Welcome to Moorehead City

The drive down to North Carolina in Lee Livingston’s suburban was mostly uneventful. We arrived in Moorehead city around noon, one day after we departed Connecticut. We hung out at the Olympus dive shop for several hours getting our c-cards checked out and everyone payed up for the upcoming week in diving. We also had several hours to kill before we could check into the Buccaneer Inn. In the meantime, we visited a doctor who had a look at my ear, and told me I had caught a spectacular case of swimmer’s ear. It was incredibly painful, but I survived until the following day to go diving. On Monday we woke up at 6, were on the road by 6:30 and were pulling out of the dock by 7 am sharp. The seas were calm while the Midnight Express motored out to the first dive sight. The trip took about two hours. We arrived at our destination a little before nine and the crew set the anchor while Bobby the captain gave us a dive briefing. I listened attentively. The conditions sounded fantastic to me. Visibility was between 60 and 80 feet (this prompted a slightly disappointed “Oh” from the passengers) with no current on the surface or on the bottom. Bobby gave us a quick history of the dive site. It was a coast guard cutter sunk as part of an artificial reef program two years ago. The ship was sunk about 200 yards from another wreck the Aeolus, allowing fish and sharks to commute between the two wrecks, creating a more extensive habitat. I began donning my rig with my dive buddy Betsy. It was liberating to only where a 3ml wetsuit after last weeks drysuit. I needed little in the way of weight and the only extra gear I had to wear was a pony bottle, for the depth. While we were suiting up, it was warm out, but not too warm too make you sweat. Jumping into the water was fantastic. It was just cool enough to be refreshing after wearing a wetsuit out of the water for half an hour. Slipping under the surface the water was a beautiful blue color and I could actually see all the other divers nearly 100 feet beneath us. Betsy and I began our descent onto the wreck. It was remarkable to see the ship, still looking new and workable even though it had been underwater for two years. The aquatic life was abundant, though not in comparison to the wrecks we saw later in the week. The most interesting part of the dive was exploring the ship, still so intact that some of the gauges were still in the control room. However since the wrecks off the coast in North Carolina are unprotected, the gauges certainly won’t be there for long. Huge bits of the ships were removed for divers to enter the inside of the wreck. It is possible to swim through most of the ship down the hallways since nothing has caved in yet. I did not attempt this, since I was contented with what I could see from the outside of the ship. Air goes fast at 100 feet, where the wreck was at, so after 15 minutes at the bottom (breathing nitrox) Betsy and I headed for the surface. The ascent takes forever from that depth and we did a nice long safety stop at fifteen feet, so the dive is close to forty minutes long by the time you get back to the boat. Since the dives are so deep, a long surface interval is required too. I spent this time doing cannon balls off the bow of the boat with Betsy and her sister Katy. After a while, just about everyone joined in the fun and we had diving and cannonball contests. After a while it was time to eat so we did one last jump and hunkered down to our bagged lunches. Soon enough we were gearing up again. We hopped into the water and descended again. The second dive was just as enjoyable as the first with warm water and great visibility, though it was a little shorter, just to be on the safe side. About half of the passengers on the boat slept on the way back. When the boat made it back to the dock, we unloaded our tanks to get them filled then headed back to the hotel.