North Caroline wreck diving trip report

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Posted by FARMHAND on August 20, 2006 at 16:38:00:


It was the best of diving trips, it was the worst of diving trips. First the best:

Calm seas, clear sky, 82 degree H2O down to a 71 fsw 75 degree thermocline which extended to over 120 fsw. 80 to 100 foot viz. Dozens of reef sharks and large “curious” barracuda, and wrecks, wrecks, wrecks. Six in five days, all but one in 110+ fsw: the PROTEUS, AEOLUS, BRITISH SPLENDOR, INDRA, SHURZ, and the U-352.
Great to dive with my son Tony and daughter Laura, along with a real friendly group of accomplished wreck divers from the Blue Horizons Dive Center in Philadelphia. Most of the divers began with 30% Nitrox in both 100 cuft single and double aluminums. 3 to 4 dives a day, air refills gradually dropping the % of EANx down to 21%.
Olympus Dive Center, Moorehead City has a dynamite staff of instructors, DM’s, crew, and support personnel. Owner of the Center is the legendary George Purifoy who, along with his son Bobby, skipper both boats. They’re the most accomplished and dedicated wreck divers I’ve ever met in over 40 years of wreck diving, world-wide. Their boats, the OLYMPUS and the MIDNIGHT EXPRESS are fast converted aluminum oil patch crew boats. Not really multi-day boats but super for 2-3 days max. OLYMPUS has a 3500 psi compressor, MIDNIGHT has none; strictly a two tank day boat. Neither has a galley so chow is whipped up with a gas grill, hotplate, microwave, and paper “dinnerware and silver”. Our first night and last three nights were in the Center’s Lodge; a very comfortable air conditioned “bunk house” right next to Raps, a sports bar and grill.

And the worst? Not a single artifact either discovered or recovered. 60 years of constant diving and recovery has stripped those bad boys clean. Future artifact recoveries will belong to the mixed gas and rebreather techies in depths too deep for basic rec diving.

And the absolute worst: on day four (Thursday) after my 10th repetitive deep dive, I got a hit. Mild, but nevertheless a hit: left leg numb from the knee down. Right to 100% O2, back to the barn, then off to their local single tube chamber. 2 ½ hours later I emerged A-okay, but that scrubbed my chance to dive the U-352 on Friday. Doc says no diving for 4 weeks. My next splash will be on the SUNDIVER trip September 15th: the first dive in my “74th year to Heaven”, to paraphrase Dylan Thomas.

Finally, I/we highly recommend the Olympus Dive Center as the premier wreck diving facility on the southern East Coast. Check out their website: www.olympusdiving.com

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