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E. M. Clark Trip Report

Discussion in 'North Carolina' started by Drewski, Aug 21, 2010.

  1. Drewski

    Drewski Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Virginia Beach, USA
    658
    34
    0
    Today was the day! After 3 years of  planning, training and waiting, Bobby, Trey and I were finally able to dive the E. M. Clark. Often considered the pinnacle dive for North Carolina wreck diving, the Clark was sunk by the U-124 in March of 1942, a deadly time for WWII merchant ships on the east coast. She now sits mostly intact on her side in 245ft of water.

    After loading JT Barker's dive boat, the Under Pressure, we left Hatteras Inlet shortly after dawn, driving The 23 miles to the wreck in 3 to 4ft seas. Trey threw the hook and In a few minutes each of us was geared up in  doubles and two stage bottles. We used a 17% oxygen and 45% helium bottom mixture, with 50% and 80% oxygen mixtures for decompression.

    As I descended the anchor line, warm and azure blue water surrounded me. I could see the wreck as I passed 100 ft, the vastness of her hull easily visible. But, as we approached the hull at 170 ft, green darker water came into view. The temp dropped to 65 and I began to worry the viz would be bad. I touched down on the hull at 190ft, and looking over the edge I could see the anchor line running downward. Trey pulled the hook upward to tie it in so Bobby and I dropped over the side to begin the tour. Suddenly, the viz opened up, extending to the limit of visible light in each direction!

    The E. M. Clark is visually stunning. 6 stories high and sitting on it's side, it runs more than 400 ft in length. We touched down dead center on the wreck. Calling the Clark just another wreck would be like saying Notre Dame is just another church. Each of us was stunned and awed by the immensity of it's size. The conditions were perfect - no current and 70 to 100 ft or more of viz. We began swimming to the bow, dropping below 230 ft in depth, the wreck towering over us. Near the bow, a cavernous hole opened where the house used to be, allowing us to see all the way through the wreck. We soon reached our turn pressures and began the trip back to the hook. After 20 minutes of bottom time, we started our ascent and could see the Under Pressure on the surface from 160 ft. One hour later we climbed back on board to smiles and congratulations all around.

    To me, the Clark was the best dive I've ever done. Without a doubt, each of us will be back...
     
  2. robint

    robint Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
    6,540
    1,149
    113
    Wow, sounds like a fantastic dive! Where's the video? :wink:

    My husband has started tech training this month, and he along with several buddies (already done or in tech training currently) are very interested in doing dives like this. Any info you can pass along to me, I will share with them.

    robin:D
     
  3. kentmorrdave

    kentmorrdave Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kent Island, MD USA
    394
    112
    43
    All I can say is WOW
     
  4. RAD Diver

    RAD Diver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
    1,092
    16
    0
    It was a tremendously exciting dive, looking over the side at 190 & still having 50+ feet to the sand is awe inspiring. The wreck is huge, & we have been building up experience & training for quite some time to make it a real possibility.

    Andy decided to leave the video on board the "Under Pressure" for this our 1st dive so that he could concentrate on just doing & enjoying the dive.

    The only advise I can give is don't push it, get your next cert. dive until you are 100% confident in your & your teams ability & then find a good instructor to take you to the next level.

    Also chose who you do these dives with very carefully, it takes quite a bit of planning & having a boat Capt. with the experience of JT who has done just about anything you can name multiple times makes it a bit easier to jump into depths like this.

    Helium though expensive is your friend, we were down at 239 & felt as though we were diving at less than 100, other than the hour of deco we racked up. But that was all in beautiful,warm, blue Gulf Stream waters. Which I spent going over the dive in my head over & over.
     
  5. Drewski

    Drewski Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Virginia Beach, USA
    658
    34
    0
    All photos linked from Captain JT Barker's website...

    Capt JT's - Under Pressure Dive Charters in Hatteras NC and Virginia Beach VA

    6 divers max, stay on the CLEAN and COMFORTABLE 45 ft ice cold air conditioned boat, no hassles. Charter the entire trip or call JT to fill open seats from other trips.

    Robin, leave the crowds, come to Cape Hatteras, dive with us:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Md Spear

    Md Spear Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives:
    Location: Maryland
    140
    26
    28
    Great report......cool dive
     
  7. robint

    robint Orca

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Albuquerque, NM
    6,540
    1,149
    113
    OMG............. those photos are AMAZING!!!! :dropmouth:
    :shocked::cool3:

    I would love to do that dive, but I am not trained for those depths. But my husband and a few friends will be soon, so maybe we can work something out as a group for next summer.

    thanks for posting those photos. Wow wow wow!

    robin:D
     
  8. Randy g

    Randy g Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Virginia Beach, Va
    1,293
    439
    83
    Great report Andy and cool pics.

    I spoke to Bobby for a bit today and man what an amazing dive! I would love to do something like that someday. You guys are some very lucky sumbiatches!
     
  9. packman

    packman Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: southeast of disorder
    716
    0
    16
    awesome photos. glad y'all made it out there.

    one day....one day
     
  10. Drewski

    Drewski Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Virginia Beach, USA
    658
    34
    0
    Hi Robin:

    Just so you know, the GREAT photos you refer to were taken on the Proteus by Bradley Sheard, a world renowned underwater photographer and friend, who took this outstanding picture of the E. M. Clark. Brad dives regularly with JT, along with Mike Boring, another "old salt" of wreck diving, LOL. Both are GREAT guys! After reading my post again, I could see how someone may have confused those pictures as the Clark. SORRY! BTW, I'm nowhere near Brad's level of photographic excellence, LOL...

    The Proteus, along with many other AWESOME Hatteras wrecks such as the Dixie Arrow, F. W. Abrams and British Splendour are all in the 90 to 130 FT range, very similar to what you are diving in Morehead. The last photo on the link is from the Malchace, a "technical" wreck at 180 to 200 FT.

    JT specializes in rec/tech trips for divers of all certification levels, I'm sure you would VERY happy with the diving, accommodations and overall service. Check out his photos of dive trips by clicking here.

    :D

    THANKS...

    Andy
     

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