September 27, 2011 - Michael J Norwood Event 2011

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Photo of the Week
The Morehead City Waterfront as seen from the sun deck of the M/V Olympus.
The Midnight Express is the last boat on the right. (New)
     The winds blew, the seas were bumpy and the skies unloaded a deluge of rain upon the Carolina Coast this past weekend but, the divers who attended the Michael J Norwood Event of 2011 defied the adverse weather and went diving regardless and with much success. The fact that John Chatterton was the guest diver on board the M/V Olympus and Midnight Express for this years event made the diving that much more exciting for everyone involved.

John Chatterton.
Photo Courtesy of John Chatterton.
     For those who are not familiar with John Chatterton's work, he is probably one of the most accomplished divers in the world today who leaped in to the public spotlight when he assisted in the discovery and identification in the 1990's of a German U-Boat, the U-869 that was sunk off the coast of New Jersey. The story of these events was published in to a best selling book titled Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson. John was also one of the hosts to The History Channels popular programs, Deep Sea Detectives. John's many other accomplishments are too vast to write in this Blog Report so click on the links above to familiarize yourself more with his career.
    In December of 2003, while filming an episode in Palau for the Deep Sea Detectives, John's partner, Michael Norwood died while diving the WWII destroyer, the USS Perry. In his memory, his widow, Diana Norwood created the  Michael J Norwood Memorial Research Fund whose purpose was to raise funding for Diver Alert Network (DAN) to research diving related injuries. 
Diana Strauss Norwood on the left and Carla Chatterton on the
 right standing in front of the USS Schurz display at the dive shop. 
This year marked the 6th year for the 'Norwood Event' where divers sign up to go diving for a long weekend on one of Olympus Dive Centers dive boats with John Chatterton and also get to meet Diana and John's wife Carla.  (Carla Chatterton, by the way, is one of the leading volunteers for Soldiers Undertaking Disabled SCUBA (SUDS) and has committed a lot of her time and energy to the cause. To learn more about SUDS please read my Dive Blog Report July 22, 2011 - Suds and Subs.) A percentage of the proceeds from the charter fees from the weekends diving is contributed to the Norwood Fund along with additional monies raised from the auction during the Michael J Norwood dinner on Saturday evening.
Group leader for Lynnhaven Dive Center
on board the Midnight Express, Dana Chapman.
     This years turn out was impressive. Nearly every spot was booked on both the Olympus and the vessel I captain, the Midnight Express for all three days Friday September 23rd through Sunday September 25th. Taking up the lion share of the spots was the group from Lynnhaven Dive Center based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Since there was only one John Chatterton and more than 20 divers from Lynnhaven, the group was split up and divided on to both boats where John shared his time on each.
Captain Robert Purifoy of Olympus Dive Center.
     On Friday morning, the weather seemed to be cooperating by the looks of it at the dock but, the forecast was ominous with a small craft advisory posted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) weather service which indicated there was to be 5 foot swells offshore with some heavy winds. Based on the information we had on hand on that morning Captain Robert Purifoy of the Olympus and the proprietor of Olympus Dive Center, deemed it safe enough to head out and as we say in North Carolina, "take a look at it". I concurred with his decision and continued to load up all the divers and gear on to the 'Midnight' and head out for a days diving. My plan today was to head south out of Beaufort Inlet and go as far as allowed on a full day charter to try to avoid the low visibility conditions that have plagued us since Hurricane Irene tore through the region last month. The general rule is, the further you go offshore and the closer you get to the Gulf Stream, the clearer the water would be. With John Chatterton diving on the Olympus today, my group, headed by Dana Chapman from Lynnhaven Dive Center, and special guest Dr. Nick Bird from DAN, agreed with my idea and liked the sound of diving the wreck of the W.E. Hutton, aka Papoose 32 miles south.

Dive mate, Mike Phillips
on the deck of the
Midnight Express with ominous
cloud cover in the background. 
     The ride out was uneventful the first 25 miles with a modest ground swell and 10-15 knots of wind chop on top beating in to the 'Midnight'. As the last seven miles ticked off my GPS on my way to the final waypoint, the seas began to pick up some what and the swell heights increased. "This day might prove to be a little more challenging than I had hoped", I thought to myself. The conditions were still within limits with the skill set of the divers I had onboard so I would continue on. Not having any idea what the visibility would be today I discussed with my mate, Mike Phillips what to do in the event of low 'viz'. I said, "If you can see more than ten feet we will give it a try". As luck would have it, Mike called up to me on the head set that the viz was about 10-15 feet. I was pleased as punch. 10-15 feet of viz on an average day would be terrible but compared to what it has been it was pretty good. 
Divers preparing for a dive on the deck of the Midnight.
     I gave the heads up to all the divers what the skinny was with the dive and fortunately I heard no grumbles from any of the them. They were here to dive and "to hell with the visibility", seemed to be there silent motto. With sunlight overhead, clear water beneath and decent size waves tossing the boat about the divers one by one disappeared over the side and headed down the anchor line to get a glimpse of the Papoose lying in 120 feet of sea water below them. The crew and I sat back and kept watch while we waited for the divers to return. Soon enough the tell tale sign of bubbles could be seen rising up from the anchor line below the stem of the 'Midnight'. As each diver made his and her way back on to the boat I asked them, "how was your dive and what would you say the 'viz' was?". Each and every one of them reported they had a great dive and they could see at least 20-25 feet. You would think I was the one returning after a great dive based on how excited I was to hear this news.

The U-352. (Stock)
     Once all were collected up and roll call completed we pulled anchor and headed over the U-352 (please see previous Dive Blog Report Hunter Turned to Huntedto try our luck over there for dive number two. Another dive boat in the area had reported 25 foot of 'viz' earlier in the day so it seemed that it would be good call to dive the Sub today. Sure enough, after my last diver was up after diving the U-Boat all seemed elated at getting a crack at this epic WWII wreck. Many of the divers on board had already dived the Sub before but that didn't seem to matter. This is not a wreck dive that most enthusiasts grow weary of all too quickly. The 'viz' was reported at around 15-20 feet while others indicated it was better than that. (Visibility is one of those things that in a crowd of 20 divers you sometimes will get twenty different interpretations of the 'viz'). With a pair of successful dives under our belt and the wind blowing 15-20 knots it was time to turn tale and head for home.

Empty cylinders at the fill station.
The 5 plus foot swells at the stern of the 'Midnight' it made for a interesting ride in to shore as we surfed down the face of the waves and climbed back up the back of the next one in front. In no time at all we made it back to shore safe and sound. The divers began transporting empty dive cylinders to the fill station to top them off again for the next days diving. Stories were swapped and plans for the next day were laid down. With weather permitting we would try for the wreck of Aeolus.
     On Saturday morning at 0445 I flipped open my lap top to check the weather forecast for the day. I didn't see anything that would give me cause for alarm except the rain and storm systems I was seeing along the coastline on the radar. Once at the dock Capt. Robert and myself assessed the conditions and waited for the storm to dissipate that was right over our heads. Once this happened and the coast was clear, the 'Midnight' headed out alongside the Olympus for another go at diving the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Today however, I had the honor of John Chatterton join us for some diving. Having John on board sharing his stories, knowledge and love of diving is enough entertainment by itself. 
First Mate of the 'Midnight',
Danny Facciola.
     As planned, we headed out to see what the 'viz' was like on the Aeolus. The Olympus, being a somewhat speedier vessel, had beat me out to the dive site first and sent his diver down to tie in on the wreck of the USCG Cutter Spar which is only a few hundred feet away from the Aeolus. With the exception of the rain and occasional bolt of lighting the weather was cooperating and actually calmer than what the forecast had predicted. I stood by and waited to hear back what the conditions were like before I would send my diver in as well. As it would be, the rain was coming down heavy and the cloud cover was dense allowing for very little sunlight to poke through. It was about as dreary and dark as it can be in full daylight. I expected that with these dark conditions the 'viz' on the Spar would be low. After a few minutes Captain Robert came over the VHF radio, "my diver landed in the sand and can't see the wreck, five feet of viz and very dark, over". "Yuck" I thought to myself. I'm heading south to where I know it was decent the day before, the Papoose. If I'm lucky the extra 8 mile drive due south might bring us out of the rain and darkness. So without delay I headed over to the Papoose once again. Unfortunately, when we got there the rain continued to come down but it seemed as though there was a tad more ambient light now than earlier. I dropped my new first mate, Danny Facciola (John Thompson sadly had to pack his saddle bag and move on) on to the wreck to tie in and reported similar conditions from yesterday but darker due to the cloud cover.

The inside of the
W.E. Hutton aka Papoose on
a clear day. (Stock)
    After giving yet another briefing, I opened the 'pool' and let everyone jump in for a dip. The long short of this day of diving is, everyone had a great dive and managed to see the local residents on the wreck, the Sand Tiger Sharks. The dive was good enough where all listened to my recommendations and stayed here for the second dive as well. When conditions are adverse and unknown elsewhere you stick with what is good and what works. That's a rule to live by in this business. After the diving was completed we turned for home with a boat load of water logged divers tucked away below. The forecast for tomorrow once again did not look promising but being that it was far from accurate the last two days I wasn't making plans to lay on my couch and take a day off. I stayed optimistic and hoped for a go the following morning.
     On Sunday AM, the rain continued to come down but the wind was almost non-existent. Swells from an unknown storm system far offshore were predicted to build more from the day before. Many of the divers on board both boats, the Olympus and Midnight were feeling as though they had enough diving in these conditions. Captain Robert picking up on this vibe did the noble thing and allowed anyone who wished to, to back out of the last days diving. With about half of all participating divers calling it quits the remaining divers were moved to the 'Midnight' including John Chatterton who had no interest in staying at the dock on this day. After settling everyone in, dock lines were cast off and we pulled away from the dock. My intention was to head over the the USS Schurz to try our luck out on this famous WWI US warship. The Schurz is only three miles from the Papoose making it likely that the conditions would be about the same. The worst thing that could happen is if the dive on the Schurz was no good due to low viz we could easily head over to the Papoose.
The USS Schurz when the water is more than 20 feet of viz. (stock)
     The ride out yielded once again torrents of rain interspersed by drizzling rain with a touch of showers mixed in for flavor. I kept joking with my mate Danny by saying every hour or so, "It's raining out". Despite this depressing weather the moral of all the divers on board as well as the crews was high. It seemed that nothing would get this group bummed out. On the ride out, as I looked at the ships radar set on 24 mile scale, all I could see was a large blob on the display that indicated rain with the 'Midnight' right in the middle of it. As the last ten miles ticked off I noticed an opening in the radar that showed the promise of a break in the rain. As I got closer I could start to see the semblance of light way ahead as it continued to pour on us. Within the last mile, the "Midnight' poked her head out from the rain clouds to discover the first signs of the sunlight in a partially cloud covered sky. My crew secured the boat to the wreck and radioed up to me that the 'viz' was pretty decent at around 20 feet but still a little dark. It was a go! I hurried to the back deck, briefed the divers and said the light switch was in the on position but it didn't look like for much longer so hurry up and get in the water.

John Chatterton returning from a dive.
     Without delay and with precision, all the divers made it in and headed on down to the wreck for a looksy. The Schurz is a very old wreck with a steep history (read the link) and also very low lying to the sand. Not much of her remains that is more than five feet above the sea bed. For some divers this makes the wreck more interesting while for others they would prefer a more intact wreck. Once the divers all returned and delivered their reports I don't think the latter type of diver was present. All seemed pretty jazzed with their trip down to the wreck including John Chatterton. Just as the last of the divers clambered back on board a squall made its presence known to the boat with gusting winds and you guessed it, rain! The wind and rain is usually not an issue when at sea unless extreme. It is lighting that gets my serious attention. A metal dive boat in the middle of the ocean is like a lighting rod. When a smaller vessel can avoid being in lighting it is always wisest to do just that and avoid it. So far today I saw plenty of rain but no lighting to speak of. 
Duncan Pinnock with Lynnhaven Dive Center
scored a few nice Grouper over three days.
     With that said, I would move the boat over to the U-352 once again for the final dive of the day. It was decent here two days ago and I couldn't see any reason why it would be different. My mate secured us to the wreck and indicated the 'viz' was about 15 feet in the dark. Once again it was a go. Knowing my divers as I did I knew no one would have an issue with these conditions. I made a quick brief and discovered everyone on the boat has been to the Sub before but one man. With that said I announced to everyone we had a U-352 virgin on board where an applause burst out right after. Seeing the enthusiasm the other divers had for this wreck must have excited him more than usual. 
     Everyone, especially John, made the dive on the Sub. Since John has a special affinity for U-Boats he was one of the first divers in the water. After a while everyone returned to the Midnight with a thumbs up attitude. Seriously, their was no getting this group down. There positive attitudes and enthusiasm for sport diving carried them through a three day weekend of below average dive conditions for North Carolina. For them, this final dive on the Sub was more icing on an already sugary cake. Before I started patting myself on the back, it was time to get the boat underway since the skies opened up yet again this time with angry thunder and cracks of lighting threatening us. It was a 'loot and scoot' day and I was very ready to scoot.

Chip and his helmet Go-Pro Cam. Don't knock it until
you try it. They're awesome.

In a few minutes the 'Midnight' was heading due north at a speed slightly faster then sound. I had had enough of this weather and wanted to get home sooner than later. Besides, everyone and everything on the boat was soaked and smelled like my high school gym bag after a week at football camp. The divers turned to passengers hunkered down and made themselves comfortable and in no time most all were in a deep coma probably dreaming of U-Boats filled with contraband gold.
     As I pulled the boat in to the dock and my crew secured the lines I felt a sense of accomplishment. The Olympus boats managed to safely make it out for three days of diving when weather forecasts said we could do otherwise. From my position most of the divers with us on this Norwood Foundation event had memorable dives even those who took the last day of diving off. One thing for sure is Captain Robert and myself tried to make the best of adverse weather and dive conditions and show everyone a good time but like in politics you can't make all the people happy all of the time.
Future SCUBA diver, Samantha Faatz
trying to keep dry. Photo courtesy of Scott
and Sara Faatz.
     For the next hour, divers packed bags, unloaded gear, shook hands, swapped business cards and made plans for the next dive trip back to Olympus Dive Center. Diving is more than a recreational sport it is a social culture all of its own with groups of people sharing a common interest doing what they love to do. The crew of the Midnight Express, the Olympus and all of the staff at the shop wanted to thank everyone especially John & Carla Chatterton, Dianna Strauss Norwood and Dr. Nick Bird for making this a fantastic weekend of diving. At press time it is unknown how much money was raised for the Norwood Foundation but rumor has it it was a good year. Once this information is known you should hear about it on Olympus's facebook page.

Olympus crew and friends at John Chatterton's birthday party at Floyds 1921.
    As for me, I have yet to make a dive since 'Irene' swept through and the weather conditions kept me on the deck of the boat the whole weekend. Don't feel too sorry for me though since I'm able to live vicariously off of my passengers. I still have several more weekends of charters in October so I hope to get some more video, photos and stories to share with you all very soon.  Stay tuned for more Dive Blogs in the coming weeks. I still have to report on my Top Ten Dives of All Time and the making of The Wrecks of Truk Lagoon and The Wreck of the SS President Coolidge dive documentaries.

Happy Diving!

Mike Gerken

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If you wish to dive Graveyard of the Atlantic contact

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Mike Gerken

September 22, 2011 - The Spar: "The Cutter with the Most Gold"

The Spar
"The Cutter With the Most Gold"         
The USCG Cutter Spar in 1957.
Courtesy of USCG Archives.
A close encounter with a Sand Tiger Shark, Carcharias Taurus
on the deck of the USCG Cutter Spar. (Stock)
     Hovering at a depth of 80 feet of seawater and only a few inches over the foredeck of the wreck, I remained motionless while breathing slowly in and out in an effort not to startle my prey with the noisy bubbles venting from my regulator.  After waiting nearly ten minutes several targets in the distance slowly approached to within range for a shot.  My patience was about to pay off.  A large Sand Tiger Shark at around 8 feet in length slowly approached me from the head on while not heeding my presence.  I lined my sights up on the rows of the gnarly ragged teeth jutting out of her mouth and just when it seemed she was going to bump in to my dome port I fired off a round of shots from my submerged digital SLR camera.  Snap, snap, snap!  The brilliant flash of my twin underwater strobes fired off in rapid succession but did not alarm the Shark as she continued to approach me.  I then had to lower the bulky camera housing and try to back out of the situation to avoid contact.  My sudden movement must have gotten her attention because within a split second the once languid Sand Tiger Shark instantly sprang to life as she snapped around folding her body almost in half until pointing her snout nearly in the opposite direction. The whipping motion and the lighting speed of the tail created a cracking sound like a muffled shotgun blast.  
Sand Tiger Shark on the Spar. (Stock)
Instinctively, I covered my face with my free hand so the concussion of water would not knock my mask off as had nearly happened on previous encounters with these sharks.  A turbulent wall of water rushed at me knocking me for a spin but luckily with no further dire consequences for the shark or myself.  When I dropped my hand all I could see was the faint outline of the shark speeding away from me in to the blue water. Phew!  I could now take a deep breath and allow my heart rate to return to a normal pace while reviewing on my cameras LCD the images that I hoped would yield one great shot.  I could clearly see a large quantity of teeth taking up a substantial area of the LCD while many of the details of the face were in clear focus.  Success!  I had just landed another prized photograph of one of my all time favorite subjects.  

A Sand Tiger Shark swimming across the buoy deck
of the USCG Cutter Spar. (Stock)
     This is but one of many of my memorable encounters with Carcharias Taurus  on the wreck of the United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC), Spar. She was sank 26 nautical miles due south of Morehead City as part of the North Carolina artificial reef program in 2004 and has become one of the most sought after wreck dives in the region primarily due to her abundance of marine life highlighted with the ever present Sand Tiger Sharks. The Spar is visited every year by hundreds of sport diving enthusiasts from all over the country and even the world to experience the thrill and excitement of wreck diving with these enigmatic creatures. However, I suspect many who dive upon her rusting hulk are unaware of the distinguished career the Spar had with the Coast Guard prior to her sinking. I'm going to change that as of right now.

The USCG Cutter Spar under construction at the
Marine Iron and Shipbuilding Corp. in Duluth MN September 30, 1943.
     The USCG's motto is Semper Paratus; Always Ready whose acronym spells SPAR. The Spar was commissioned on June 12 of 1944 as part of the Coast Guards program to develop a new class of buoy tender that was initiated in early 1941 prior to the outbreak of WWII. This new class of tender was designed to fulfill the service’s multi-mission role to conduct Search and Rescue operations (SAR), Law Enforcement missions (LE) as well as their primary mission of tending to Aids to Navigation (ATON). The new class of tender measured 180 feet overall hence making them the 180 Class tenders. The 180's, also known as Iris class, had a beam of 37 feet at her widest point and drew 13 feet of water with a displacement of 935 tons. They were propelled by a single screw electric turbine motor powered by twin diesel generators with a 30,000 gallon capacity and a max speed of 13 knots sustained.  A reinforced bow and an ice belt at the waterline gave the vessel ice breaking abilities and with design modifications to the hull it made her a more seaworthy vessel then her predecessors.
The launching party for the Spar on November 2, 1943.
Photo courtesy of USCG Archives.
The launching of the USCG Cutter Spar on November 2, 1943.
Photo courtesy of USCG Archives.
    By the time the Spar's keel was laid in September of 1943 at the Marine Iron and Shipbuilding Corporation in Duluth, MN, WWII was already in full swing and the industrial might of America at this time was at it's peak. All of the thirty-nine  180 class buoy tenders were produced between 1941 and 1944 at two shipyards in Duluth. With much of the male workforce off fighting in the war, shipyards began turning to women by the thousands as electricians, welders and machinists in Minnesota in order to get the job done. These women workers, also known as "welderettes", played a key role in the production of the USCG modern class buoy tenders and their efforts in the war should not be discounted.
The Spar during WWII painted gun
metal gray. Photo courtesy of the USCG
    The Spar was placed in to service in June of 1944 and participated as a convoy escort in anti-submarine warfare off the coast of Brazil. To protect the ship and her crew of 6 officers and 74 crew the Spar was fitted with an assortment of weapons. To defend against air attack she was fitted with 4-20mm guns two on the superstructure and two on the aft section. A single 3" cannon was mounted aft of the stack to attack air and surface targets. Depth charge racks mounted on the stern were installed and a device called a 'mousetrap' was mounted on the bow to defend against enemy submarine attacks.
Anti-sub weapon a 'mousetrap".
A 'mousetrap' was a rocket propelled explosives that were designed to detonate on impact of a submarine hull. The Spar although equipped for action did not encountered the enemy in the war but served her country well all the same.
    After the war ended the Spar was permanently stationed in Woods Hole, MA until 1951 where she was relocated to Bristol, R.I. at that time. In 1957 she was assigned the duty of conducting hydro graphic surveys in the Northwest Passage and it would be here where her ice breaking capabilities would play a key role. The Spar during the course of this mission became the first ship to circumnavigate North America. President Dwight D. Eisenhower even sent his personal congratulations to the crew of the Spar for this remarkable feet.  In 1966, the Spar was dispatched to the North Atlantic where she participated in an undersea oceanographic charting operation. During the course of this mission she logged over 17,000 miles and visited over 6 countries including Germany, Iceland and Norway.
The Spar in the ice during her mission to the Northwest Passage in September 1957.
Photo courtesy of USCG Archives.
The Spar testing oil skimming equipment. Date unknown.
Photo courtesy of USCG Archives.
    In 1973 the Spar was relocated once again to Portland, ME where she served general duties maintaining New England Coastal navigational aids in waters that were known for their rocky and treacherous shoreline. To be able to pilot a vessel with success in such hazardous waters leaves much to be said for the superior skill of the crew. It was in 1981 where the Spar was noted for her outstanding service when she scored the highest marks by any ocean going tender in the fleet at Refresher Training in Little Creek, VA. In following years she would accumulate additional high scores and proudly displayed a gold "E" with three gold service stripes for eight consecutive overall excellent scores in operations and seamship training. Vice-Admiral Paul Welling, the commander of the Atlantic Area (LANTAREA), recognized the Spar as "The Cutter with the Most Gold" in the Atlantic Fleet.

The Spar underway in 1968.
Photo courtesy of USCG Archives.

This series of photos was taken by Robert Purifoy in August 2004  at the sinking of the USCG Cutter Spar.

     The Spar's career came to a halt when she was decommissioned in February of 1997 and placed in to storage at the Coast Guard yard in Curtis Bay, MD. Her illustrious duties of course were far from over. After collecting rust for seven years the Spar was purchased by the State of North Carolina and sent to the bottom of the Atlantic to become an artificial reef to attract fish life for sport fishing and recreational sport diving. Today, the Spar is one of the hottest wreck dives off the North Carolina Coast. With a max depth of only 110 feet and the shallowest point at 75 feet she appeals to divers with beginner to expert skills alike. The water temp in the summer months can climb as high as 82 degrees on the bottom with average visibility at a respectable 50-60 feet. Traditionally dozens of Sand Tigers could be found hanging about the wreck on any given day as well as large schools of Atlantic Spade Fish schooling around the tall superstructure. Fearless Greater Amber Jacks regularly sneak up behind divers coming to within arms reach. I have had to push them away from me on many occasions while photographing.
A Greater Amber Jack swimming
past the stem of the Spar. (stock)

The USCG Cutter Spar.
Illustration by Charles R. Hitz© 1990.  
The Wreck of the Spar may be only a modest 180' long and not have as memorable a history as say the aircraft carriers USS Oriskany, and USS Saratoga or even the WWII troop transport ship the SS President Coolidge but her story is a respectable one that deserves attention all the same. Let it not be forgotten that this ship served it's country to the best of it's abilities in war and in peace time and continues to serve today as a stunning and marvelous dive sight. The "Cutter With the Most Gold" just keeps on giving.

A Sand Tiger Shark swimming past the superstructure
on the buoy deck of the Spar. (Stock)

The latest News from the Spar.

Diver hovering over the superstructure
of the Spar with school of Spade Fish beneath. (Stock)
     In the summer season of 2011 the population of Sand Tiger Sharks had dwindled somewhat and divers had only spotted a few at a time per dive. The reason for this is unknown but the behavior is not unheard of. These sharks have been known to take up residence in mass on other wrecks only to have moved to other wrecks years later. Why Sand Tigers will move off a site to another site is a mystery but we are expecting them to return in force to the Spar soon enough. Other recent noteworthy happenings with the Spar occurred when the eye of Hurricane Irene passed directly over the wreck of the Spar in August of 2011 with waves an estimated 29 feet on the surface. The force of this storm apparently has moved the wreck nearly 200 feet from its previous location and pushed it over on to its side with a 45 degree list to port. As of the writing of this article I have yet to dive the Spar in her new location and her position due to adverse weather and poor visibility left behind by Irene.  I am scheduled to run charters there this weekend since conditions have improved vastly and the 2011 dive season in North Carolina continues. I hope to have new photos to publish when I get down to the Spar again soon.

Happy Diving!
Mike Gerken

Please visit my web site to see video excerpts from my documentary films and a complete underwater photographic portfolio of my work and purchase fine art prints and DVD's of my films.

If you wish to dive the Graveyard of the Atlantic contactOlympus Dive Center for more information.

Olympus Dive Center, Morhead City, NC.
Also, follow me on Facebook at Evolution Underwater Imaging (by Mike Gerken) and click like to receive the latest updates.

Mike Gerken