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Outer Banks Diving Hatteras 8/24-25

Discussion in 'North Carolina' started by parzdiver, Aug 10, 2010.

  1. parzdiver

    parzdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lansdale, PA
    Hey all. I scheduled to dive with Outer Banks Diving out of Hatteras on 8/24-25. Looking for a little local insight as to what I need to expect.

    A little about me - I've been diving for 10 years, 200+ dives over half of which were in the last two years. I've been in many different conditions warm and cold, current, surge and waves. Did a few days of diving last year out of Nags Head (58 degree green water) and I'm hoping for some warm blue water.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. packman

    packman Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: southeast of disorder
    As long as you go south of Hatteras, you'll be in the warm, blue water of the Gulf Stream. North of Hatteras gives you the Labrador Current with the water conditions you experienced out of Nags Head. Current, surge, and waves are highly variable and depend on the weather that day as well as conditions on that site. You can currently expect temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s south of Hatteras.
  3. Drewski

    Drewski Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Virginia Beach, USA
    Hey Parz:

    This season has been a little unusual. The last three years have seen warm blue water all the way to the bottom on most wrecks. This year, the mid-water is blue, but the bottom is often green and somewhat murky. 50 to 100 FT of visibility is usually the norm, this year, 20 to 50 is more usual. Upper temps in the 70 to 80 range, bottom in the 60 to 70 range. I still dive 5mm wet, no hood, without difficulty. It sure beats 40ish temps up north, however.

    The boat you will be diving from (the Flying Fish) is about 50 FT long and well set-up for divers. They have solid gear benches, a large platform and a heavy duty boarding ladder. Most days they have 3 crew members, 2 of which are DMs. The owner is the Captain, his wife works the shop. They are nice to customers and will treat you well. The best spot on the boat is the area with marine bean bag chairs up top, get one early and plant your butt.

    Unfortunately, the Flying Fish has a high center of gravity, meaning it will rock, especially when anchored. Combined with the 3 to 5 FT seas we've had this season, I recommend Meclizine (Bonine at CVS) 8 HRS before the dive and another on the way out if you are tolerant of the effects. I've been diving since 1975 and still chew a pill each morning when diving.

    When the boat anchors, the mate will dive and tie the hook. They will give a briefing about the wreck and conditions when he comes back . They will assist you with gear and help you to the jump point. It's a giant stride 5 FT to the water. Immediately locate and grab the "down line." This is a rope that runs from the side of the boat downward to the "hang line." Both are weighted and negative, but you need to be negative to get down. Once on the hang line, get with your buddy and swim toward the "anchor line" (there's a quiz on all of this coming later, LOL). Follow the anchor line down to the wreck. Don't let go of any of these lines. With a current, you will be off the ropes before you know it and have a hard swim back.

    The wrecks off Hatteras are BIG. Most are 400 to 500 FT long and 60 FT+ wide. Remember: Bow, Boiler, Engine, Shaft, Prop (BBESP). Most boats anchor on the largest section of the wreck near the boilers. KNOW where you are anchored. Generally, you can navigate Hatteras wrecks in 30+ FT of visibility without too much difficulty. Find your landmark using BBESP, swim to a beam edge, turn right or left and follow the wreck around. Reverse to come back. 1/3 gas down, explore and turn, 1/3 gas back, up, safety stop and surface, 1/3 reserve. Easy peezy.

    The most popular wreck off Hatteras is the Dixie Arrow. Here's a 2008 video I shot:


    The Abrams, a similar wreck not far from the Arrow, is commonly visited by this dive operator as well:


    Both will have plenty of sharks when you visit. Remember, Sand Tiger Sharks are just like dogs, but don't try and pet them. They will approach you closely if you move slowly, freeze when they come toward you and don't exhale LOUDLY when they are close. They scare easy.

    ENJOY and good luck!

  4. parzdiver

    parzdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Lansdale, PA
    Thanks Drewski! Very thorough briefing. I can deal with 60-70 bottom temp, but I'll throw my hooded vest and 5mm gloves in the bag just in case.

    Those videos are awesome. Hopefully conditions will be nice for me. I love big wrecks more to explore and generally easy to navigate.

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