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

Olympus Dive Center, Aug, 2012,

by Mary K Wicksten, TX, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 6676.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Gulf of Mexico, Florida, greater Caribbean, Galapagos, western Mexico, California, Hawaii, Fiji, south Australia, Yap, Palau, Papua/New Guinea
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 81 to 74 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 2
Water Visibility 10 to 20 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Time limit: 1 hour including 3-minute safety stop
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals N/A Tropical Fish N/A
Small Critters N/A Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments If you have a large camera set-up, it may not fit on the camera table.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations N/A Food N/A
Service and Attitude N/A Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments I traveled to Morehead City, N.C. to join fellow photographers for "Sharkfest". One of my buddies ruefully called the trip "Rainfest", because for three days the weather prevented any boat diving--horizontal rain, heavy winds, swell, lightning, the works. If you come from a distance, try to set aside an extra day for diving to that you don't get "skunked", as some of my fellow divers did.

I dived on a purposely-sunk ship, the "Indra", and a World War II wreck, the "Caribsea". Both wrecks were loaded with schools of baitfish. It was difficult to get a photo without these silvery fish getting into the picture and causing light flashes. Use a long strobe arm or fiddle with "Photoshop" later to correct this problem.

One dives off N.C. either to visit historic shipwrecks or see the schooling sand tiger sharks. The sharks are on wrecks off shore. There were at least two dozen sharks on or near the "Caribsea" during my trip. Run-off from the rain made the water above about 65 feet murky, so it was difficult to take a decent photo of these sharks at a distance. Below 65 feet the water was clearer but also about 5-7 degrees colder--be sure to wear at least a 2 mm suit, hood, gloves and boots. The ship is falling apart, with rusted metal all over the places. There was one dark chamber near the bow. Five sharks cruised around in there but stayed near the entrance. Why the entrance? My buddy and I saw the reason--the huge fanged face of a whopping big goliath grouper.

The "Indra" is covered with a low growth of cold-water coral and one type of gorgonian. There are lots of spot-tail pinfish, also wrasses, groupers, bluefish and barred sand bass. There isn't much diversity but what is there is there in quantity.

The boat leaves at 7 AM. There is no food on the boat and almost nothing is open that early, so stock up on the previous day. Water and a head are aboard. Be sure that your tanks are full and check the nitrox BEFORE the boat leaves the dock. You can rest in the padded galley or up on the sun deck between dives. There is a shaded dive deck. The system of down lines from the boat makes it easy to find the wreck and return, even if a current is running.

I stayed at the diver's lodge for a few days. Unless you are really short on cash, I would not recommend it. There is no kitchen in the lodge, nor is there a sink near the refrigerator and coffee maker. You must use water from the bathroom unless you bring your own. The refrigerator is jammed with stuff. There are four bunks to a room but they have no separate overhead lights or curtains. If you need to get up early or want to hit the hay, you can be sure that someone will object to the light or lack of it. Noise carries. My room temperature was Antarctic. At least the bathrooms were spacious but I had trouble with no hot water in two showers.

Would I go back? Maybe. I liked the dive operator and enjoyed the three dives that I finally got in. I enjoyed going on trips out to the Cape Lookout lighthouse, offshore banks, the Aquarium and the old historic fort nearby but others in my group were badly disappointed.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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