March 25, 2015

Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum to
host Underwater Heritage Symposium

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum will be hosting the 2015 Underwater Heritage Symposium that will showcase significant members of the diving community. The symposium will take place on Friday and Saturday, April 10 and 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

During the two-day symposium, The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum will formally honor several divers who have had an impact on their profession through their passion for diving, documenting shipwrecks, lecturing and authoring books on their experiences, and mentoring new divers in the field.

The symposium will explore our underwater heritage through presentations by 12 dive professionals, and those attending will have an opportunity to view artifacts from a private collection, meet the experts, hear about their amazing adventures, and have books signed.

We owe a great deal to those early divers who took an active interest in historic shipwrecks and saw them as an irreplaceable part of our collective national and international heritage,” said North Carolina Maritime Museums Executive Director, Joseph K. Schwarzer. “It is important that all sectors, public and private, continue to work together to preserve, explore and interpret these irreplaceable cultural resources,” he said.

Speakers for the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum Underwater Heritage Symposium include.

Gary Gentile. The author of 62 books, Gentile has published over 3,500 photographs and discovered more than 40 shipwrecks. He has done more than 2,500 dives, of which 1,867 were decompression dives. Of the thousands of decompression dives that Gentile has made, 200 of them were on the Grand Dame of the Sea: the Andrea Doria.

Jim Bunch. During the mid-1970s, Bunch became interested in the U-85 saga and has since made more than 1,000 dives to the site photographing and exploring the submarine, which was the first German U-boat sunk by a United States warship after America's entry into World War II. His two books, "Diving the U-85" and "U-85: A Shadow in the Sea, a Diver's Reflections," have enticed and encouraged many divers to visit this famous shipwreck.

Robert “Bobby” Purifoy. Certified to dive at the age of 12, Bobby has spent most of his life in and out of the water. Bobby is captain of the 65-foot Olympus, where he originally worked as first mate alongside his father, George. A graduate of East Carolina University and a NAUI Instructor, Bobby is also an accomplished spear fisherman and underwater photographer. He has also written several articles for Wreck Diver Magazine.

Larry Cox. Owner of Blue Region Scuba, Inc. of Greenville, N.C., and Blue Region Imaging, he’s been diving for 56 years with the last 35 off the North Carolina coast. Larry has been awarded the Platinum Pro 5000 Award that only an elite group of divers has achieved.

Joe Poe. A member of the first civilian team to dive on the USS Monitor in 1990, Poe’s, photographs were selected by NOAA to illustrate its report to Congress on the Monitor's condition prior to recovery projects and his photos and articles on the USS Monitor and other North Carolina shipwrecks.

Pam Malec Landrum. An avid diver familiar with the shipwrecks of the acclaimed Graveyard of the Atlantic, Landrum has been a NAUI Scuba Instructor for 20 years. She operates Roanoke Island Outfitters in Manteo. Landrum is also an accomplished kayaker and the author of "Guide to Sea Kayaking in North Carolina."

Matt Landrum. Landrum has been a dive boat captain for more than 10 years and is also an NAUI instructor and a boat builder. He grew up in Rodanthe diving on the wrecks in the '70s.

Marc Corbett. Corbett is a diver and historical shipwreck researcher living and working on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He is currently putting together a book on the near shore wrecks of North Carolina.

Capt. Bill Palmer. As owner and operator of Thunderfish Charters of Mystic, Conn., and Point Judith, R.I., Capt. Palmer is an avid shipwreck diver, videographer, historical
enthusiast and author. He is a wreck diver sport pioneer with over 40 years’ experience. Palmer produced many historical shipwreck videos and is the author of "The Last Battle of the Atlantic: The Sinking of the U-853."

Ann Sommers. Along with her husband, Dave, Sommers owns and operates a dive charter business, Dive Hatteras, LLC in Cape Hatteras. Their boat, Lion’s Paw, was named for the prolific scallop that is widely found on Hatteras wrecks. When not diving in Hatteras waters, Ann is a senior manager at General Dynamics in Northern Virginia.

Capt. Dave Sommers. An active shipwreck diver, Sommers has been exploring and documenting the shipwrecks off the North Carolina coast for over 30 years. Captain Sommers and his wife, Ann, also an experienced diver, operate Dive Hatteras, LLC, a business providing dive charter services from Hatteras.

Capt. J.T. Barker. As a licensed captain for over 24 years, Barker started running dive trips in 1994. He has dived and led trips to many prestigious sites including Andre Doria, E.M. Clark, Bow Mariner, USS Monitor and the famous wrecks of the Billy Mitchell fleet, which includes the German battleship Ostfriesland and light cruiser Frankfurt. He is presently exploring new wrecks while also running dive charters.


April 10, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Diving and History of the WWII Wrecks off the NC Coast. Larry Cox

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock : Is there A Ticking Bomb In Your Garage? Joe Poe

Past, Present and Future: 30 years of Diving on Northern OBX Dive Sites. Pam Malec Landrum, Matt Landrum

Diamond Shoals Shipwrecks. Gary Gentile

Wreck of the SS Andrew Johnson on Currituck Beach.Marc Corbett

The USS Tarpon. Bill Palmer

Enigma 2946 M4. Jim Bunch

April 11, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Diving the U-85. Jim Bunch

Wreck Diving. George Purifoy and Bobby Purifoy

Battles of the USS Monitor. Gary Gentile

A Salute to the Pioneers of Diving. Joseph Schwarzer

Sea Shells along the Outer Banks. Ann Sommers

A Dive Into History. Dave Sommers

Three Wars, Three Wrecks, In Three Days. J.T. Barker

For more information, call 252-986-2995 or e-mail [email protected].  Visit the website at

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is located at 59200 Museum Dr., Hatteras, NC 27943.  The museum is open Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from April through mid-October and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. from mid-October through March.

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