I traveled to North Carolina on July 21, 2021 on the SingleDivers.com wreck diving trip. Pictures are in the Gallery and I'll be adding to them as I have time.
I flew into Raleigh / Durham (RDU) and joined Joe aka guitaristdiver in baggage claim. My bag came out and my lionfish hawaian sling spear was sticking out about a foot (end where the bands are since the pointy end had a sturdy cover on it). I checked and nothing was missing so likely it happened when the bag was taken off the plane there at RDU. Oh well guess I can't travel with this spear...
We got to the rental car lot and looked for the car but none were immediately available - one pulled up but the folks in the first car jumped out and took it since there were issues with the car they were in. Another pulled up so we took that one and had no issues - Whew!
On the drive to Morehead City we stopped to eat at Wilburs as suggested for pulled pork bbq but it just wasn't as good as it used to be. Not sure if it was because it was Wednesday night or other issues so on the way back we opted to eat in town at an Italian restaurant and it was very good.
We got to the Fisherman's Inn hotel and met up with Kamala and the other divers and got our rooms. It was an early start in the mornings so no late nights this trip.
First dive day was Thursday 7/22 and we got up at 4:30, ate breakfast, got our gear together and headed over to Olympus Dive Center. We turned in the required paperwork, got our number for boarding, rented tanks,weights, analyzed the nitrox and got on the boat. Generally it's a couple of hours to reach the wrecks so we set up gear and then go inside or up on the sun deck area for the ride out. Up top can get wet depending on the waves, wind and direction the boat is heading so I generally opted for either inside or on the dive deck.
The weather was OK but too rough to go out to the deeper wrecks so we dove the Hutton and Tugboat Francesconi. Both relatively shallow (70 for the Hutton and 623 for the Francesconi) and inshore so no lionfish on them since the water is too cold in the winter. Temps were between 75 to 80. These were relatively shallow and not much current so longer dives. There were trigger fish, a sandbar reef shark that came by, a few barracuda, spadefish (a bunch inside the tug) and schools of baitfish swimming in patterns that looked like a flock of birds. I had issues with my camera battery showing dead but it turned out to be an issue with the camera contacts so no pictures on the first dive. Even with that it was a good first day of diving.
On Friday 7/23 we repeated the process at the dive shop and went out to the Suloide where we saw triggerfish (one nipped at me), moon jellyfish and an octopus near the anchor off in the sand. Just had his eyes poking out of his hole. No lionfish on this wreck either.
So for the cookout we didn't have any lionfish but did have plenty of chicken, pulled pork, corn and other goodies. We also celebrated Norm's birthday with cake.
On Saturday 7/24 we got up early again for day 3 of diving and headed to Olympus Dive Center. We had it down by this point and finally had good enough weather to head to to the Caribsea. Depths were up to about 90 feet to the sand, no current and a thermocline of 75 or so at about 70 feet. Above that it was around 78 according to my computer and around 80 at the surface. A bunch of Sand Tigers were around the bow of the wreck above and below the thermocline. Below also was more discolored water than above and the sharks were mainly above that.
We did a second dive on the Caribsea and I hung out at the bow this time and watched the sharks parade back and forth in and out of the gloom. This was the best dive of the trip for me and I got a few good pictures of the sharks swimming around or coming through the baitfish schools.
Last day of diving on Sunday 7/25 and we started late since no one heard their alarms. We scrambled and made it to the dive center on time.This was great because the first boat out gets their choice of wrecks first. And we were always first.
Weather was as close to perfect as it gets here so we were able to head out to the Shurz for a deep dive. I didn't bring my spear so that guaranteed we had lionfish on the wrecks. Down at 112 feet and yep there are the lionfish... There was a diver hunting on the dive so they didn't get away. Water temp was 80 at the surface and 76 at the bottom with no definite thermocline. Dive was only 35 minutes since it was so deep and we weren't diving deco.
Next we headed over to the U-352. Not quite as deep with bottom around 101 feet with similar temperature profile. Several lionfish hanging around here too and the diver hunting did get most of them. Since this was the second dive of the day it was a little shorter but the perfect dive to end the trip on.
We headed in, cleaned gear, set it out to dry and said good bye to the folks leaving that day. The next morning those that were still here went to eat breakfast at the four corners diner. Excellent (and funny) waitress and great breakfast food. After that most of us packed up and headed out to our next adventure.