A S S O C I A T I O N   OF   U N D E R W A T E R   E X P L O R E R S  

AUE Weekend Trip Report, July 16-17
South Carolina virgin wreck diving

Joe and I finally got out off South Carolina again, after several blow-outs and other conflicts.  We were treated to an excellent weekend aboard the Slay Ride along with our hosts Captain Les and Rob, and their friend John.  After diving an unidentified steamer in deep water, where we estimated the temperature at a miserable 42 degrees on the bottom, we checked out another wreck Les had run over several times but had never checked out.  It looked promising, so we splashed right at dusk for a quick confirmation dive.  The hook was just off the wreck, and once I hit the bottom I saw stacks of solidified concrete, which was once the cargo of this unknown sailing vessel.  I also saw the antennae of a large spiny lobster, and motioned for Joe to whip out the gloves and get a bag ready.  After pouncing on the large critter and getting him in the bag, I returned to inspect the wreck.  As I topped the stack of concrete, I was confronted by a scrum of slipper lobsters rambling across the wreck.  There were at least seven of the tasty crustaceans, and I managed to grab three and head over to Joe while screaming in glee.  After we snatched a few more, I planned on finally evaluating the wreck.  However, I was again confronted with a tasty dilemma -- several spiny lobster antennae stuck up all over the top of the wreck.  Since there was little structure for them to dart into, we made quick work of the lobster, though the larger ones did put up a little resistance.

Swimming around the wreck's perimeter, I noted numerous respectable scamp, as well as some good-sized gag in the sand.  Triggerfish were also quite numerous, and their pits lined the perimeter of the site.  As I came up over the stern, I noted a beautiful octagonal porthole with intact glass.  As I marveled at its beauty, a stupid slipper lobster walked right across the brass artifact!  I laughed as I scooped him up and placed him in a bag.  What started out as a quick bounce dive with a reluctant buddy, turned out to a bug-a-rama, and a dive that we were happy to extend into a longer venture. 

After we had gotten our fill of the wreck, we shot our bags of bugs to the surface while we completed deco.  Rob and Les dived the wreck the following day, and managed to recover the porthole, as well as shoot a couple nice fish.  We all laughed at how we changed roles, with the wreckers turning into hunters, and the hunters opting a sledge and chisel over a speargun.  

Our thanks go out to Les, Rob, and John for all their hard work in helping support us on a demanding dive earlier in the weekend.  We wouldn't have been successful without out their selfless effort.  We can't wait to return to look for some new wrecks off South Carolina with them in the near future! 


(l) Slay Ride loaded up and ready to go; (r) Les hunting the South Carolina waters for virgin shipwrecks.


(l) stacks of solidified concrete that was once the vessel's cargo; (r) stacks of concrete that have fallen over into the sand.


(l) machinery off the bow - note the fire hose nozzle above the "E" in the AUE; (r) one of the wreck's anchors.

 
(l) view of the wreck's remains along the starboard side; (r) two lionfish -- they were thick on the wreck.


(l) Joe and Barney after their first dive on the unidentified wreck [RH photo]; (r) Les with a beautiful porthole and Barney with a bug [RH photo].