Wendell Nope SCUBA Pages
Wreck Diving
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Wreck Diving is a thrilling, yet educational experience. Shipwrecks are "living" points of history. Each one tells a story. As I present each of the wrecks I have dived, I include something about it that touched me in a real way.

This is a screen capture from the video taken on July 2011 during a dive on 30-40 submerged cars in Bear Lake, Utah. These vehicles were dumped in the 1930's for fish habitat and have been re-discovered by Richard Lamb. This is a great dive, in that the deepest spot is 44'. The water in the video was a balmy 46F. Click on the following link to watch the video that was shot and edited by Wendell Nope. Bear Lake Cars July 2011
This is a screen capture from the video taken in January 2009 on the 1949 Ford Truck that lies on the slope just off Cedar Springs Boat Ramp in about 100' of water. The exploration dive consisted of eight divers, 6000' altitude, 36F air temp, 39F water temp, 50' vis, and lots of thermal thermal protection. This is a very-very cool dive as it requires spot-on navigation and resilience to frigid water. Click on the following link to watch the video that was shot by Thomas Lamb & then edited by Richard Lamb. Cedar Springs Truck #1
This is a picture of a Bikini Atoll shipwreck which had a US Navy Diving Helmet in one of the interior rooms. The helmet was brought out of the bowels of the ship to a point where diving patrols could view it safely. To me, this helmet is symbolic of the thousands of Navy personnel who sacrificed their lives to protect the freedoms which we sometimes take for granted.
Quite a few of the Bikini Atoll shipwrecks can be safely penetrated. There is so much to see here, it is mind-boggling. Each dive was on a different ship, most of which were American warships.The one foreign ship which was touching to me was the Nagato, the most evil ship to sail the seven seas. It was on this ship that the plan to attack Pearl Harbor was pieced together.
The intent of the Bikini Atoll nuclear experiments was to determine the effect of a nuclear event on military ships loaded with their standard equipment load. It is not unusual to encounter live torpedos and similar ordinance. Many of these items are rusted to the point that the interior explosive charges are exposed. These intact torpedos are grim reminder of the destructive forces that were employed in World War II. Just one of the torpedos like you see here is capable of sinking ships with populations as large as small cities.
Here is a large caliber shell fully armed and just lying on the wreck. This sight is quite common and even depth charges are encountered on their racks. It is both an awesome and harrowing sight. These are live armaments which must not be disturbed, as some of their detonation systems are exposed to the seawater and are very sensitive at this point.
This passageway into the bowels of the ship just calls to me. It is this kind of intrigue and mystery that has caused unprepared divers to get in trouble. A reel and line is essential to safe exploration into a shipwreck interior. To see one of these causes the mind to wonder about the men who scrambled up and down these rungs on their daily duty assignments.
This photo is Wreck Diver's "eye candy." One look down the corridor and the irresistable urge to know what's inside just seems to take over. The ships at Bikini Atoll are mostly intact, although many of them are on the verge of collapse. Again, this would be an advanced Wreck Dive because the interior would most certainly silt up behind the divers. Reel & line are the only safe way to investigate this passageway.

The German submarine U-352 is one of the most incredible wrecks along the eastern United States coast. Its history is incredible as was its demise. Although German submarines ravaged the north Atlantic Ocean during WW2, the U-352 never sank a single American ship, before being terminated by a US Coast Guard vessel using depth charges. It is a war grave, with shoes and other personal items visible inside. It is certainly one of the most popular diving sites on the east coast. I have dived it four times now and each time gets more exciting.
The real dive on the U-352 is on the inside. The external hull has rusted away and the primary structure remaining is the pressure hull. The interior may be negotiated from a couple different openings and then it is a matter of being ever-so-careful not to silt out the interior. Here you will see me inside the submarine after about 120' penetration, near the conning tower. Notice I am using a reel/line as a reference in case silt prevents an easy exit. This is one of my most favorite underwater photos.
The Shipwreck Papoose and the Shipwreck Carib Sea off the North Carolina coast are incredible dives and, perhaps, the greatest big animal dives in the United States. Both sites have become Sand Tiger Shark breeding grounds for some years now and getting up close and personal is no challenge at all. The only rule is ... don't look like a female Sand Tiger Shark! These are fish-eating sharks, in spite of their ferocious appearance. It is not uncommon for one to swim up to within three feet of a diver, especially if the diver is motionless and breathing in-out slowly. At the end of the video below, the shark was within 18" of me!

Watch this video of the Sand Tigers interacting with me during a phenomenal dive on the Carib Sea Shipwreck. Sand Tiger Sharks

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