darwin's arch galapagos islands, one of the best dive sites in the world

Darwin’s Arch, Galápagos’ Landmark, Has Collapsed

One of the most famous rock formations in the world, and an iconic dive site for divers in search of the big stuff, has recently collapsed, only two pillars remaining. The unfortunate event took place in the morning of May 17, 2021. Divers onboard the Galápagos Aggressor III got to witness this historical event, but as of now, there’s no information on the effects of the collapse on the dive site.

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my octopus teacher documentary

‘My Octopus Teacher’ Wins the Oscar for Best Documentary

South African nature documentary, ‘My Octopus Teacher’ has won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 93rd Academy Awards, an event that honored the best films of 2020 and early 2021.

The Netflix documentary follows the heartwarming story of a diver – filmmaker and naturalist Craig Foster –  who befriends a friendly octopus in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean in False Bay, South Africa. It is a superb example of beautiful cinematography and offers a unique view of how life is like for the octopuses, these aquatic masters of camouflage.

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uss johnston, WWII destroyer mapped and filmed

World’s Deepest Wreck Finally Surveyed

More than 76 years ago, a U.S. Navy destroyer was sunk while attempting to protect an American landing force in the Philippines from multiple Japanese warships during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The vessel remained undisturbed on the seabed in the Pacific Ocean since 1944 and has only recently been mapped and filmed.

The Fletcher-class destroyer was first discovered in 2019, but its identity remained unconfirmed. Now, thanks to imagery from the undersea technology company Caladan Oceanic, researchers could identify the ship by its hull number, 557. The number was clearly visible on both sides of its bow and corresponded to a warship that was lost at the Battle off Samar.

The ship, named USS Johnston, lies at a depth of 6,500 meters (21,180 feet) in the Philippine Sea. It is about 60 percent deeper in water than the famous RMS Titanic. The lack of oxygen at such great depths helped keep the ship in nearly perfect condition.

Victor Vescovo, owner of Caladan Oceanic and undersea explorer, said: “The wreck is so deep so there’s very little oxygen down there, and while there is a little bit of contamination from marine life, it’s remarkably well intact except for the damage it took from the furious fight.”

What is known is that the USS Johnston was heavily outnumbered by the Japanese fleet. Despite this, the ship showed remarkable courage under such heavy fire. According to the expedition team, the position of the gun turrets seems to point to the fact that they were continuing to fire as the ship went down. Of the crew of 327, only 141 survived. The team laid wreaths before and after the exploratory dives.

The Johnston was captained by Commander Ernest Edwin Evans, of Native American ancestry. Despite having been seriously wounded in the battle, Evans fought bravely until the very end. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first Native American in the U.S. Navy to be awarded this military honor, according to the Naval History and Heritage Command. He was one of only two destroyer captains in WWII to receive the award.

The expedition to the USS Johnston’s wreck site was conducted via Limiting Factor, Vescovo’s manned deep submersible, which has previously been to the deepest point in all five oceans. The sonar data, imagery, and notes taken during the dives have been turned over to the U.S. Navy for further research. The team of undersea explorers is now working with naval historians to shed more light on the WWII battle.

red wide bodied pipefish, among the top marine species discovered in 2020

Top 10 Marine Species Discovered in 2020

About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered. The planet has one global ocean that has been divided into distinct geographic regions. Only 20 percent of it is visible to us. Scientists say that 80 percent of the ocean has never been mapped, explored, or even seen by humans. There’s still so much to learn about what it holds.

The World Register of Marine Species is a comprehensive database managed by hundreds of scientists worldwide. About 2,000 marine species are discovered every year and entered into the register. Earlier this month, researchers contributing to the World Register of Marine Species released their list of 10 favorite marine species that were discovered in 2020.

Without any further ado, here are the fascinating species humans have only recently found and described:

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underwater museum of cannes

Cannes Opened Its First Underwater Museum

Resembling something like the modern versions of the ancient moai figures of Easter Island, six stone faces now welcome divers eager to explore the underwater world off the French resort town of Cannes. This is the first project of this kind in the area, and who else to contribute to this remarkable museum than the renowned British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor.

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black sam bellamy and his crew

Pirate Bones Found on 18th-century Shipwreck off Cape Cod

The remains of at least six pirates were discovered in a 300-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Cape Cod, announced the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth. Along with the human skeletons, the investigative team from the museum came across several artifacts, including small gold bars and silver coins.

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