Archaeologist wants to build NC's first underwater dive park

Archaeologist wants to build NC's first underwater dive park

KURE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Deputy State Archaeologist Billy Ray Morris says he is passionate about the world under the sea.

He has been diving since he was 10-years-old, and enjoys seeing others dive, too.

Morris says that his experiences turning underwater sites into archaeological parks has been wildly successful.

He has worked on underwater dive parks in both Bermuda and Florida, and now he has hopes of bringing one to North Carolina.

North Carolina does not have a dive park, so he would like to establish the first one in Kure Beach where the Condor, an iron hull that sank on it's maiden run in 1964.

"By turning Condor into a park such as that, with mooring buoys, setting up dive slates that people can get their hands on, they can look at one of the best preserved Blockade Runners in the world," said Morris. "This is something I am truly passionate about."

There are hoops to jump through, and a way to go about getting permission to construct an underwater dive park, and that's what Morris is working on now.

"I am updating our site maps, locating where we want to put the mooring buoys, and creating the map that will go on the slate," said Morris, "I am also starting the process of talking with the coast guard and other regulatory agencies we need to deal with. I also hope to talk to local diving shops."

Morris believes that by creating an underwater dive park where the Condor is, it will prevent boats from dropping their anchor into the wreckage, and possibly losing it. With the park, they would be able to hook up to buoys on site, and spend the day.

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