7 July 23

5 Best Wreck Dives in North Carolina’s Famous “Graveyard of the Atlantic”

by Thomas Powell

For the foll article go to:

When divers ask North Carolina natives what the best dive sites are off their coast, very rarely is the same answer provided. For that reason, I have chosen to list five favorites that are only a small portion of what North Carolina waters have available.

1. The U-Boats (U-352, U-701, U-85)
North Carolina is lucky to have three scuba-accessible World War II era U-boats beneath her waters. Those vessels represent a unique era in American history. The U-352 is one of the most famous wrecks off the North Carolina coast and she sits in 110 feet of water. Various charter groups offer trips to dive her on a regular basis and crowds from all over the planet come to partake in this experience. In truth, the U-352 is the wreck that first draws many divers to the North Carolina coast. Conversely, the U-701 and the U-85 are more difficult to visit. Temperature changes, currents, and visibility also make these dives a bit more difficult. Despite an increased level of difficulty to visit, these wrecks have the benefit of experiencing fewer divers, making the sites less disturbed by human intervention, each year. Many divers seek to dive all three of these U-boats and over time many have achieved this accomplishment. Diving the North Carolina U-boats is a historical experience as well as an exciting experience.

2. Aeolus
The Aeolus is a wreck that was sunk off the North Carolina coast for the sake of developing an artificial reef system. She is 400 feet long, sits in 110 feet of water, and is broken into three major pieces from the hurricanes that often hit the North Carolina coast. Once a cable repair ship, the Aeolus is now a wreck famous for it’s abundance of sand tiger sharks. Divers often experience them in large groups, and they are mostly found in and around the wreck. Any diver who ventures out to the Aeolus will always remember an incredible dive that can rival almost any “shark dive” out there today.

3. USS Indra
The USS Indra was once a landing craft repair ship that was sunk as an artificial reef. She is 338 feet long and is a common dive location visited by the various North Carolina charters. The site has little current, remains largely intact, and offers dive depths from 30 to 60 feet making the wreck a fantastic place for new divers or a place to complete training programs. Similarly, she is close to shore and easily accessible throughout the dive season. The USS Indra is one of the wrecks more commonly visited by divers off the North Carolina coast and is perfect for any type of diver to get a “first taste” of what North Carolina coastal diving is all about.

4. Proteus
The Proteus was once a luxury passenger liner that sank in a collision in 1918. This makes the vessel a true wreck sitting in roughly 120 feet of water. Though she is old and maintains a large debris field, she still has the appearance of a ship, and items that would be found aboard a luxury liner are still being recovered from this site. The water surrounding this site is often warm and clear due to Gulf Stream currents and the structure still provides enough coverage to allow reprieve in the event that a current is present. The Proteus is also a hot spot to encounter sand tiger sharks and various other types of marine life such as large sting rays. On some occasions, divers have even reported sand tiger shark numbers in the hundreds on this site. Diving the Proteus is an incredible experience that will leave any diver wanting to experience more of the blue Carolina waters.

5. Normannia
The Normannia is a pleasant wreck to dive and often described as “pretty.” She is 312 feet long and was once a passenger ship and freighter. She is easy to navigate with the bow, stern, and boilers somewhat intact; but time has caused the wreck to fall into itself to a large degree. The wreck sits in roughly 100 feet of water and the Gulf Stream currents often provide a warm and clear environment. Many of the normal North Carolina fish are found on the wreck of the Normannia, but again, Gulf Stream waters have had an effect and caused many fish species often found in southern tropical waters to take up residence on the wreck. The Normannia is a perfect blend of east coast experiences combing wildlife from southern waters with that of the central east coast.

– Dr. Thomas Powell
Owner/Instructor Trainer – Air Hogs Scuba, Garner, NC

8 June 23

What Causes Post-Dive Headaches?

By Yvonne Press / Health / Jan 18, 2023

Surfacing with a pounding headache after a dive can really take the enjoyment out of going underwater and may even cause you to miss dives or give up diving altogether. We can trace most post-dive headaches, however, back to several easily preventable causes. Here, we’ll examine reasons for and prevention of post-dive headaches.

Dive long enough and you will surface with a headache at one time or another. According to DAN, headaches are one of the most common complaints of divers who contact the organization. To get to the bottom of the problem, it’s important to look at when post-dive headaches occur to try and find a common cause.

Generally, a one-off headache that goes away spontaneously after a dive, or after taking mild headache medication, is rarely a cause for concern. Repetitive headaches, or those not clearing easily, may require a closer look, however. 

Ill-fitting equipment

Ill-fitting equipment can be one of the main culprits when it comes to post-dive headaches. New divers, in particular, often over-tighten their mask strap, hoping it will prevent water from entering the mask. Over the course of a dive, however, the strap can put tension on the face and around the skull, leading to a headache.

Another culprit might be a hood that’s too tight or the neck seal of a drysuit that doesn’t quite fit right. At the same time, a hood that’s too wide is a poor insulator against cold water and may lead to too much of the diver’s face being exposed. A so-called ‘ice cream headache’ is often the consequence.

It’s worth taking the time to try on various masks, hoods, and adjusting neck seals until they fit well. The more comfortable you feel underwater, the more likely you are to dive more, and vice versa.

Another pain point could be your tank valve. Especially if you have previously experienced neck or shoulder problems and feel that your neck is in an unnatural position throughout the dive, this may result in a tension headache. Some divers report this problem when they start diving in trim. Just like holding a yoga position, your body may take a bit of time to get used to the position, so take a few minutes during your dive to relax and stretch to avoid excessive tension.

Sinus problems and squeezes

It’s worth considering where your head hurts. If your headache manifests in the frontal area, behind your forehead, for example, poorly equalized sinuses might be the cause. Equalization may be one of the first skills diving students learn, but not everyone masters it right away.

Divers may also sometimes dive with a slight cold and equalize forcefully or perhaps incompletely, which may lead to a reverse squeeze on ascent. All these scenarios can cause headaches.

Mask squeezes may be another cause. If you are task-loaded on your descent and equalizing your mask is not yet automatic, a mask squeeze will manifest with some trauma around your eyes (in bad cases, you may end up with two black eyes) and with a headache. The easiest prevention is to include equalizing your mask in your descent routine.


Dehydration plays a role in many dive-related problems. Especially when tech diving or diving on consecutive days, it’s crucial for divers to hydrate regularly and prevent dehydration in the first place. That doesn’t mean downing ½-gallon of water first thing in the morning after a big night out, but instead hydrating regularly and limiting alcohol, caffeine, and other diuretics to avoid creating an electrolyte imbalance in the body.

Dehydration has also been linked to decompression sickness, giving divers even more reason to prioritize regular and consistent hydration.


Other sources of post-dive headaches are carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide is most often associated with cylinders filled from unsuitable sources, such as a compressor air intake near a busy road pulling in car exhaust fumes, for example. A badly maintained compressor pumping insufficiently filtered breathing gas may be another reason.

Carbon monoxide headaches tend to be severe and can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. They often start during the dive and, contrary to minor headaches, they are impossible to ignore. If you suspect someone has a carbon monoxide headache, it’s best to get the diver out of the water and give them oxygen. Depending on the severity,  you may also require professional medical treatment.

Carbon dioxide headaches, on the other hand, are mostly related to improper breathing techniques such as skip-breathing and overexertion. Our bodies produce CO2 when we metabolize oxygen, and it is needed to trigger our breathing reflex. However, too much CO2 starts causing several problems.

Overexertion leads to excessive CO2 build-up and retention in our body. If the diver doesn’t stop to relax, the CO2 excess can lead to strong gas narcosis, thus negatively influencing decision-making underwater. CO2 build-up has also been associated with a higher susceptibility to oxygen toxicity and DCS.

Skip-breathing is another cause of CO2 retention as divers limit the gas exchange taking place in their lungs. By skipping breaths, we minimize both the amount of CO2 that is removed from our bodies and the amount of O2 that is inhaled and distributed from our lungs to the rest of the body. In the short term, skip-breathing may appear to reduce gas consumption, but it’s not worth it considering the consequences of allowing CO2 build-up and retention.

Another factor in CO2 retention is gas density. Associated with taking dense gases, like air, to greater depths, this is especially a concern for technical and rebreather divers.

Some divers report feeling better when diving nitrox. While there appear to be quite a few divers who feel this effect, there is no real scientific evidence of this to the best of the author’s knowledge. Saying that, if diving nitrox fits your dive profile, either by extending bottom time or making your dive more conservative, this should be enough reason to use it.

Stress and Anxiety

How did you feel about the dive? If you enter the water stressed out or anxious about the dive ahead, this is likely to lead to a headache. Stress itself cannot be avoided— maybe this is the check-out dive for your next qualification? Maybe there are certain skills that you must perform on this dive to stay on track? But our response to stress is under our control. Ensuring a thorough briefing, sharing your concerns with your buddies, dive team, or your instructor will all go a long way toward managing the stress or anxiety you feel.


Most diving headaches are not serious and are easily resolved. However, they can be a sign of decompression sickness. If your post-dive headache accompanies a particularly deep or long dive profile or a rapid ascent, or if you surface with any other DCS-related symptoms, it’s time to contact DAN or the nearest hyperbaric chamber for guidance.

If you have serious concerns about your post-dive headaches or if they become anything more than a minor inconvenience, consult a diving physician for professional medical advice. After all, dive trips should be something enjoyable, and post-dive headaches should never ruin the fun.

Yvonne Press has worked as a dive professional since 2010, and is now a technical instructor trainer and CCR instructor based in Indonesia. Initially guiding and teaching full time in Scotland, after four years she moved to warmer waters including the Red Sea, Thailand and Indonesia, where she has been based since 2014. The discovery of untouched WWII wrecks lying in 40 to 60 meters off Scotland's east coast started Yvonne's journey into technical diving, and she became a TDI and PADI TecRec instructor in 2015. In 2016, Yvonne became southeast Asia's first female TDI instructor trainer. She now teaches from a variety of locations in Indonesia and recently established her own center in Bali, Dark Horizon Diving. Visit here:

24 May 23

Year of The Mermaid

There is no shortage of beautiful sights in the Caribbean, but there is one that only so many can see, because it is in 55 feet of water off Grand Cayman Island. It is this magnificent mermaid statue named Amphitrite. Thousands of divers flock to Grand Cayman to see Amphitrite every year.

Amphitrite is a 9 foot tall, 600-pound bronze mermaid statue located off the beach of Sunset House Resort. Created by Canadian sculptor and avid SCUBA enthusiast, Simon Morris, and installed in 2000, Amphitrite is actually the second of her kind. In 1989, the first statue, named the Emerald Princess, was placed in the waters of Powell River, British Columbia, Canada. These two statues are virtually identical.

While BC’s Emerald Princess is a great attraction with dive enthusiasts, it is Amphitrite who attracts even more attention due to her location in the glorious warm waters of idyllic Grand Cayman.

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Alternobaric Vertigo

The sheer number of unique conditions that can trouble divers underwater is enough to make your head spin. From decompression sickness to gas embolisms to marine envenomations, there are plenty of problems to prepare for, and it takes effort to keep up with the latest research and treatment protocols. Conditions both rare and commonplace can put divers at risk, and it’s important to know how to identify those most likely to cause injury if they do occur. Alternobaric vertigo is one of the less-common conditions that can put a diver in danger quickly. Here’s what you should know about this pressure-related condition that can cause your students to become disoriented at depth.

 Cause and Effect

Alternobaric vertigo is the feeling of your surroundings spinning around you (vertigo), caused by a difference in pressure between the two middle ears. The condition most often arises during ascent or descent as ambient pressure changes, and the pressure in one or both middle ears is not equalized. This means that the condition can be caused by failure to equalize during the dive, although it’s worth noting alternobaric vertigo most often appears during ascent rather than descent.

Audiovisual symptoms, including the perception that the body or its surroundings are spinning, involuntary rhythmic movements of the eyes, and nausea and vomiting can occur. A feeling of fullness, ringing, or muffled hearing in one or both ears may occur before symptom onset. Hissing or squeaking (indications of inadequate equalization) often occur as well, and incident data indicates that women may be slightly more susceptible than men.

Physiologically the symptoms are the result of the several factors. The pressure differential can lead to unequal stimulation of the fluid-filled semicircular canals of the vestibular system, which interprets head motion and orientation for balance. Differences in pressure on the right and left cochlea, which use sound stimuli to provide balance and source localization, can also result in vertigo.


The good news is that alternobaric vertigo is rarely serious and many cases resolves quickly and goes unreported. It can also be prevented easily, and the chances of a serious injury are small if symptoms are recognized early. If, however, a diver fails to recognize the condition during onset, it can be easy for them to lose control of their position in the water, and a serious incident may result.

The risk of alternobaric vertigo increases with any condition that causes inflammation or congestion of the ears and sinuses or difficulty equalizing. This risk can be minimized by ensuring easy equalization and adequate sinus function before a dive, combined with equalizing early and often during the dive. Symptom onset is usually rapid, but in most cases the symptoms will disappear nearly as quickly as they came on — extended periods of serious vertigo are rare with alternobaric vertigo.

Divers who experience symptoms during a dive should focus on staying still, maintaining their position in the water column and gently equalizing. Symptoms should subside in a matter of seconds or minutes. Vertigo lasting more than a few minutes may indicate a more serious condition, such as a barotrauma of the inner ear or an eardrum perforation.

  For more information on alternobaric vertigo, visit

22 JAN 23

Diver Lost to a Down Current in Cozumel. A North American recreational diver went missing at Santa Rosa Reef, at the southern end of Cozumel, on January 16, when apparently caught by a down current while he was near the surface. Navy personnel began a search for the missing diver after being notified of his failure to resurface and the crew’s failure in locating him underwater. A search alert has been extended to local fishermen in Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. More information in the following issue of Undercurrent.

No Hyperbaric Chamber in the Solomons. Because of damage caused by a recent earthquake, the Solomon Islands’ recompression chamber is out of commission. Because the nearest hyperbaric facilities are 1300 miles away in Brisbane, Australia, you’d better be carrying emergency medical evacuation insurance. More about diving insurance and medical evacuation in the next issue of Undercurrent.

The Most Dangerous Thing You Meet Is a Boat. In early January, a surfacing diver at Los Cabos, Mexico, was hit by a passing boat at popular Pelicanos Beach, one of many spots frequented by divers. Though he has a severe head injury, it is not life-threatening. Undercurrent has recently reported on several similar accidents, which seem to be increasing in popular diving areas where pleasure boats run.

Bob Hollis Passes. A pioneering diver, Hollis dived the sunken wreck of the Andrea Doria more times than anyone on the wreck; in 1981, he was the underwater photographer for the nationally aired movie. Hollis founded Oceanic Worldwide, Aeris, and Pelagic Pressure Systems after he opened the Anchor Shack dive shop in Hayward, California, in 1966, and began developing underwater camera housing, strobes, and hand lights. He even opened a diving resort in Papua New Guinea -- Tawali on Milne Bay. Bob Hollis passed away on January 4 in Salt Lake City (UT), aged 85 years.

Indonesia's Adultery Law is not Intended for You. Indonesia recently introduced a law making it illegal for couples who were not married to share sleeping accommodations. But before you cancel that trip with your lover, be aware that this law won't apply to foreigners. The intention is to allow an Indonesian to take legal action against an unfaithful spouse and requires a formal complaint from an immediate family member. Despite what you might read in the sensational press, romantic trips to Bali are still feasible.

Guadalupe Closed For Good. Despite the optimism of Mike Lever of Nautilus (Undercurrent September 22), it looks like great white shark diving at Guadalupe Island, Mexico, is done. All tourism, including liveaboard diving, has been banned, and film and television crews will be prohibited. Unfortunately, the new management plan has no provisions for protecting the 400-plus great white sharks known to frequent the area. More about this in the February issue of Undercurrent.

This Month in Undercurrent: Wakatobi -- luxury in Sulawesi, Indonesia . . . Another Georgia dive instructor found guilty . . . Decaying WWII wrecks threaten coral reefs . . . Easy diving with Divi Flamingo Beach hotel, Bonaire . . . Don't let Bonaire's easy diving fool you . . . Is the Apple watch and dive app the future of dive management? . . . You don't have to hide your keys in the bushes . . . Malta dive accident ruled an involuntary homicide . . . Any diver can get bent -- so get insured . . . Avatars' actors' amazing breath-holding skills . . . Conception deaths spark new owner liability law . . . Conception iPhone video tells a terrible story . . . The Socorro Aggressor fails the test . . . and much, much more.

Before Diving, Children Need Medical Exams. The Dutch Society of Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine strongly advises a diving medical examination for all children who would like to take up diving and points out the self-declaration medical form used by many diving organizations is designed for adults to answer and inappropriate for children. Diving & Hyperbaric Medicine Volume 50 No. 4 December 2020

Boom! There Goes the Aquarium. On December 16, a 265,000-gallon aquarium, home to 1,500 Caribbean and Indo-Pacific tropical fish, burst in the lobby of Berlin’s Radisson Blu hotel, flooding the hotel and nearby streets. The AquaDom was 46 feet high, the largest free-standing cylindrical aquarium in the world. Two people were injured by flying glass shards, and only a few fish survived at the bottom of the ruptured tank.

Diving Close to Home. Two teachers, Rich Cochrane and Henry Sadler from St. Petersburg, FL, recently found a 10,000-year-old ice-age mastodon jawbone with several teeth and a pair of tusks while diving in local private waters of Pinellas County, Florida. As evidence that great discoveries wait for local freshwater divers anywhere, Sadler and Cochrane are confident they’ll find more fossils there.

Are You a New Diver Rushing Out to Buy a Camera? We suggest it would be better to master your buoyancy control first. We've seen too many underwater photographers thoughtlessly damaging the underwater environment. It is now frowned upon even to kneel on the sand, thanks to the knowledge of creatures that live below it. Good buoyancy control is not hard to master using variable lung volumes, but you must practice.

Ben Davison, editor/publisher 

Shared By Chris

Guadalupe shark-dive ban made permanent

Divernet - Scuba News     Steve Weinman on January 19, 2023 at 8:16 pm

The ban on caged shark diving at remote Guadalupe Island off Mexico, which has frustrated the great white shark divers and liveaboard operators who would normally be several months into the 2022/23 season by now, has been declared permanent by the Mexican government. 

But some operators remain defiant and insist that the ban, which has been pinned on increased scrutiny following several high-profile shark-cage incidents in the past, will sooner or later be overturned. They also argue that the move could be detrimental rather than for the protection of sharks.

Guadalupe lies 160 miles off the Pacific coast and has been a marine reserve since 2005. Long renowned as one of the world’s leading white shark locations, dive-boats visited for caged diving between November and June, switching to Mexico’s other celebrated remote diving location the Revillagigedo Islands, which includes Socorro, at other times of the year. 

Guadalupe is inhabited only by scientists and some military personnel and seasonal fishers. Eastern Pacific white sharks come to feed on seals and other prey in the area.