation for the current week. Here is the view from the master bedroom. The view from the master bedroom.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Captain Jerry Smith at the helm. 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.
Our mate, Justin Merrell, displaying his underwater prowess with a red snapper he speared while pulling the anchor. Justin is an avid scuba diver and is entering his senior year at Eastern Carolina University majoring in Recreation and Leisure Studies. Mate Justin Merrill with catch!
Captain Jerry Smith at the  helm. With calm seas and sunny skies we head off to the wreck of the tanker Papoose - torpedoed by the U-124 in 1942. The surface temperature of 80 degrees drops to 73 degrees on the bottom. Although you can see the boat on the surface from the top of the wreck at 85 feet, visibility on the bottom is a more modest 50 feet. Here we see a sand tiger shark patrolling the overturned hull.
For a second dive we head to the Schurz - a World War I German cruiser which was converted to a US gunboat and sank in a collision in 1918. We see the same water temperatures as on the Papoose although visibility is a more modest thirty feet. Here we see the anchor tied into the steering quadrant in the stern of the wreck Mate Justin Merrill with catch!

Monday, June 23, 2003

Mark and Nick spearing flounder. "If it's not broke, don't fix it." We again head south to the Papoose. Although visibility is not quite as good as yesterday, we still have an enjoyable dive. Surface temperature is again 80 degress with a bottom temperature of 73 degrees. Curious sand tiger sharks patrol the wreck. Here we see Mark and Nick spearing flounder for dinner.
For a second dive we head north to the U-352 - a German submarine sunk by the USCG Icarus on May 9, 1942. With a surface temperature of 79 degrees and 73 degrees on the bottom. Once again we find blue water on the surface with green water on the wreck. Here we see a view of the stern of the submarine - note the propellor shaft in the foreground. Stern of the U-352.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Schooling fish on the Atlas. We decide to head east to check out the Atlas - a tanker torpedoed by the German submarine U-552 in 1942 - even though no one has been there recently. We are greeted by green water with a surface temperature of 78 degrees and a bottom temperature of 73 degrees and 20 foot visibility. Here we see a portion of the wreck covered by schooling fish.
For a second dive we head south in an attempt to get to bluer water to the Hardee's Wreck - a 174 foot long yard oiler sunk as an artifical reef by the state of North Carolina. The green water is still with us but visibility is a passable 35 feet. Here we see two divers exploring a portion of the superstructure. Tomorrow we head south again! Two divers exploring Hardee's.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Lionfish on the Naeco. We head southwest to the Naeco - a tanker torpedoed by the German submarine U-124 in 1942. We finally find the elusive blue water - visibility on the wreck is 70 feet with a water temperature of 79 degrees on the surface and 73 degrees on the bottom. Here we see a lionfish which has migrated north from Florida by following the gulf stream.
For a second dive we head north for a return dive on the Schurz. The blue water has started to infiltrate but visibility is a respectable 50 feet and the wreck is teeming with fishlife of all varieties. We see sand tiger sharks, a turtle, a large stingray and schools of baitfish. Here we see two of the large boilers on the wreck. Two boilers on the Schurz.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Engine of the Tamaulipas. We head east to the stern section of the Tamaulipas - also known as the Far East Tanker - a tanker torpedoed by the German submarine U-552 in 1942. The blue water is in - visibility on the wreck is 90 feet and from the top of the wreck aT 120 feet we can see the boat on the surface. Here we see the massive steam engine sitting in 150 feet of water.
For a second dive we head west to the freighter Caribsea which was torpedoed by by the U-158 in 1942. The wreck lies in 90 feet of water . Visibility is a more modest 35 feet in the 73 degree green water which covers the wreck. We are visited by barracuda, sand tiger sharks and schools of baitfish. Here we see anchor chain piled in the locker in the bow section of the wreck. Anchor chain on the Carib Sea.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Bow of the Tamaulipas. For a grand finale, we head east again to the bow section of the Tamaulipas. The wind begins to pick up making the 37 mile ride from the inlet more interesting. Unlike the stern section, the bow section lies upside down. Plates have strategically fallen off the hull to permit access to the interior. Here we see the bow of the Tamulipas rising from the bottom in 155 feet of water.
The captain, mate and members of the Fairfield County Diving Association gather at the dock to celebrate six successful days of diving in the "Graveyard of the Atlantic". Here's hoping that 2004 will be equally successful! Members of the Fairfield County 
	  Diving Association.

Links of Interest

First 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. 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. Click on the image to go to the Captain Art's Atlantic Wreck Diving web page.
Families are Forever Families are Forever is an oceanside house north of Hatteras Village. 6 Bedrooms plus Game Room, 3 1/2 bathrooms, maximum occupancy 12, 4 Queens, 2 Twins, 2 sets of bunks, double sleeper sofa, central heat/air conditioning, microwave, washer, dryer, TV, phone, screened porch, hot tub and jacuzzi. 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 Data Buoy Diamond Shoals Data Buoy. 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


Second 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.
Island Birds Island Birds is an oceanfront cottage in Atlantic Beach located just east of our 2002 house. 5 Bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, 2 half bathrooms, 2 showers, maximum occupancy 13, 1 King, 2 Queens, 7 Twins, central heat/air conditioning, dishwasher, washer/dryer, TV, phone, oceanfront deck 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


Rainbow

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Last modified on Sunday, June 29, 2003 21:13:58