• Welcome to ScubaBoard

  1. Welcome to ScubaBoard, the world's largest scuba diving community. Registration is not required to read the forums, but we encourage you to join. Joining has its benefits and enables you to participate in the discussions.

    Benefits of registering include

    • Ability to post and comment on topics and discussions.
    • A Free photo gallery to share your dive photos with the world.
    • You can make this box go away

    Joining is quick and easy. Login or Register now by clicking on the button

Morehead City Trip Report Instigator Fishing & Dive Charters 10/19 and 10/20

Discussion in 'North Carolina' started by rob.mwpropane, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. rob.mwpropane

    rob.mwpropane ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    1,160
    691
    113
    I figured I would share my experience. I'll try not to be too long winded. I am an AOW (not sure what that means really) who mostly dives in a drysuit in darker murky quarries. Going to Morehead City and seeing some wrecks has been on my bucket list for a while. When my wife and I were invited to go to a wedding in The Outer Banks I figured why not take a few days to ourselves and go diving.

    I reached out and started a thread on here to see what suggestions might be or what to expect. Truth be told I like smaller more intimate charters. I don't really like large groups of people and am even less fond of large groups of divers. I want to see the life, not 20 other divers scaring it all away. I also like to support small businesses when I can, so when some suggested Instigator Fishing & Dive Charters I figured I'd give it a shot. I messaged the captain @Cindy Norris Garb and we proceeded to set something up. I told her we would be interested in a 3 tank extended day offshore and then a 2 tank inshore. I know that sounds exhausting, but I'm one of those people that likes to get in everything I can while away.

    I had asked about lodging and she offered the use of a mate / friends cabin in the woods....well to me this screamed 1980's horror flick but I figured why not... all I have to do is run faster than my wife and I'll be ok:). Hole in the wall cabin in the woods it was NOT! It was a beautiful 4000+ square foot cabin with 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. Wrap around porch, screened in porch, place to wash gear and hang stuff up. Completely private and quiet. It far exceeded any idea of a one room bug infested S hole in the woods. To top it off, it was just 10 min from the boat.

    Sadly, Monday got blown out. I know MHC is a 50/50 shot to get out and came somewhat prepared. We had the choice of Mystery Lake or Fantasy Lake, both quarries, but Fantasy was supposed to be a little shallower / brighter which I knew my wife would like. We got air fills from @Cindy Norris Garb and made the 2.5 hr drive. It was interesting, I think worth it if you get blown out. The gate is not guarded, there's no one to pay. It's all done on the honor system, cash in an envelope, let yourself in and let yourself out. What I DO like about it is someone told me it's open 24/7, so if you feel like a night dive @ 3am because you can't sleep....I guess have at it. I was told the viz is crappy, which is always dependent on the diver I guess. Crappy viz to me is not being able to see my fins. Fantasy was 20-30' viz. We did go on a weekday and had the whole place to ourselves, so I'm sure it helped that there were no students kicking stuff up. 2 dives, 46', 63f, 55 min and then 52', 59f, 66 min. Very strange stuff to see...kids playground for one. It feels like a rundown carnival ride, a little spooky. I liked it.

    Now onto the important stuff. Tuesday 10/20 we met at the boat @ 7am. The plan was to do inshore only as it was a little too rough farther out. That was fine because we had a wedding to get to anyway. The plan was to hopefully see sharks. We headed out around 7:45 or so. We dove 32%.

    1st wreck was the Hutton. My dc said max depth was 75', temp was 72f, average depth was 56', got in 58 min. The wreck is in pieces, but there was a lot of life on it. We were looking for sharks, but none to see. It was still a great dive and probably worked out well as it was my first ocean dive in a drysuit and doubles. I had to wear dry gloves as my seals have ripped, but they weren't needed for warmth at all. I did not wear any thermals, just a base wicking layer, the gloves, and no hood. Felt fine.

    2nd wreck was the Indra. It was bigger, more intact, and had tons of life on it. Dc said max 70', temp was 72f, average depth 52', got in 66 min. Again, no sharks BUT we did get to see either 4 or 5 octopus (that last one may have been a repeat). It was very cool as I've never seen one before. They just don't come out all that often in the quarries up my way :rofl3: Actually @Cindy Norris Garb had to point it out. She pointed at it at least 4 times and I couldn't see it, and then held up 8 fingers and pointed to her leg and I got it! She was even able to coax him out of his hole for a 1/2 way descent video. There's a good chance that I've been in close proximity of an octopus before, but with the way they camouflage almost impossible to see (for me). What was cool is that out of the 4 (or 5) only 2 were actually in there hole, the others were out and about moving around. This was a nice dive, not too deep, plenty of bottom time, tons of life. I don't know my fish, but at the top of the wreck there was much larger fish hunting the tons of much smaller fish. So even on the way back up the line you got to see tons of life. The other diver on the boat that went called it a "bait ball". That was exciting to watch. There was also larger barracuda circling.

    It's a shame we didn't get out Monday, but that's NC. I was told ahead of time it was a 50/50 shot, so nothing at all against the operation. Everything was very accommodating and very reasonably priced. I am a cheap sob and would not hesitate to go with them again. @Cindy Norris Garb and her boyfriend Ryan were both great to talk to and hang out with. It is a dive charter and it is a business, but it feels more like family by the time you're done. There was absolutely no hand holding at all unless you asked for it. I think the exact words were "you're a certified diver", which I really, really appreciated. She did dive with us, but it was to spearfish. If you'd like a guide she said she's more than happy to lead no problem. I did not and I like moving at my own pace, but I'm glad she was there to show the octopus.

    My last thought is that I can't express how comfortable I felt in my gear. I've learned so much by reading SB and practicing over the last 3.5 years. I really took it to heart when they said get good in the quarry so you can enjoy the better dives. I dive as often as I can and it's never the greatest conditions. The viz is shite, the water is cold (43f), there's not much to see at all. Full thermals, liners, and hood is a must. It's pitch black below 30' or so,..... BUT every time I go I learn something about myself. I get just that much more comfortable in my gear. This trip is the 1st trip that I've taken with my drysuit and a set of doubles. Being comfortable in a quarry in near zero viz made this ocean dive an enjoyable breeze. It was like all the pieces of the puzzle finally came together for this one moment in time. My rmv topped out @ .64 and .61 for the dives. Could not be happier with my experience both above or below the water.

    I will try to get a few videos / pictures edited and added. Be forewarned, I'm not a photographer. I don't take pictures, I take memories that maybe only I can sometimes make out what they are, lol.o_O
     
  2. rob.mwpropane

    rob.mwpropane ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    1,160
    691
    113
  3. AustinV

    AustinV Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: NoVA
    403
    194
    43
    Glad you got out! NC is just like that sometimes, I've had 3-4 day trips that were like Lake Atlantic and I've had whole weeks where I am lucky to get out once.

    Sounds like you had a great time, and I appreciate the review on a charter I haven't yet been on. Will have to check them out at some point.
     
    Barnaby'sDad and rob.mwpropane like this.
  4. WetCell

    WetCell Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Pilot's Ridge Aeroplantation
    167
    9
    18
    Wow! That was a great DIVREP! Yeah, I've coined a new term (I think) borrowed from aviation where when a pilot gives a report on flight conditions to ATC called a PIREP.

    Anyway, we just moved to Wilmington from Tejas and I am really looking forward to MHC dives at some point!
     
    rob.mwpropane likes this.
  5. AustinV

    AustinV Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: NoVA
    403
    194
    43
    MHC is better for wrecks, but there's still good diving out of Wilmington area, so you're lucky to have that so close.
     
    O-ring and rob.mwpropane like this.
  6. Cindy Norris Garb

    Cindy Norris Garb Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Swansboro, NC
    3
    8
    3
    Thank you for the kind review!
    It was a pleasure having you folks join us and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with all of the octopuses!!! That was fabtab! I hope you all arrived home safely and in the meantime, we look forward to your next trip with us.
     
    drrich2, laikabear and rob.mwpropane like this.
  7. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    8,258
    5,731
    113
    Glad to hear you made it. Hope you get back out there and some offshore wreck diving with the sand tigers; it's something! On my trip, I did enjoy the inshore wrecks, too; lower viz. and didn't see sharks on those, but had longer dive times because they were shallower and NDL's didn't drive us up so soon (even with EAN 30%).
     
    rob.mwpropane likes this.
  8. 100days-a-year

    100days-a-year Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: NE Florida
    2,246
    660
    113
    Glad you got to get out. If you get to go further out some day, the ride is worth it weather dependent. The vis is often far better and the water much warmer even just 10 miles more offshore. It's crazy in the winter, it can be 50 degrees at the sea bouy and 70s offshore.
     
  9. rob.mwpropane

    rob.mwpropane ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    1,160
    691
    113
    Yes Sir, that's the plan. I'll get back to it. It's about a 6.5 hr drive, so I'm sure I could pull off a long weekend, especially if they're calling for perfect weather.



    On a side note, it was the 1st trip we made in our (new to us) 2018 Chrysler Pacifica. Average 28mpg fully loaded with gear. That was awesome. 1350 miles round trip, only $130 in gas down and back, and that's including Fantasy Lake drive and to the OBX.
     
    100days-a-year likes this.
  10. rob.mwpropane

    rob.mwpropane ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    1,160
    691
    113
    Welp...I guess I waited too long. Here's a short video I put on youtube...I think I'll get flagged for the background music copyright, we'll see.

    Just a reminder, I don't do this video stuff for real, it's just something fun to play with. There where no filters, I didn't use dive+ or anything else...no serious critiquing, just all in good fun:)

     

Share This Page