Popular American Dives
Since its sinking in January 2011, the 251-foot former USS Kittiwake has been covered in marine life such as like horse-eye jacks, sergeant majors, blue tangs and squirrelfish – and has won the hearts of divers. The most exciting new resident is a 100-pound goliath grouper that’s often found near the wreck’s propeller. The former Chanticleer-class submarine rescue vessel sits on the seafloor off Seven Mile Beach, and rises to within 15 feet of the surface. The Kittiwake had an illustrious service for more than 54 years, being decommissioned September 30, 1994.
U-352 is the premier wreck of North Carolina’s Outer Banks—and in an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” that’s saying something. On May 9, 1942, the German sub mistakenly fired on the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Icarus, which dodged the torpedoes and answered with a depth charge attack that forced the U-352 to the surface. The sub’s commander ordered his crew to scuttle their vessel and abandon ship. Although its outer hull has long since rusted away, the pressure hull remains intact, sitting on the sandy bottom with a 45-degree list to starboard.
The tanker Shinkoku Maru was built in 1941 for the Japanese navy and took part in the Pearl Harbor attack as a support ship. In a twist of fate, the 500-foot vessel was sunk a little more than three years later in the U.S. sneak attack on Truk Lagoon known as Operation Hailstone. American Avenger torpedo bombers fired seven times at her, the last one hitting her aft starboard side and sending her to the bottom. Today, this ship is covered with coral formations and considered one of the best night dives among the numerous wrecks of Chuuk Lagoon.
A World War II cargo ship brought to her end by a lucky Japanese torpedo, the USAT Liberty is one of Indonesia’s most interesting dive sites. Her 400-foot body, broken in many places but beautifully overgrown with colorful soft corals, rests on a steep, black-sand slope just a stone’s throw off Tulamben’s cobble shore. Starting at the stern in just 25 feet of water, the critter-encrusted wreckage angles down to the bow section at 110 feet. The ship also hosts more than 400 species of fish, including thousands of bigeye jacks, which can be found swirling over the wreck like a silver storm cloud.
Diving this 300-foot freighter, intentionally sunk at a site called Mud Hole, is a delight. The Odyssey is split into three pieces and is perfectly positioned between two lovely coral reefs. The setting is inspirational, but it’s the lofty vertical presence of the stern that grabs photographers’ attention. Her wheelhouse is nearly 85-feet tall. The complex network of steel railings and stairways presents a visage reminiscent of New York City fire escapes.