View Full Version : U-85 Dive Report

08-03-2007, 11:06
On Sunday, July 8th, Bottom Dwellers Dive Club members Larry McCoy, Shawn Paul and Michael Guyer (THAT WOULD BE ME) dove one of the most famous wrecks in the Graveyard of the Atlantic – The German submarine U-85. We dove with the fine folks at the Outer Banks Dive Center, owned and operated by Bill MacDermott, who has been a Guest Speaker at a previous club meeting. The shop is located across the road from Jockeys’ Ridge, in Nags Head. Go to www.obxdive.com (http://www.obxdive.com/) for more information.

U-85 (http://www.uboat.net/find_boat.php3?find_boat=85) was the first U-boat to be sunk off the North American coast after the start of the Operation Drumbeat (http://www.uboat.net/ops/drumbeat.htm) (Paukenschlag) on January 13, 1942. On the day that she was sunk, 14 April, U-85 (http://www.uboat.net/find_boat.php3?find_boat=85) stayed on the surface through the engagement. After repeated hits on the boat, fatally damaging her, the order to abandon ship was given and maybe half of the crew got into the water and then U-85 (http://www.uboat.net/find_boat.php3?find_boat=85) started to sink again fast. USS Roper then dropped 11 depth charges onto the already sinking U-boat and its 2 dozen survivors and in the process killed everyone in the water. She now rests on the bottom, with her conning tower at approximately 85’and we all registered between 96’- 99’ to the sand.

During the week leading up to the dive, weather conditions had forced some cancellations, but on the day of our dive, the wind calmed down and we had a pleasant and uneventful ride out of Broad Creek Marina in Wanchese, NC to the dive site, which is approximately 18 miles from Oregon Inlet. After our 50 minute ride on the R/V Go-Between, which is a converted crew boat, the divemaster tied us into the bow of the wreck and then gave us our brief. Visibility was around 30 feet for the first dive and 20’ – 25’ for the second dive and bottom temperature, below the thermocline, was around 70°, while the surface temp rose from 82° to 91° while on site.

The dive, simply put, was awesome. The conning tower, torpedo tubes and deck gun are easily recognizable. Larry brought his camera and documented all the sealife, which was abundant. One of the forward torpedo tubes is home to a Conger eel, there were triggerfish and spadefish all over the wreck, and Larry snapped photos of anemones, starfish, oystertoads, and coral.
Most impressive, from 60’ to 20’, we were in the middle of the biggest school of bluefish that I’ve ever seen. These fish were so large, that I originally mistook them for jacks!
During our surface interval, we viewed the photos Larry had taken and enjoyed hot dogs fresh off the grill!

Dive equipment varied. Larry started his first dive with a hood and his two-piece 5MM wetsuit. For the second dive, he left the hood and half of his suit onboard, as it was just that warm on the bottom! Shawn dove a lined skin and a 3MM shorty. I dove an unlined skin and a 5MM shorty. We all wore gloves, for hand protection if not thermal protection.

This dive is a MUST-DO! You will not find a better wreck this side of the Caribbean. On June 28th, there was over 100’ visibility – From the hang-out bar at 15’, you could view the entire wreck! However, due to the depth, this dive is for Advanced Open Water divers only, as is the case with most wrecks off the VA/NC coast. Our plan is to dive the wreck of the Zane Gray next month, which is a good spot for Tiger sharks. You only need to be Basic Openwater qualified for this one.
A big thanks to Bill. The dive was almost cancelled, as he normally requires 6 divers for a trip to go, due to fuel and crew costs. However, between us 3 and 2 more folks from DC who were in the area for the weekend, Bill let us go out with only 5 divers onboard.

I'm ready to do this dive again, so feel free to contact me if you'd like to go!

08-03-2007, 16:06
Great dive report. U-Boat is on my list of to do's. I love teh history and stories around these sites.


08-03-2007, 16:15
Ah, U-Boats, my #2 goal (#1 is to see in person a whale shark or 3)
thanks for the report!

08-04-2007, 08:50
What a great report! Thanks for sharing!

08-04-2007, 11:22
No problem at all. I really believe that if a dive operator does a great job, they should be acknowledged for it. I also believe in giving as much info as possible concerning not only what we saw, but equipment and such.

I actually have quite a few photos, but they were a bit too big to post here. If interested, I can email them...

08-04-2007, 12:15
Great report! So where's the pictures? :)

08-04-2007, 13:01
got any pictures of the wreck?

08-04-2007, 23:17

Thanks for sharing the great report! That sounds like an amazing dive! I'm a WWII fan and would love to see the WWII wrecks.

08-04-2007, 23:22

I wouldn't go that far...I could see it all as he described it. (But picks would be trey cool!!!)

08-04-2007, 23:35

I wouldn't go that far...I could see it all as he described it. (But picks would be trey cool!!!)

yea, that's just a smilie I had on hand.

He did a great job painting a picture of the whole scene. Though I am very anxious to see some pics. I could just google it though...

08-07-2007, 19:27
Sorry for the delay. I'm not sure exactly how to make the photos available, as they were too big to insert in the report. However, email me at [email protected] or [email protected] with the subject line U-85 PICS and I'll be happy to send them. Maybe someone who is more computer literate than I can figure out how to compress them or reduce the file size.

08-08-2007, 07:25
Sounds great M8!


WV Diver
08-08-2007, 07:31
Excellent, I have not ever dived a U-Boat, but I will. Sounds like you had a great time.