Charleston, South Carolina
July 19-21, 1996
Dive - Site..................Depth - Time
On July 19, while the rest of the world came to Atlanta for the Olympics, I joined up with several other divers from the Lanier Dive Center for a weekend of diving on the wrecks off Charleston, South Carolina.
After staying up watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies from our hotel room, we got up early Saturday morning for the drive to the marina. There were small craft advisories out for the day and the dive boat we were going to be using was definitely a small craft. Two of the group decided to spend the day exploring Charleston instead, so only four of us climbed aboard for a very rough two hour ride out to the first site.
Our first dive was the Commanche . The wreck is upright in about 100 feet of water. It appears to have been sunk fairly recently and is intact with very little growth. Large numbers of fish and other life abound in the area. This was our only dive for the day. The rough seas forced us to return to shore.
Sunday was much better. The seas were substantially lower as we headed out once again. We were to attempt three dives today.
Our first dive was the Y-12 . We almost couldn't find the ship, as a small fishing boat was anchored directly on top of it. Once they left we were able to locate the site and tie off with no trouble.
Y-12 (I think the name refers to the artificial reef site, not the ship) is intact and upright in about 90 feet of water. The wreck is covered with growth and fish abound in the area. The high point of this dive was the discovery of a large ray lying on the bottom adjacent to the wreck. I was amused to see a red starfish attached to its back, which made me think of it as "the sheriff". The ray became somewhat agitated at our close examination, so we left it and circled the wreck before returning to the surface.
Next, we visited the Anchor wreck. The Anchor also rests at about 90 feet. It is in very bad shape; the boilers are still intact and the propeller lies in the sand but most of the wreck has collapsed into a junkpile. Of course, the pile is home to a large number of fish and various shellfish cover the bottom. Some of the divers carefully searched for empty shells to take back with them.
Finally, we visited a third wreck. (Sorry, forgot the name of this one.) This wreck was in 40 feet of water. Visibility was very bad, maybe 5 feet or so. The wreck was at least partially intact but had collapsed somewhat. We were carefully picking our way around the wreck when the divemaster suddenly appeared and hurried us up to the surface.
While we had been down a storm front had moved in and we made a run for shore. The storm hit while we were about halfway in and we sat in the open back of the boat watching the rain and lightning around us. But, even at it's worst, the storm did not produce the pounding we had taken the day before. The storm passed before we entered the marina and the last leg of the trip was uneventful.
Overall, I would rate the dives as fairly good. My only complaint would be with the dive boat we went out on; it was really too small for the number of people and the amount of time we were on it. Also, I have never heard of a dive boat where I was expected to provide my own air tanks. But, (for me anyway) it was a good dive all the same.