Monday, June 15, 2015

A Dive through History

Last weekend we were in the Outer Banks area of North Carolina learning a little bit about our nations history.  We did most of our learning underneath the sea due to time constraints. Our lessons were amazing and I can't wait to go back.  Next visit I will allow extra time to explore the history on land in this area.  The few walking tours and one museum we visited have me very intrigued.

Our first dive was on a German Submarine that was sunk during WWII.  I had no idea that the war came this close to our shores!  It sits in 115' of water only 26 miles off of the coast.

It was about a 2 1/2 hr boat ride out to the U352

Here I am patiently awaiting Frank so that we can take a look at this amazing wreck.

Our time was limited because of the depths we were diving.

Not much marine life near the wreck but these gray angels decided to stop by and say hi.

The U-352’s story starts in May 1941 when the German military built the first of the Type VIIC U-boats with more fuel capacity and torpedoes than its predecessor. Commanded by Capt. Kellmut Rathke, the U-352’s 45 man crew prepared in October 1941 to set sail for the waters of the Atlantic. After several months of drills, testing, and exercises, the U-352 was deemed action ready and set sail. Almost immediately the crew spotted a convoy and prepared to take action when it was realized they had been spotted. The U-352 barely survived the barrage of depth charges and continued on towards American waters. Less than 5 months later, the U-352 would be sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic.

The above is the first paragraph about the history of the U352 written by the dive center that we used Olympus Dive Center.  Let me take a moment to give them a shout out....what a great and friendly crew, very helpful and knowledgeable.  I would strongly recommend them if you decide to go diving in the area. You can read the entire article here.

The second wreck that day was the Spar which was also in very deep waters.  This coast guard cutter was intentionally sunk as a diver friendly wreck.  You can learn all about the spar by reading this article.  It is know to be home to many Sand Tiger Sharks.

And almost immediately upon descent we had our first visitor.

This was also a deep dive so our bottom time was limited.

We finished the second dive and had a 2 1/2 hr boat ride back to shore.  The previous night, our son Chuck, who lives a few hours away had come to spend some time with us. This meant there was a lot of catching up to do and it was all done over cocktails.  Needless to say after a late night the night before and getting up at 5 am for these 2 deep dives along with the long boat ride...I was spent.  We came back to the room, showered and napped until dinner time.  No land sight seeing this day.

The next day we went on shallower dives.  The first was a tug boat called the Titan that sits in 60' of water.   This means much more marine life on this artificial reef.  There are no coral reefs in this part of the ocean which is why many of the wrecks were sunk.  This dive confirmed for us that we have been diving a long while.  When we first descended I was looking at the tug and getting my bearing when all of the sudden Frank was pulling on me and pointing.  I eagerly looked to where he was pointing thinking that I was going to see something fantastic.  What I saw was Frank's weight belt lying on the ocean floor.  I immediately grabbed onto Frank's vest and made myself negatively buoyant to hold him down at a safe level with me.  I was trying to get the attention of other members of our group so they could grab his weights when our mighty leader, Don Wrona, of Anchor Bay Scuba entered the water and immediately assessed the situation.  He grabbed the belt, brought it to us and we were back in business.  It was a long 4 minutes.  

This is Don Wrona, owner of Anchor Bay Scuba.
He is, bar none, the best dive master/instructor I have ever met.
And this is how you find him each and every dive.
Up above all the other divers, constantly scanning and making mental notes.
He misses nothing and you better not mess up or he will be on your butt as a good teacher should.

This tug was in very good shape and we were able to penetrate and dive inside.
We found a flounder camouflaged in the center top photo.
A puffer fish all puffed up and fleeing the scene and a good size ray.

Our last dive of the trip was on the Suloide, another German vessel.  This vessel sunk in 1943 after colliding with another ship that had been previously sunk by U boats earlier in the year.  It is in pieces lying in about 65' of water and was the best dive in regards to marine life that we saw.

We found this guy underneath a piece of the wreck.
Several of them had turned these domes into homes.

A beautiful sand dollar.
Several of our divers got some nice shells for their collections.
3 shark teeth were also found on this dive.

That's not surprising since there were at least 2 shark living under the hull.
The first one we saw was 5 or 6'.
The second one that came out was 8-10'.

But then this guy came out from under the hull too and we forgot all about the shark.

Several star fish were found on this dive as well.

I was very pleasantly surprised by this trip.  I was concerned that the water was going to be cold and the visibility would be limited.  While it was not the Caribbean, the water temp was high 70's and the visibility was probably 70'.  I am very happy we did this trip and we will definitely be going back.

We were done with these dives by early afternoon so were able to shower and do some sightseeing on land before dinner but that is news for another post on another day.


  1. Very cool pictures. Harley is leaning over my shoulder saying "I want to go diving" and then she saw the shark......LOL!

    1. Divers very rarely have problems with sharks. Swimmers and surfers do more often because they are on top of the water and are confused with seals who are sharks main food source.

  2. Absolutely amazing - love getting a glimpse of what you saw through the underwater photos!! :)


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