n September 14, 2012 we dove the wreck of the Hyde with Aquatic Safaris in Wrightsville Beach, NC. The wreck of the Hyde wreck is about 18 miles off shore. It is an easy scuba dive as it is in only 85 feet of water
Aquatic Safaris like most scuba dive shops in North Carolina provide the ride to the wreck. Divers are expected to be current and able to dive on their own with no supervision. There are no “dive guides” as are frequent in resort areas. Bring your own air and weights is preferred, but their dive shop located about 1/2 mile from the boat has rental gear available to those who do not have their own dive gear. The shop will be moving in the near future. Pack a lunch as Aquatic Safaris only supplies water.
We dove from Aquatic Safaris I which is a 48 Foot custom dive boat. The boat was stable and fast and easy to dive from and to climb back on board. It was as comfortable as any other large dive boat. There was plenty of room on Aquatic Safaris I even with a full load.
The water temperature at the surface of the Hyde and down to 85 feet was about 80 F. Very comfortable dive with a 3mm wetsuit. Visibility was not great. Visibility during our dives varied between 20-30 feet. This site is known to have visibility that ranges from great to poor and this can change on the daily basis. Pot luck on the vis. But the Hyde is a great dive even on poor visibility days like ours. I highly recommend diving the Hyde as it is close to shore and it is a relatively shallow easy dive. It also had lots of Sand Tiger Sharks!
The Hyde is a 215 foot hopper dredge that was sunk to be an artificial reef in 1988. It is a very popular wreck as it sits upright and is fairly close to shore and it is sitting in only 85 feet of water. The deck of the Hyde is sitting at around 60-65 feet. This makes an easy dive with long bottoms times.
The Hyde is known to have resident sand tiger sharks which were there for our entire dive. There were 2 very large sand tigers sharks (10 feet) and about 6 smaller sand tiger sharks (6 feet). The big sand tiger sharks both had schools of fish following them. Fantastic experience! It was great seeing sharks again. Most of my dives recently have been in Asia and the caribbean. Shark finning has taken its toll around the world. See this many sharks on 2 dives was great!
The Wreck of the Hyde is covered in colorful soft corals sponges and other growths. Don’t expect huge corals, this is North Carolina! But the growth has a fair amount of little fish, crabs and other interesting things to see if you slow down and look. It is so easy to forget the little things when you have 10 foot sharks and 3 foot barracudas swimming around. Make sure to slow down and look in and under crevices for small shrimps, gobies and other critters on the Hyde
The Hyde also had a large school of Barracuda. Most were hovering above the deck. Most were about 2-3 feet in length
The Hyde was also home to large schools of fish. Due to the low visibility on the day of our dive it was difficult to get good clear photos. But there were lots of fish! Juvenile French Angel Fish, Angel Fish, Gobys, Blennys, Toad Fish and more!
Overall the dives on the Hyde were great and this is a must do dive. Aquatic Safaris Boat was large and comfortable and fast. We arrived to the Hyde in less than 90 minutes from the dock.
Would I do this dive again? YES
The closest hotel to the Aquatic Safaris shop and to the boat is the Hampton Inn. There is not much to say about Hampton Inns. They are clean and consistent. The dive boat was location about 1/4 mile from the hotel. There are lots of restaurants around the hotel and several on the beach in Wrightsville Beach.