Diving the USS Indra, AR-330

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 13:39 | Filled in NC diving

Bow of the USS Indra

Bow of the USS Indra

I lied in my previous post.  Well, I took a little literary license.  We did not go straight back to the dock from the U-352.  We came inshore and did a nice dive on the USS Indra (ARL-37).  The Indra was a landing craft repair ship commissioned in 1945 and saw limited service in the Pacific.  She served supporting post-World War II operations and the Vietnam War.  Decommissioned in 1970, she was sunk in 1992 off the North Carolina coast as an artificial reef.

 

Like the previous dive on the U-352, the weather is perfect and the seas are calm.  By the time we reach the Indra, we have done an acceptable surface interval and can jump right in.  The water is a pleasant 71 degrees and there is almost no current, though there is a little action from the light ocean swells.  Going down the anchor line, we see that we are midships, slightly towards the bow on the starboard side.  We take a right turn and swim over the deck towards the bow.  The life on the ship is typical of a shallower inshore wreck, being 40-45 feet on the deck and 65 feet on the sand.  There are a lot of hydroids, bryozoans, small hard corals and small fish.

 

Bicycle Tire by the Indra

Bicycle Tire by the Indra

We reach the bow of the ship with its massive circular gun mount.  After taking a few pictures, we slide down the port side of the ship looking for interesting subjects along the deck.  I spot something interesting over the side on the sand.  It is a white circular object.  My first thought is that maybe it is a porthole, but I immediately dismiss that idea.  People dive this wreck too often for it to be a porthole.  Also, something about the object doesn’t fit that profile.  I swim down to investigate and find — a children’s bicycle tire!?  I wonder why there would be a bicycle tire by this wreck when I see the crankshaft and pedals from a bike lying nearby.  This is getting a little creepy.

 

Bicycle by the Indra

Bicycle by the Indra

I continue swimming towards the stern, looking around when I sight my next find and another clue.  An entire children’s bicycle lying on the bottom.  It is a complete Barbie-class bicycle.  I figure there must be some event associated with these bikes on the bottom.  Later, back on the dive boat, I learn that there is an annual charity underwater bicycle race here.  Some of the bikes are left here as part of the artificial reef.

 

Glenn Swimming through the Indra

Glenn Swimming through the Indra

Glenn enters one of the openings in the side of the hull and I follow, entering a large passageway in the ship.  There are encrusted cables dangling from the walls and ceiling everywhere.  They make for some interesting navigation as we try to avoid becoming entangled, but they add to the ambiance as we swim forward.  The late afternoon light and hazy water makes for some great eerie shots.

 

Giant Tube-Dwelling Anemone

Giant Tube-Dwelling Anemone

We reach the stern and I swim over a school of Amberjacks before settling on a Giant Tube-Dwelling Anemone positioned inside a small hole in the wreck.  I take pictures and video of the photogenic subject for a couple minutes when I notice that Glenn is sitting on the bottom by the stern occupied by something.  I swim down to him and he is excited, pointing out a large Loggerhead sea turtle resting on the sand.  The turtle eventually wears of our presence and rapidly swims away to find a more peaceful spot to take a nap.

 

Sailboat Alongside the Indra

Sailboat Alongside the Indra

We swim forward up the starboard side, and find the sailboat that was sunk next to the Indra as part of the artificial reef program.  It is lying against the Indra’s hull with a large chain wrapped around it, supposedly to keep it in place.  The sailboat and the bicycles are contrasting items making this dive a bit more interesting.

 

I enter a hole in the side of the hull by the stern and start navigating my way through the ship, avoiding the hanging cables and picking my way through the doorways.  There are occasional openings that let light in, allowing for easy navigation, though not large enough to swim out.  By the time I exit this swim-through via a hatch on the deck, I am back near the bow of the ship.

 

Seaweed Blenny on Indra

Seaweed Blenny on Indra

I take a shot of a Seaweed blenny, a small bottom-dwelling fish, waiting to get back to what he was doing.  He was obviously annoyed that I intruded on his space.  After spending a little more time on the deck by the bow, I signal that it is time to go and we head back to the anchor. This was another fun dive, and a great way to wind down from the energy of diving the U-352.

 

-Frank

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2 Comments to Diving the USS Indra, AR-330

  1. Patricia Yue says:

    May 24th, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    “Giant Tube-Dwelling Anemone positioned inside a small hole in the wreck. I take pictures and video of the photogenic subject”

    I want to see the video:P That was very cool!

  2. fyue says:

    May 24th, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Video added!

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