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2008 Battle of Atlantic Expedition

Exploring WWII in the Graveyard of the Atlantic

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Mission info 2007 Nancy Foster Cruise
 

Mission Log: July 16, 2008

By John McCord
UNC Coastal Studies Institute

We headed off today for U-701. This would be my first dive of U-701, and I was excited to have the opportunity.  The U-701 is in better condition than the other two wrecks (U-85 and U-352), and we were all eager to see what she looked like. 

The newest boat in NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries' fleet, a 41 foot catamaran
The newest boat in NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries' fleet, a 41 foot catamaran. (Photo: NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries)
Today we also had another great opportunity—we were on a brand new vessel, a 41-foot catamaran that is new to the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries’ fleet. The boat is awesome and she got us out quickly to the site traveling 28 knots in 3-4 foot seas.  The seas built throughout the day, but the new craft handled the seas well. 

It was a long day on the U-701.  We had difficulty finding the site, so we had to use the side-scan sonar to find the wreck before we could dive.  After finding the site, we only had time for a single dive on the wreck in the late afternoon.  The wreck site seemed to be a haven for fish. There were plenty of large amberjacks around the U-boat, as well as barracuda, grouper, and black sea bass.  The light colored sand on the site, made the dark encrusted hull of the U-701 really stand out. It is an impressive dive site and wreck.

Deck gun on U-701
Deck gun on U-701. (Photo: NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries)
The U-701 was great and one of the best dives I have had. It was so impressive because the U-701 is still mostly intact.  Not many artifacts have been removed, which meant that there was a lot to see while diving, and that is what makes diving fun. I hope that the U-701 continues to remain intact, so that divers for many generations can have the awesome experience I had today.

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