Not just Shark
Pictures: Elasmodiver contains photos of sharks, skates, rays, and
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
based shark field guide to help divers find the best places to
encounter the different species of sharks and rays that live in
shallow water but it has slowly evolved into a much larger project
containing information on all aspects of shark diving and shark
There are now
more than 5000 shark pictures and sections on shark evolution,
biology, and conservation. There is a large library of reviewed
shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a monster
list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are numerous
articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is now so
difficult to check for updates, that new information and pictures
are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be accessed here:
sharks. The wrecks of North Carolina are well stocked with resident
sandtigers. Certain wrecks tend to have more sharks such as the "Carib Sea" and
the Papoose. The sharks are very docile and easily approached with slow
movements. No chum is used in these encounters. Divers explore the wrecks which
are generally in the 15 to 40 meter depth range and as they move around each
superstructure the sharks materialize out of the gloom. Generally they maintain
a distance of a few meters but occasionally one will let a diver approach within
a few inches. Their ability to maintain neutral buoyancy in the water column
means that they can literally hang right in front of a diver without sinking
until they choose to swim off.
Although the sharks stay put for most of the year, the
weather off of this coastline is prone to storms for much of the time which
limits the shark diving to the summer months. The sharks also move from wreck to
wreck so its possible to hit a wreck that is devoid of sharks sometimes.
Operators: The largest
and most established operator along the North Carolina coastline is Olympus Dive
Center in Moorhead City. This shop runs a variety of boats out to the wrecks
depending on the size of the group. Their organization is very good and their
knowledge of local conditions is unsurpassed. ODC's powerful boats are capable
of reaching most of the wrecks in the area but due to traveling distance they
tend to frequent the more southern wrecks. Nitrox is available upon request.
Outer Banks Diving in Cape Hatteras is operated by John and
Amy Pieno. Due to their location at the most easterly point along the Outer
Banks, they are able to run to some of the more easterly wrecks that it is hard
for ODC to get to. One of the better wrecks that they visit is The Proteus which
lies in about 30m of water and has a very healthy shark population. Under
unusual circumstances I have also seen a Great Hammerhead on this wreck - see
the article below.
Dive Centre has a Spartan lodge for groups from out of town. The rooms are dorm
style and the lodge probably holds around 30 divers. There is a lounge and a
small kitchen. Moorhead City has a variety of other hotels in all price ranges.
Cape Hatteras is a remote community that fills up quickly in
summer. Amy can probably arrange some accommodation when you book your dives or
at the very least have some good suggestions of where look. If at all possible
book up hotel accommodation well in advance. I have stayed at the Seagull Hotel
in Hatteras Town which was good value.
Moorhead City is easily reached from any direction along the eastern seaboard.
Cape Hatteras is a little more challenging. It is most easily reached from the
north side via Nags Head. There are a series of long low bridges connecting
Hatteras Island with the mainland. The drive along the Outer Banks themselves is
spectacular. Hatteras Island is a long thin spit of land with huge sand dunes
and rolling surf. If coming from the south it is necessary to take two ferries
in order to reach the island but the experience of doing so is rewarding in