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Dive Review of Olympus in
The Continental USA/North Carolina wrecks

October, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Mort Rolleston, VA, US
Report Number 1507
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
51-100 dives
Where else diving
Bonaire, Key Largo FL, Sail Rock Thailand, Brockville Ontario wrecks, New
Providence Bahamas
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
70   to 75    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  4 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
4 stars    
My coworker Rich and I dove 30 miles off of Morehead City, NC (about two
hour boat ride out).  We did two dives a day for two days on a German
U-boat (U-352), a 400+ foot tanker that was sunk by (another) U-boat
(Papoose), a Coast Guard cutter deliberately sunk as artificial reef
(Spar), and a former German gunboat from WW1 that US captured that then
collided with a ship and sank (Schurz) soonafter.  I personally liked the
Papoose the best overall with the U-Boat also being pretty cool.   Schurz
was mostly rubble along bottom with various guns, boilers, and such still
intact and has thus attracted alot of fish.  Spar is a cool wreck and
obviously in best shape as it was very recently sunk (and apparently is
perfect for wreck penetration training, which I didn't do) with lots of
fish - but visibility was not great (too close to shore).  However, it did
create a rather eerie atmosphere which was pretty cool actually since the
ship basically looked like a ghost in the fog and you couldn't see that far

Visibility was quite good at 40-60 feet (if not more) on most (only 20-30
on Spar, which is close to shore).  Apparently our timing was good because
viz overall has been bad at these wrecks for a while due to recent
hurricanes that had really stirred up the sand on the ocean bottom and had
just started to clear up.   

Most wrecks had at one to three 7-10 foot sand tiger sharks (harmless, very
laid back sharks with lots of teeth but no attitude, but who like to come
up and check you out - you can often see small specimans in aquariums
because of their calm demeanor and mean look), clouds of thick bait ball
schools of small fish that could be 50 or more feet in circumference with
lots of barracuda and amberjacks stalking them.  Wrecks also had alot of
spadefish, bank sea bass on the wreck surfaces, porgies, and triggerfish
among others.  We saw what we thought was a small thresher shark from a
distance on the Papoose along the bottom.  The fish (of all shapes and
sizes) were not shy.  One of the sharks at U-boat practically ran me over
(got within arms reach) at a very slow, calm pace (just calmly checking me
out) - I got some good pix as he or she passed.  very cool!  One of the
funniest scenes was at the U-Boat where a guy with an underwater writing
pad was furiously scribbling down something as he cruised close to the
hull.  The big sand tiger there crept right up behind the guy as if he/she
was trying to look over his shoulder to figure out (like the rest of us)
what the heck he was writing!   The guy was so focused, he never noticed
the shark parked up right behind him.  He probably would have had a heart
attack if he had turned around (haha).  

A layer of amberjacks and barracuda (both 2-5 feet long) hung out at around
the 50 foot depth and would occasionally sweep down into the baitballs of
fish at the wrecks to feed and return to their formation with lunch.  Their
location was perfect because given the fact the wrecks are at 100-130 feet,
I was concerned that the dives would be really short because you cannot
stay at that depth for more than 10-15 minutes before you have to start
coming up (due to nitrogen buildup in your tissue) and there is alot of
nothing between the surface and the ocean floor so unless you wanted to
hang on the line for a while looking at the vast expanse of the open ocean,
you would probably come all the way up.  Fortunately, these layers of
amberjacks and barracuda gave us a reason to hang out longer at middle
depths.  So we would generally hang on the anchor line at their level and
watch them for a while before finally heading up the anchor line to the
surface.  Jacks and barracuda are very curious and will swim right up to
you (and are a pretty good size).  I got some pix of them too.

fortunately seas were pretty calm (a little bumpy on day 1 with 1-2 foot
waves and pretty smooth on day 2) as were the currents (which were only
significant on one of the dives).  Both can be very rough I have read. 
Weather was partly sunny 70s both days.   

Half the boat was from DC and most of rest was from Long Island.  Everyone
was pretty cool...  It was interesting that there were no rules against
taking artifacts, spearfishing, or capturing fish.  One guy speared a few
fish and took them to shore (boat had big freezer).  Another took a small
tank designed to store captured fish for aquariums (he snagged a small
lionfish from the U-Boat).
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