Wed June 1 thru June 5, 2022
w/Optional "Recon" Dive on Tue, May 31
Words From Your Host
Once again, the WSS was cancelled for 2021 due to Covid complications. However, the 8th Annual North Carolina Wreck•Shark Shootout at Olympus Dive Center will go on. I will not give up. Please read on and contact me at your earliest convenience to become a part of this special event. No deposit required at this time to make your reservation.
Every year divers and photographers migrate from all over the world to share a love of diving, underwater photography, sharks, wrecks and compete for big prizes in the competition. The NC Coast is famous for their numerous shipwrecks that are home to the prolific sand tiger shark; Carcharias taurus, cousin to the great white shark. The wrecks are also host to a myriad of marine species from up and down the food chain. Large numbers of jacks, barracudas, tunas, spade fish, cobia, giant stingrays, sea turtles and NST's (non-sandtigers) are seen with regularity. Join Mike and dozens of enthusiastic divers and photographers for an amazing week of diving full of workshops, presentations and social gatherings. Scroll down for more details and the list of sponsors.
Sign up for the optional "Recon" dive day scheduled on Tue, May 31. Check out the conditions in advance and get a leg up on the competition.
The Dive Boats
Both of Olympus Dive Centers USCG certified dive vessels will be utilized to take divers out to the wrecks; the 65' M/V Olympus and the 48' M/V Midnight Express. Max number of divers is 43. These boats are spacious, fast and most importantly, safe. Stay tuned for new protocols for dealing with the on going issue of CV-19. I am confident Olympus will pull out all the stops to make this event as safe as possible.
Meg Tooth Hunt
After the Shootout head to Wilmington, NC on Monday, June 6 to head offshore in search for megalodon fossilized shark teeth. This is for advanced certified divers only. A six-passenger dive boat with Wrightsville Beach Divers will be utilized; space is limited. Reservations are on a first come first serve basis. Cost is $350 per diver/per day for 3 dives in depths of 110'. Mike will not be on board for this trip but will be at the dock for departure and return.
An application will be sent in PDF format upon contact. Please fill it out completely and email it back to [email protected]. I will then contact you with instructions on how to make payment with an accompanying invoice.
Prices & Packages - (Add $155 per day for "Recon" dive)
$2010.00* - 5 days diving + 5 nts Bask Hotel (Dbl Occ
$1700.00* - 4 days diving + 4 nts Bask Hotel (Dbl Occ)
$1385.00 - 5 days diving + 5 nts @ Olympus Dive Lodge
$1200.00 - 4 days diving + 4 nts @ Olympus Dive Lodge
$1210.00 - 5 days diving w/No Lodging
$1060.00 - 4 days diving - w/no Lodging
•5 Days Diving; 2 Dives/day
•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 presenters (to be announced).
•Cookout on the Dock
•Buffet Awards Dinner at The History Place Museum catered by Floyd's 1921 Restaurant
•Professional Tips, Techniques and guide service provided by Mike Gerken and representatives
•Free Events T-Shirt
What's Not Included:
•Gratuities for the boat crew. A customary gratuity is between $10-$20 per day per boat depending on how you felt the service was.
Visit this link for Diver Certification Requirements (Advanced Certified Divers Only!) This event is not for beginners.
The organizers of this event reserve the right to refuse entry of any individual(s) to the event based on lack of experience regardless of certification level.
Payment, Cancellation & Refund Policy
•An Administrative fee of $150.00 is non-refundable regardless of the number of dive day cancellations. This will cover admin expenses including awards dinner.
•A 25% deposit per person plus this filled out application is required to confirm the reservation(s).
•Full payment due 30 days from charter date.
•Dive package refund offered up to 30 days of charter date.
•Bask Hotel refunds offered 7 days prior to check in minus $50 booking fee.
•Refunds will be issued for charter date(s) canceled due to adverse weather or
mechanical failure. Refund will be the Olympus Dive Center's daily charter rate.
•Decisions to cancel a charter will be made the morning of each charter
unless in the event of inevitable severe weather ie tropical storm or hurricane.
•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. Bank transfers will incur a minimum of $15.00 bank fee. Attendees will be responsible for additional fees where applicable. No fee for paying by check.
•Payment by check not accepted within 14 days of first charter.
I strongly urge you to purchase trip/travel insurance and dive accident insurance such as Divers Alert Network (DAN) in the event you will have to cancel last minute and lose your deposit or worse your entire trip amount (read policy above). In addition, certain policies will protect you in the event of extreme weather cancellation or diver injury. Event organizer will be strict with the refund policy listed above.
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. Take seasickness 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 so be prepared for strenuous finning. Divers with physical disabilities may have difficulty climbing the dive boat ladders on days with rough seas. Diving North Carolina can be challenging. You must so be prepared physically and mentally.
2022 Sponsors and Prizes
(Subject to change)
Truk Odyssey - One Week Liveaboard Charter with 6 days of diving the M/V Odyssey diving the famous wrecks of Truk Lagoon in Chuuk, Micronesia.
Explorer Ventures - 8 Day 7 Nights Liveaboard Dive Package for one person aboard the Caribbean Explorer II in the Northern Caribbean.
Atlantis Resorts. Philippines - 7 Nts/8 day Dive Vacation at either Atlantis Dumaguete or Puerto Galera Resort. Unlimited diving up to 5 dives per day + deluxe accommodation + all meals included.
Day Dive Package
Estimate Value: $500.00
15000 Lumen Video Light
Teric Dive Computer
Offshore Megladon Ledge Diving
3 Day Dive Package
Catalina CA Dive Trip
Sea Dragon 2000F Photo/Video Light
Sea Dragon 1300 Dive Light
20" x 30" Aluminum Metal Print
Silent World Dive Center
Key Largo, FL
Schedule of Events (subject too change)
Tuesday May 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.)
Tuesday May 31 at 3-6pm - Meet & Greet at the Olympus Dive Center; sign waivers and load the boat (dive shop open till 8pm). Join me for an informal dinner across the street from the dive shop at the Red Fish Grill at 6pm.
Wednesday June 1 at 6:00am: Day One of the Shootout commences. This is the 1st year where diving commences on Wednesday. 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.
Wednesday June 1 at 4pm: Grillin' on the dock. Enjoy a cold beer, burgers, chicken, hot dogs and many side dishes and snacks on the dock after a fun days diving and share stories and make new friends.
Wednesday June 1 at 6PM: Photo/Video workshop. I will share tips and techniques for taking the winning photos and video.
Thursday June 2 at 6:00am: Day Two of the Shootout commences. Boat departs no later than 7:00am.
Thursday June 2 at 6:00pm: Presentations by Mike Gerken and guest lecturers (to be announced). Join Mike afterwards for an informal dinner at Floyd's 1921 outdoor patio.
Friday June 3 at 6:00am: Day Three of Shootout commences. We will try for an early departure of 6:30AM if possible to beat the weekend dive boat traffic.
Saturday June 4 at 6:00am: Day 4 of Shootout commences. We will try for an early departure of 6:30AM if possible to beat the weekend dive boat traffic.
Saturday June 4 at 6:00pm: Last day of diving for photo competition. Deadline for photo/video submissions for contest. (See rules below).
Saturday June 5 at 6:00pm-9:00 or whenever: Awards dinner at The History Place Museum; catered by Floyd's 1921 restaurant.
Sunday June 5 at 6:00am: Final day of diving. The competition is over. Let your hair down and relax for fun filled day of wreck & shark diving.
Sunday June 5 at 3:00pm: Return to the dock and start making plans for next years Shootout.
Monday June 6: Megladon shark tooth hunting in Wilmington, NC - Limited to only 6 spots. Book now!
Wreck Denizens of North Carolina - The Documentary
filmed and produced by Mike Gerken
Email [email protected] with questions and to reserve your spot.
Bad Weather Events: In the event of dive cancellation on individual days or multiple days due to foul weather, I can suggest activities in the area. Don't mope around the dive shop and make good use of the beautiful Crystal Coast. There are beaches, wild horses, museums, bars, great restaurants and more.
Photo Video Contest Rules (subject to change)
NOTE: Understand that competitions are subjective based on the judges preferences. Not everyone will agree with all of the decisions the judges make but I ask that the decisions are respected. The judges will be happy to discuss why certain images were chosen while others were not after the competition. 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. Rules violations can be brought to the attention of the organizer and judges during the awards dinner only and will be dealt with on a case by case basis.
•Judge - Professional photo journalist, Scott Johnson will be the head judge for this years event. Pro-shooter and co-founder of Unique Diving Expeditions in Palau, Richard Barnden will be assistant judge.
•Only 1 photo or 1 video submitted per participant per category. No multiple images or slideshows will be accepted unless the category requires it.
•Any individual photo can be submitted into only one category. No duplicates including in the Best Body of Work. Be strategic with your submissions.
•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. Additional criteria will be examined on a case by case basis and determined by the judges if any individual is deemed to be a pro.
•Participants can win only one first place prize or grand prize with 3 prizes overall. Be strategic with your submissions.
•Best in Show category requires no separate submission. Judges will determine the best image from all submissions in all categories. The Best in Show winning image will cede the first place prize of that category to the next best image in that category in order to win the grand prize.
•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 format only and not larger than 1GB. Bring your own device to transfer images to judges computer. If the judge cannot play the file, it will not get judged. Ask to test the judges computer out prior to the judging if it is a concern.
•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 over-sharpening.
•Contestants will be given a number from 1-45 prior to submitting images for competition. That number must be first in the file name followed by the category of each photo or video file submitted. ie 35_Wreck, ie 20_shark; Best Portfolio must have each file numbered sequentially ie 35_Portfolio_1 or 2 or 3 or 4. This method will provide complete anonymity of the contestant to the judges.
•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 and in person.
•Files must be delivered in person to the judge no later than 6pm Saturday, June 3 at the Olympus Dive Center. No emailed files or FTP files will be accepted. Judges may allow extension based on time of arrival at submission location and if there is a line in waiting to submit.
•Video files must be no longer than the prescribed length of time for that category otherwise they will be disqualified.
•Best Video Edited category submissions must be no longer than 3 minutes in length with maximum of 30 seconds of above water footage. Still images may not be used in this category.
•Any materials utilized in the video production must have copyright permission, ie the soundtrack. You cannot use any track or logo that is not copyright approved. Submissions without written or digital copyright will be disqualified.
Point & Shoot Criteria: A Point & Shoot camera is defined as any camera with a fixed lens. Examples of point & shoot cameras are Go-Pro's and SeaLife cameras. External or "wet" lenses that mount to the exterior of a housing qualify as a Point & Shoot system.
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 - 3 minutes max length
•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 - Submit 4 images and win based on the body of work and not a single image.
•Most Humorous - Keep it fun without impeding on other photographers. The same diver etiquette applies with this category as any other.