4th Annual

North Carolina

Wreck•Shark Shootout


Dates: Thursday, June 1 thru

Sunday, June 4, 2017

(Optional "Recon" Dives on Tue, 

May 30 & Wed, May 31)

The Shootout

         The 4rd Annual North Carolina Wreck•Shark Shootout at Olympus Dive Center in Morehead City will be from Thu June 1 thru Sun June 4, 2017 with 2 days of optional "recon" diving on May 30-31. If you love sharks and you love wreck diving or diving in general this event is for you. If your interested, please read this events page very carefully and then contact me at this email: mike@evolutionunderwater.com.  Non-Photographers are welcome.


           The NC Wreck•Shark Shootout is a photo video contest where the objective is to dive on the best wrecks with the most sharks and submit photos and videos for an opportunity to win some amazing prizes (see below). I have been diving the wrecks of North Carolina for nearly 15 years and am considered to be very knowledgeable of the diving in the area. I will use this expertise to put divers on the sites where I think they can land great images. I will make decisions on where to dive based on what I believe is in the best interest of the majority. The U-352 German U-boat may be on the dive schedule and will be determined by myself during the event. Please visit my Biography Page within this web site to learn more about me. 


         The list of sponsors below is from the 2016 event. I hope to include all of them and add many new ones for 2017. Prizes are subject to change. Please friend me on Facebook to see regular event announcements or sign up for my Photo Newsletter here. 


Olympus Dive Center

           I have been associated with Olympus Dive Center for more than 15 years and find this is the best way to dive North Carolina. Their two spacious USCG certified vessels are fast, comfortable and safe with highly experienced captains and crew. I was captain of the operations 48' crew boat, the Midnight Express for 5 seasons and still fill in for them on occasion. I would not utilize this highly professional operation if I did not feel they could do the job I required of them. Learn more about Olympus Dive Center at this link.

Event Hotel

          For the second year running, the official event hotel will be the Bask Hotel located on the Morehead waterfront just one block away from the Olympus Dive Center facility. Attendees in 2016 unanimously had nothing but positive things to say about the accommodation at the Bask not to mention the convenience of being located right across the street from the dive boats and dive facility. In fact, all of the events pertaining to the shootout are centrally located walking distance from the hotel.

The Weather

          If you are going to attend the event, bring a positive attitude and understand that the diving is at the mercy of Mother Nature. I cannot control the conditions or guarantee shark sightings. (However, it is a rare event when we cannot find any sharks at all.)  Also, keep in mind that there is always the chance that we will have to dive the inshore wrecks rather than the more desirable offshore wrecks if the weather mandates it. Olympus Dive Center is a very reputable operation that has been in business for more than 25 years and places safety as their number one concern.

Sign Me Up

         So you want to join me for the Shootout? Please scroll down and read this entire events page carefully first. If you have any questions, email mike@evolutionunderwater.com. If you want to sign up, indicate so in your email and in return, I will email you an application for the event. Please fill it out entirely and email it back to me. I will then send you an invoice and instructions on how to make your deposit to secure your place. I fully expect the event to fill up this year, so get your deposits in early. It's first come first serve.


Schooling Sand Tigers on the wreck of the Caribsea in 2015. 



Prices & Packages - (Add $130 per day for "Recon" dives May 30-31)


$1520.00 - 4 nights lodging Bask Hotel (Highly Recommended)


$1000.00 - 4 nights lodging at Olympus Dive Lodge (see link below)

$880.00 - No lodging

What's Included:

•Entry Fee

•4 Days Diving; 2 Dives per day (Recon dives are extra)

•Photo/Video Workshop - Mike will give up his secrets on how to get the best shots.

•Presentations - All things wrecks and sharks will be presented by Mike and a guest presenter (to be announced).

•Cookout on the Dock and Buffet Awards Dinner at Floyd's 1921 (cash bar)

•Professional Tips, Techniques, Guide Service provided by Mike Gerken

•Free Events T-Shirt

What's Not Included:

•Tank Rentals if required and Nitrox fills. Visit this link for air and nitrox pricingVisit this link for tank rental pricing.

•Gratuities for the boat crew. A customary gratuity is between $10-$20 per day per boat depending on how you felt the service was.

Olympus Dive Center lodge is bunk bed style accommodation. See link for details. You must bring your own pillows and linens or sleeping bags.

See this link for additional list of hotels in the area

Visit this link for Diver Certification Requirements (Advanced Certified Divers Only!)

The organizers reserve the right to refuse entry of any individual(s) to the event. 

Payment, Cancellation & Refund Policy: 50% deposit must be made to reserve spot(s). Full payment is due 45 days out from charter date. Full refund will be offered up to 30 days of the charter date with no refunds within 30 days. Full refund will be issued if charter(s) are cancelled due to adverse weather. A service fee of $150 will be non-refundable regardless of dive cancellations. ​There will be no refund for hotel accommodations within 24 hours of the event. Payments can be made with a check or bank transfer or credit card via Square or PayPal. A 4% fee will be incurred for Square and PayPal transactions. Attendees will be responsible for additional bank fees where applicable. Decisions to cancel a charter will be made the morning of each charter unless of a severe event such as extreme weather.

Diving Conditions

Diving will take place in the open ocean up to 36 miles from shore with depths ranging from 60 feet to 120 feet. Be prepared for choppy conditions but hope for flat calm seas. Take seas sickness medications as needed. During June water temperatures average in the mid-seventies with visibility averaging 50 feet and exceeding 100 feet on a good day.  Some current is possible. Advanced certified divers will be accepted only. (see above). 

Typical Day of North Carolina Diving

-Arrive at 6am to check in and load the boat
-Depart the dock no later than 7am weather permitting
-Motor for up to 2 hours each way to one or two of the best wreck sites off the Carolina Coast
-Return to the dock between 3 and 4pm

2017 Sponsors and Prizes

(Subject to change)

Grand Prizes


Truk Odyssey Liveaboard - One Week Charter with 6 days of diving on board the M/V Odyssey diving the famous wrecks of Truk Lagoon in Chuuk, Micronesia.








Sam's Tours & Unique Dive Expeditions - 7 Nights Hotel at Palau Central Hotel 5 days of diving; 3 days of which with Unique Dive Expeditions.



Explorer Ventures - 8 Day 7 Nights Liveaboard Dive Package for one person aboard the Caribbean Explorer II in the Northern Caribbean.





Utila Dive Center - Honduras - 7 Nights Deluxe Room at the Mango Inn + 2 Dives/Day and 1 Night Dive + 10% discount for companion.





Atlantis Resorts. Philippines - Night Dive Vacation at either Atlantis Dumaguete or Puerto Galera Resort in the Philippines. Unlimited diving up to 5 dives per day + deluxe accommodation + all meals included.




Olympus Dive Center: 3 Day Dive Package

Scubapro: Dive Gear

           Dive Aventuras MexicoDive Package

Vivid-Pix: Editing Software

Plus 30 Day Free Trial for All Attendees


 SeaLife: Sea Micro 2.0 UW Camera

            Sea & Sea: YS-D2 Strobe

Wreck Diving Magazine: Subscriptions

Hampton Dive Center:

Dive Gear & Swag


Backscatter: Two $50 Gift Certificates





418 Dive Training Center

$300 Dive Computer 



Aquaventure Dive & Photo Center

$100 Gift Certificate




Schedule of Events (subject too change) Picture Perfect PapaPicture Perfect Papa

Tuesday and Wednesday May 30 - 31:  Join Mike for the optional pre-event "Recon" dives. We'll scout out the wrecks and see what the conditions are like and where the sharks are hanging out. This is a perfect way to get an edge on the competition. Boat departs 7am sharp each morning. (Images taken on these days are not allowed to be entered in the competition.)

Wednesday May 31 at 3pm: Check in to Hotel and arrive at Olympus to sign waivers and get settled in. Briefing at the dive shop will be available to any who need it between 4pm and 6pm.

Thursday June 1 at 6:00am: Day One of the Shootout commences. Arrive at Olympus Dive Center and get ready to dive. If you didn't register the day before do so now. The boats leaves the dock no later than 7:00am.

Thursday June 1 at 4pm: Grillin' on the dock. Enjoy a cold beer, burgers, dogs and many side dishes and snacks at the dock after a fun days diving and share stories and make new friends. 

Thursday June 1 at 6PM: Photo/Video workshop for any interested. I will have new tips and techniques for taking the winning photo. Time subject to change. 

Friday June 2 at 6:00am: Day Two of the Shootout commences. Boat departs no later than 7:00am. 

Friday June 2 at 6:00pm: Presentation by Mike Gerken and guest lecturer. Join Mike afterwards for an informal dinner at Floyd's 1921 outdoor patio. 

Saturday June 3 at 6:00am: Day Three of Shootout commences. Early departure of 6:30AM to beat the weekend dive boat traffic. 

Saturday June 3 at 6:00pm: Deadline for photo/video submissions for contest. See rules below.

Saturday June 3 at 7:00pm-10pm: Awards dinner at the History Place Museum; catered by Floyd's 1921 restaurant. 

Saturday June 3 at 8:30pm: Prizes awarded. Time to see who takes home the bacon. 

Sunday June 5 at 6:00am: Final day of diving. Competition is over. Let your hair down and relax for fun filled day of wreck & shark diving.



Bad Weather Events: In the event of dive cancellation on individual days or multiple days due to foul weather, we will enjoy one or more of the suggested activities below. Make good use of the beautiful Crystal Coast. 

The Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium Shootout - Bring your camera and a sense of humor to the aquarium to shoot pics from in front of the glass. Prizes will be awarded and laughs will be had.

Museum Run: History buffs can take a tour of the museums in the area and learn a thing or two about local maritime history. 

Sure Shot Gun Range: Frustrated that we didn't get out to dive? Then go blow something away at this local gun range. They have numerous weapons for hire and plenty of ammo for sale. NRA members welcome. 

Putt-Putt Golf and Go-Carts: Stop circling the Olympus dive shop t-shirt stand with a smirk and get out to enjoy a round of mini-golf at a local facility and then plow over your buddy on the track. 

Beach Day: The Outer Banks are home to some of the finest beaches in the world. Grab a chair, sun-block and a book and spend time chilling out on the Atlantic Ocean. A cold beer wouldn't hurt either.

Wild Horses: Visit Carrot Island or Shackleford Banks and photograph the ancestors of Spanish horses that were stranded here hundreds of years ago. It is a short ferry ride from the neighboring town of Beaufort. 

Bar Hop: Upset that there is no diving? Well there are plenty of good bars and craft brewery's in the area to waste your day and drown your sorrows away. Just ask Mike where to go; he knows them all. 

Lookout Shoals Light House: Always a great way to kill some time and take a few pics of the famed lighthouse of Lookout Shoals. Don't forget to buy the t-shirt when your done.

Battleship Museum: Take a tour through the historic USS North Carolina Battleship located a short drive near Wilmington, NC.

Email mike@evolutionunderwater.com with questions and to reserve your spot and to make a deposit.

Video Highlights from the Shootout 2016

Photo Video Contest Rules (subject to change)

Photos will be judged based on technical mastery.  Subject matter, Image sharpness, composition, color saturation, proper exposure, usage of lights/strobes and the level of difficulty to obtain the image will be all considered when judging. All decisions are final and not open for discussion.

•Judge - Professional photo journalist, Scott Johnson will be the judge for this years event.

•Only 1 photo or 1 video submitted per participant per category. No multiple images or slideshows will be accepted unless the category requires it.

•Duplicate photos can be submitted in multiple categories but can win only one prize overall. 

•Professional photographers or videographers may only submit entries for the Grand prize and Portfolio categories only.  A professional is defined as individual who has been paid for his or her work more than once in the past 12 months. Print sales are excluded as a criteria for a professional.

•Participants can win only one first place prize and/or grand prize with 3 prizes overall.

•Submit still images in JPEG format with images sized to 12 inches on the longest end and resolution no greater than 300ppi. Video files must be in mp4 or .mov format. Bring your own device to transfer images to judges computer. 

•Post processing of still images is acceptable but over processed images will be disqualified at the discretion of the judge(s). i.e. clone stamped marine life, excessive color saturation and sharpness.

•All submitted files must be named with category, shooters name i.e. Bestshark_MikeGerken or Bestwreck_MikeGerken etc.

•All images submitted must be taken on the dates of the shootout only. Metadata of the files will be required.

•Submissions will only be accepted by the judge from the participant only.

•Files must be delivered in person to the judge no later than 6pm Saturday, June 3. No emailed files will be accepted. 

•Video files must be no longer than the prescribed length of time for that category otherwise they will be disqualified. 

Point & Shoot Criteria: What is a point & shoot camera? Any camera that does not have internally housed interchangeable lenses such as SLR's or mirrorless cameras. Externally mounted wet lenses will fall under the point & shoot category. Examples of point & shoot cameras are Go-Pro's and SeaLife cameras. There are many more.

        Example Categories (subject to change)


•Grand Prize Best in Show - One photo or video will be selected out of all submissions in all the categories and take home the grand prize.

•Best Wreck Photo- Submit any photo that has a wreck as the primary focus of the shot. 

•Best Shark Photo - The most compelling image of any shark species will be accepted in this category.

•Best Video Short - Edited - 2 minutes max length

•Best Video Short - Unedited - Single stunning clip under 30 seconds or less.

•Best Point & Shoot Camera Photo - The best photo of any subject matter will be the winner of this category. See above for criteria. 

•Best Portfolio - A body of work is sometimes better than a single image. Submit 5 individual images as a body of work.

•Anything Goes - Do you have a shot of something other than a wreck or a shark that could be a prize winner? Then this category is for you.

•Best Vivid-Pix Fix - Use this free trial photo editing software to 'fix' your images and enter to win a prize. 


Wreck Denizens of North Carolina - TrailerThis documentary explores the lives of the sand tiger shark. Often misunderstood, the sand tiger is a docile shark species that can be found in large numbers on the wrecks off the coast of North Carolina. Listen to shark enthusiasts and scientist give their take on what it is like to dive with sand tigers. See rare and stunning footage of sharks in their territory.

To view the full length video visit:

View this video trailer from the documentary, "Wreck Denizens of North Carolina".

Filmed and produced by Mike Gerken.

Purchase the full length video for download or streaming at:


Email mike@evolutionunderwater.com with questions and to reserve your spot.