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5 Underwater  Artefacts

The world is chock-a-block with awesome stuff we can dub as ‘artefacts’. From historic buildings to statues to documents and relics that form a chain keeping track of what we’ve been up to on this planet. Some are more difficult to find though, as they’re buried deep below the waves. Here are 5 really cool artefacts you can find underwater.

Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA)

While certainly not the oldest of all the things on show, the Cancun Underwater Museum known as MUSA was completed in 2013. The project was designed to combine art, conservation and tourism into one seamless whole as the sculptures were placed at various points under the surface of the Cancun National Marine Park. Acting as the basis for a new reef which supports masses of life, the museum now attracts tons or tourists and marine scientists alike. Varying in depth from six to 10 metres below the surface, the museum is a fairly straight forward dive to undertake and boasts a massive 500 different sculptures for you to sink your teeth into. The attraction of the museum and the fees generated go towards marine conservation efforts in the area and boosts the local economy. Good news all round. Plus, it looks rad.

flickr - Pablo A. Arias Cid

Ghost Fleet, Truk Lagoon

Now belonging to the Federate States of Micronesia, Truk Lagoon was owned by the Empire of Japan during WWII. During the epic battle for the pacific, allied forces descended upon the Caroline Islands where much of the Japanese imperial navy was stationed. After days of fighting, the stationed Japanese vessels were decimated and sent to the bottom of the lagoon. The now-named Ghost Fleet contains some 50 ships, 250 planes and numberless smaller support vessels, tanks and vehicles sitting peacefully on the sea floor. 400 Japanese soldiers lost their lives during the battle and some of their remains can too be found among the Ghost Fleet. Certainly not the most upbeat of underwater artefacts to be found worldwide but it can definitely be described as awe-inspiring. Diving in the lagoon is strictly regulated but it can be undertaken. The maze of ships and planes is a test for even experienced divers and should not be undertaken lightly. However for those daring enough to take the plunge, the sites to see are truly rewarding.

flirckr - montereydiver

Christ of the Abyss, Mediterranean sea

First submerged in 1954, Christ of the Abyss is a tribute to the first Italian man to use SCUBA gear who died in 1947. The bronze statue was removed and spruced up in 2003 after 50 years of corrosion, anchor damage and crustaceans using it as a house. The dive site is now thought to bring good luck to divers worldwide and is on every serious diver’s underwater bucket list. Dozens of tributes and similar statues depicting Jesus have been submerged worldwide since 1954 but, as with most things, the original remains the best.

flickr - vgm8383

SS Thistlegorm, Red Sea

Built in 1940, the SS Thistlegorm was a British Merchant Vessel that was sunk by German planes only a year later in the Red Sea. The popularity of the site for divers is down to a whole host of reasons including the clarity of the water, abundance of marine life and the sheer number of stuff that went down with the ship. The wreck includes tanks, cars, a locomotive, clothes, rifles, ammunition and even the odd sink and bathtub, all of which were destined for Alexandria in Egypt. The SS Thistlegorm is one of the world’s most popular dive sites, attracting thousands of divers every year and is dripping with reasons that make it great.

flickr - PROAsbjørn Hansen

Port Royal, Jamaica

Back in the 17th century, Port Royal in Jamaica was a pirate haven. Just imagine Pirates of the Caribbean and you get the idea, minus the supernatural element. Pirates came from all over the world to Port Royal due to its reputation of being safe from British and Spanish fleets and, of course, it’s coma-inducing rum. As the 18th century closed in however, Port Royal suffered a catastrophic tsunami that was brought on by an earthquake out in the Caribbean Sea. Much of the city was submerged and lost for centuries. Now though, with the age of pirates long since gone, divers instead flock to Jamaica to explore the place where Captain Morgan himself might once have been drinking his fill of that most famous pirate drink. Divers can still see the layout and structure of the town, discover old trinkets and get a flavour for the indulgent life lived in Port Royal.


This list really could go on and on, there’s so many to go and see. The next step for you is now to collate your own bucket list and get diving, starting with these 5.

By Guy Bezant - Online Content Editor

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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