People have long been fascinated with shipwrecks and the treasures they may hold. These windows to the past connect us to our cultural heritage and teach us lessons about the impact of the environment, human error, or war upon human life. These wrecks can ultimately help the environment as over time, they can become a habitat for many marine plants and animals.
Due to their size or history, some shipwrecks have become more popular than others. Let’s look at the most famous shipwrecks that you can get up close to.
New year, new ban on harmful sunscreens. As of January 1, 2021, the state of Hawaii is no longer selling over-the-counter sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. It is the first state in the United States to pass such a law.
Although 2020 has been overshadowed by a global pandemic that reshaped our society, there were still quite a few awesome things that happened this year. Throughout the months, we’ve kept you posted on many scuba and aquatic-related events worldwide because we like to focus on the positive. As this hectic year is coming to a close, it’s time to look back at the great news that you may have missed:
Wreck diving is one of the most exciting underwater experiences. The shores of Europe have their fair share of wreck dive sites. From ancient wooden vessels to recent purposely sunk ships, the Mediterranean is littered with wrecks of all types, sizes, and ages. As the diving season in many parts of Europe is coming to a close (unless you enjoy diving in cold water), we can now move online and still do a little bit of “diving.”
This year, the Malta Tourism Authority, the University of Malta, and Heritage Malta launched the country’s first Virtual Underwater Museum. The platform offers a way for people to access the underwater wreck sites of Malta right from the comfort of their homes.
A warship believed to have sunk approximately 250 years ago was recently discovered off the town of Foça in the İzmir province of Turkey. The wreck was added to the “Turkish Shipwreck Inventory Project: Blue Heritage (TUBEP)” study carried out by the Dokuz Eylul University (DEU) Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology with the support of the Presidency of Strategy and Budget.
It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a strange year, and although the current global pandemic has put a halt to many of our travel plans, we were still curious to know who took a slice of the World Travel Awards cake.
On November 21, Poland broke a world record by opening the deepest swimming pool in the world. Aptly named “Deepspot,” the swimming pool has a maximum depth of 45.4 meters and is filled with 8,000 cubic meters of water. About 5,000 cubic meters of concrete were used over the two years it took to build the complex.
Everybody loves sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, rays and other warm-water animals. But we also know that there are plenty of cold-loving animals that thrive in areas such as the Arctic. Here are some of the unique creatures that live beneath the ice:
Researchers aboard the research vessel Falkor operated by the Schmidt Ocean Institute recently discovered a large, detached coral reef as they were mapping the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. This is the eight-known detached coral reef in the area and the first to be discovered in 120 years. The rest were mapped in the 1880s.
The pinnacle of coral was first found on October 20 in the offshore Cape York area, in Far North Queensland. No one knew of its existence and was discovered by accident. On October 25, using the underwater robot SuBastian, the team of researchers conducted an exploratory dive that was live-streamed on Schmidt Institute’s website and YouTube.
“This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our Ocean,” says Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. “This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our Ocean.”
The 500-meter high towering reef is taller than the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and Petronas Twin Towers. It has a 1.5-kilometer-wide base and ends just 40 meters below the surface of the ocean. Another interesting fact is that detached reefs are stand-alone structures that are not connected to the Great Barrier Reef. What’s more, the newly discovered coral reef tower is estimated to be around 20 million years old.
The Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its corals since 1995. The steepest falls came after the coral bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Climate change is considered the main reason for the death of the corals, and studies show that the ability of the massive reef system to recover is compromised. Surprisingly, the new coral reef pinnacle is healthy and flourishing and does not show signs of bleaching.
SuBastian’s footage revealed that the reef is teeming with life of all sorts. With coral reefs disappearing throughout the world, isolated seamounts like this are considered critical habitats for marine life. Its upper section has soft corals, sponges, and sea fans, suggesting that strong currents and upwellings are bringing rich nutrients to the reef. Although the researchers didn’t find any new species, the seamount could be home to undiscovered creatures.
The discovery of this new reef is just one of the many findings by the Schmidt Ocean Institute. The year started with the discovery of stunning “gardens” or deep-sea corals in the Bremer Canyon Marine Park. In April, the team came across what is believed to be the longest recorded animal – a 45-meter-long siphonophore in the submarine canyons near Ningaloo. Additionally, researchers from the Western Australian Museum aboard the Institute’s research vessel Falkor also discovered up to 30 new underwater creatures. In August, the Institute’s scientists discovered five undescribed species of black coral and sponges.
As for the newly discovered coral reef pinnacle, with the help of mapping data and underwater imagery, it will most likely be studied extensively in the coming years. The researchers’ goal now is to understand the reef and its role within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.