North Carolina has some of the best wreck diving in the world. Some of the wrecks in the shallow waters off the coast are artifical reefs, others are ships that sank in storms, but many are the victims of German U-boats (submarines) that crossed the Atlantic from Europe during World War II. The Germans sank dozens of ships off the East Coast of the United States and, in turn, some of U-Boats were sunk themselves by US naval forces. These wrecks attract fish (large and small) from miles around and are excellent places for photography.

North Carolina diving is challenging. The wrecks are on the deep side (down to 120 feet) and as a result your bottom time is limited. There is also the matter of a two-hour boat ride through (usually) rough seas to get to the dives sites. Currents can be strong and visibility is sometimes less than ten feet, but when it's good, it's really good!

These photos were talen in May of 2009 and August 2012. All photos were taken with a Nikon D-300 digital camera in a Sea & Sea housing. Underwater light was provided by two Sea & Sea YS-120 strobes.

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Map of the North Carolina dive area

The U-352 was a German U-Boat from World War II. The 352 had had a couple of successful patrols earlier in the war and sank a few ships near Europe. It was sent to the East Coast to hunt US shipping but unfortunately for them the Navy had their game face on and the 352 was sunk without ever having killed a US ship. The sub was badly damaged and surrendered at the surface. Most of the crew made it off alive and were captured, some are still in the wreck.

Conning tower of the U-352 Back deck of the U-352. The torpedo loading hatch can be seen in the foreground

Some of the other wrecks. The Spar was a US Coast Guard cutter sunk as an artificial reef; the Atlas and the Carib Sea were sunk by u-boats during World War II.

A blizzard of fish and an Amberjack on the Spar Divers on the Spar Rough and windy on the Papoose Dive buddies Brian and Pooh Pooh on the Atlas wreck
Atlantic Spadefish on the Atlas Divers on their way up after a dive School of Amberjacks

Another thing the wrecks in North Carolina are known for are the Sand Tiger sharks. These sharks can grow up to 14 feet long and congregate near the wrecks waiting for weak or wounded fish to feed on. Despite their fearsome appearance these sharks are quite docile and will swim away from divers when approached. I have seen as many as 15 sharks on one wreck.

Sand Tiger shark on the Carib Sun Sand Tiger shark on the Carib Sun Sand Tiger shark in a school of baitfish Sand Tiger shark on the Atlas Young Sand Tiger shark
Sand Tiger shark and a school of baitfish Sand Tiger sharks on the Atlas

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