spring is the beginning of diving season on the Outer Banks and also
when the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum hosts its annual Underwater
Heritage Symposium. The event is scheduled for April 7, 2018 from 10
a.m. until 5 p.m.
This daylong event features divers, underwater archaeologists,
scientists and historians sharing fascinating presentations on
underwater heritage to include diving adventures, research projects,
environmental issues, and maritime history and culture.
There will be eight speakers covering a wide range of topics. Speakers
include local and national experts with many years of experience
dealing with the joys and challenges of diving and exploration. The
list of topics and the agenda is listed below:
10:05 – 10:45 p.m. – U-Boats off the North Carolina Coast, Jim Bunch
Captain Horst Degen and U-701 arrived just off the coast of the
Chesapeake Bay June 12, 1942, where he would soon enter and lay mines
just off the shores of the Norfolk Naval Base. Degen commented: “As we
approached the American Coast, we were entertained by radio programs
and the latest news from American radio stations. They did not know who
they were entertaining.” He would shortly terrorize the east coast for
less than a month before he was sunk off Hatteras June 7th.
In this presentation, Jim Bunch, with the help of Degen’s recordings,
describes what it was like during U-701’s war cruise off Virginia and
the coast of North Carolina.
Jim Bunch is a North Carolina Humanities Council Road Scholar, author,
and professional diver who helped recover the Enigma Machine from U-85.
Bunch is the leading authority on U-85 and has done more than 1000
dives on the German submarine. He’s written two books related to U-85
and a third on the U-boat activity off the Outer Banks during WWII. He
is available to sign copies of his books including the latest: U-Boats
off the Outer Banks, Shadows in the Moonlight, published by The History
10:50 – 11:30 p.m. – The Sinking of Diamond Shoals Lightship and SS Merak, Dave Sommer
Dave Sommers recounts the fascinating WWI sinking of Merak and Diamond
Shoals Light Vessel – LV-71 on August 6, 1918 by U-140 near the
infamous Diamond Shoals. The lightship crew fled in their yawl boat
rowing for shore as fast as they could while watching the U-Boat shell
the Lightship until she went down. Merak sunk quickly from the
explosive charges and her location was lost to history. Captain Dave
Sommers has been an active shipwreck diver 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, NC. He has amassed hundreds, if not thousands, days of
experience diving shipwrecks of the North Atlantic, and sport diving at
various locations in the Caribbean and the Eastern Pacific.
11:35 – a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Wreck of Mirlo, Marc Corbett
One hundred years ago, the British tanker Mirlo, a victim of the
Kaiser’s U boats, exploded in flames just south of the Wimble Shoals
buoy. The men of the US Coast Guard station at Chicamacomico enacted
one of the most daring rescues in Coast Guard history and saved many of
Mirlo’s crew. Where is Mirlo now? Shipwreck researcher, writer, diver
and photographer, Marc Corbett will bring to life this event in North
Carolina Maritime history.
Corbett has lived on the Outer Banks of North Carolina since 1994, he
is an avid scuba diver, surfer, and skateboarder. Combining a love for
history and diving Corbett has become a shipwreck hunter, researching
and exploring wrecks in shallow and deep water. He has a BS in Biology
from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is a carpenter by trade. He
also works on the dive boats Lion’s Paw and Under Pressure out of
1:20 – 2 p.m. – The German Battleship Ostfriesland, JT Barker
Ostfriesland was sunk July 21, 1921 by General Billy Mitchell off the
coast of Virginia as a test of air power. Ostfriesland rests in 380
feet of water and more than 70 miles offshore. Capt. JT will show
historical video footage of the sinking and blueprints of the
battleship, and discuss the dives he has made to the wreck.
Capt. JT Barker has been a licensed captain for over 24 years. He is an
avid wreck diver, Trimex deep diver, cave diver and adventure seeker.
He started running dive trips in 1994, 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 battle ship Ostfriesland 380 ft. and Light
Cruiser Frankfurt 420 ft. Capt. JT is presently exploring new wrecks
while also running dive charters on his vessel Under Pressure for all
level of divers in Virginia Beach, VA, and Hatteras, NC.
2:05 – 2:45 p.m. – NOAA’s First Special Use Permit Dives, Hal Good
After a lawsuit and an act of Congress, NOAA issued an experimental
“special use permit” to dive USS Monitor. The permit enabled amateur
divers to dive this historic shipwreck for recreational purposes. This
presentation will discuss events leading up to the first dives and will
include photographs taken during the dives.
Hal Good has been diving for 50 years and has visited over 100
different shipwrecks including E.M. Clark, USS Monitor and Andrea
Doria. He is a retired Director of Marketing for a scientific
instrument company. In addition to diving and photography, he enjoys
camping, music, and drinking craft beer.
2:50 – 3:30 p.m. – An Archaeological and Historical Shipwreck Investigation of the Miss Betty J., Joyce Steinmetz
To contribute to the understanding of maritime cultural landscapes and
vessel abandonment in eastern North Carolina, this study documents the
physical remains, site formation processes, and social history of one
vernacular wooden shipwreck. Burnt to within two feet of the water’s
surface, the shipwreck is located in Wrights Creek, off the Pungo River
and Pamlico Sound. At the start of the investigation and fieldwork, the
author did not know the vessel’s name. Identifying the wreck led to
documenting a local master shipbuilder and his family traditions.
Joyce Steinmetz graduated from the East Carolina University Masters
Maritime Studies program in 2010 and became a registered professional
archaeologist in 2011. She is currently finishing a multi-disciplinary
PhD in Coastal Resources Management with a maritime major.
3:35 – 4:15 p.m. – Two Decades Before the Mast with Blackbeard, David D. Moore
This year marks 300 years since the pirate Blackbeard lost his flagship
Queen Anne’s Revenge off Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina. In November
1996, Intersal, Inc., discovered the shipwreck, using information
provided to Operations Director, Mike Daniel, by company president,
Phil Masters. From the vessel’s capture in November 1717 until run
aground off Beaufort the following June, Queen Anne’s Revenge captured
numerous prizes while ranging throughout the Caribbean and up the
eastern seaboard as far north as Cape Lookout. Moore’s lecture will
reveal many of the highlights on the project since its inception over
two decades ago. After completing degrees in marine science (UNCW) and
nautical archaeology (ECU), Moore spent 12 years working on a myriad of
shipwreck sites with the Dark Side (treasure hunters) in Florida
waters. At ECU, Moore began researching piracy and initially proposed
the mission to locate Blackbeard’s shipwrecks in 1982 as a graduate
research project. Since the location of Queen Anne’s Revenge in 1996,
Moore has researched, dived, and studied the site as the Curator of
Nautical Archaeology with the North Carolina Maritime Museum
4:20 – 5 p.m. – Commerce and Conflict: Wilmington, Fort Fisher and Blockade Running During the Civil War, John Morris
John Morris has directed numerous research projects in the United
States and abroad for museums, research institutions, state and federal
agencies, and the United States Navy. These projects have included the
recordation of the Confederate raider CSS Alabama off the coast of
Normandy, France, the complete documentation and recovery of a 16th
century Spanish messenger vessel in Bermuda, and the decade long
excavation of Betsey, an 18th century British transport lost at
Yorktown, Virginia during the final battle of the American Revolution
Morris directed the first maritime archaeological research
investigations to be conducted in St. Augustine, Florida. He also
created and directed the first independent institutional archaeological
research program to be established in Florida; the Lighthouse
Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP). Morris serves as the Deputy
State Archaeologist-Underwater for the North Carolina Department of
Cultural Resources, Office of State Archaeology.
“The 5th Annual Graveyard of the Atlantic Underwater Heritage Symposium
provides a unique opportunity for the diving community who have
experience in diving along the Outer Banks to share their experience
and knowledge with other divers and the public at large,” states North
Carolina Maritime Museums Executive Director, Joseph K. Schwarzer.
“The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is proud to host the symposium
for the fourth year to provide a better understanding among sport and
recreational divers and the public,” he said.
The Graveyard of the Atlantic Underwater Heritage Symposium gives
participants and the audience a chance to meet, talk shop and discover
various fields of interest and share years of knowledge and expertise.
It has become the annual event where divers and underwater
archaeologists share their experiences with the public.
Contact Mary Ellen Riddle at 252-986-0720 or [email protected], with questions and if you would like to receive via e-mail a list of local accommodations so you can book your stay early.
The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is located at 59200 Museum Dr.,
Hatteras, NC 27943. The public is always welcome. Admission is free and
donations are always appreciated.
About the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras
is named in honor of thousands of shipwrecks that sank off North
Carolina’s coast. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and
presentation of the state’s coastal culture and maritime history, which
includes these shipwrecks, this repository of history. The vessels are
the centerpiece of rich relationships to piracy, war, (Revolutionary,
Civil and World Wars I and II), lifesaving, commerce and coastal
living. The Museum is filled with related artifacts, which include
remnants of the earliest known shipwreck found in North Carolina
waters, dating to 1650, objects from the USS Monitor, the Queen Anne’s
Revenge, and the USS Huron.
The North Carolina Maritime Museum system is comprised of the Graveyard
of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, the North Carolina Maritime Museum
at Beaufort and the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport. All
three museums are part of the Division of State History Museums in the
N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the
state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s
natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural,
educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is
to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities
to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in
North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity,
preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural
heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art
museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39
state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's
first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State
Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the
Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water
Stewardship. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.