It is a fact that the Earth is 70% made of water.
Appropriately nicknamed as the “Blue Planet,” it does not come to a surprise that little is known about the vast areas of water that our planet is mainly composed of. From the breathtaking shipwrecks found meters deep to the stunning underwater caves, the ocean is considered to be one of the world’s best places to explore.
To give you an idea of what to expect on your next diving excursions, here are the top 20 underwater marvels that you should definitely cross off your bucket list.
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20. Deep Sea Vents (Ecuador)
The hydrothermal vents were first discovered on the East side of the Galapagos Islands and is found to be 2,400 meter below the surface. These vents were formed when two tectonic plates diverged causing the sea water to shoot out at incredible speeds and high temperatures. What is amazing about these mineral rich vents is that it allows a number of rare marine animal to thrive abundantly.
19. Cleopatra’s Heracleion (Egypt)
The remains of the lost Egyptian city of Heracleion was first discovered in 2000 off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. This 1,500 year old underwater archaeological site were steeped with treasures that ranges from sphinxes, columns temples and coins. It is believed that the foundations of a palace that may have belonged to Cleopatra herself was also found.
18. Lake Baikal (Russia)
Lake Baikal is the world’s largest freshwater lake and is known to contain 20% of the world’s unfrozen freshwater. Located at the souther part of Siberia, the lake is estimated to around 25 million years old making it the world’s oldest lake. It is also the deepest freshwater lake in the world and contains 1,700 different species of animals and plants where two thirds of these cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
17. Cocos Island (Costa Rica)
The deep water of Cocos Island in Costa Rica is a scuba diver’s dream as it is teeming with marine life. From rays to turtles, the island is also home to a beautiful coral reef that is home to a large variety of wildlife. The island is also called “Shark Island” as it is home to the Whitetip reef sharks, whale sharks and hammerheads.
16. The Yongala Shipwreck (Australia)
One of the most incredible shipwreck sites in the world is found off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The Yongala shipwreck site is home to the Yongala, a steel passenger and freight steamer that sank in 1911 after being hit by a cyclone killing all 122 people on board. There were no telegraphic facilities on board so Yongala was unable to receive any warning of terrible weather ahead.
The remains of the ship were discovered in 1958 and is now the home of several marine creatures which include bull and tiger sharks, manta rays, octopuses and corals that adorn the side of the boat.
15. Jellyfish Lake (Palau)
Located at the island of Eil Malk which is part of the Rock Island in Palau’s Southern Lagoon, the Jellyfish Lake is a secluded lake that is connected to the ocean through a series of small tunnels in the ancient Miocene reef. The lake is home to a large army of golden jellyfish that migrate across the water on a daily basis. Tourists have the opportunity to interact with the jellyfish.
The species of jellyfish that thrives in the lake do not contain stinging cells. They are very weak and not powerful enough to cause serious damage to human skin.
14. Dean’s Blue Hole (Bahamas)
A blue hole is a sinkhole that has an entrance under the surface of the water that opens into underwater caverns. Dean’s Blue Hole is the deepest ocean sinkhole in the world. It has a diameter of 25-35 meters at the entrance and opens up into a 100m wide cavern below. The cavern has depth of 202 meters and is the deepest ocean blue hole in the world.
13. The Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
The Great Barrier Reef is not only the world’s largest coral reef system, it is also the world’s largest single structure made by living organisms. Located at the northeast coast of Australia, the area stretches an incredible 1,400 miles and is made up of millions of tiny living organisms. The reef supports a variety of marina animal species that range from the tiny coral polyps to the gigantic whales.
12. Chuuk Lagoon (Micronesia)
Chuuk Lagoon is considered to be the world’s biggest graveyard of ships due to the several ships that sunk during World War II. Many of these ships are still in excellent condition and still attracts thousands of divers each year. The lagoon is an underwater WWII museum and one of the most incredible dive sites in the world.
11. Douglas Dakota DC-3 (Turkey)
The Douglas Dakota DC-3 didn’t crash into the sea during the Second World War. In fact, the plane was intentionally sunk in 2009 in order to create a unique playground for divers to explore. The aircraft was used as a transporter for a Turkish paratrooper regiment in WWII and was sunk in the waters of Cas, off the coast of Turkey. It lies 21 meters beneath the surface of the Mediterranean Sea.
10. Lion City (China)
The Lion City found at the bottom of the man made lake in China serves as a real life version of the lost city of Atlantis. The lake was built between the Five lion Mountain and the ancient city of Shi Cheng (Lion City_ that was flooded in order to make way for the construction of a power station. Despite the fact that the city has been submerged for half a century, it was discovered everything that was still in tact.
9. Belize Barrier Reef (West Indies)
The Belize Barrier Reef is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The reef stretches an impressive 190 miles (300km) long and is part of the Mesoamerican barrier reef system, the second largest coral reef system in the world. The reef is home to over 500 species of fish, 70 hard coral species and 36 soft coral species. What is amazing about this site is that only 10% of the corals in the reef have been studied while 90% of these are still undiscovered.
8. The Dead Sea (Jordan)
Do not be fooled by its name but the Dead is one of the most remarkable places on Earth. It is 423 meters below sea level and is the world’s lowest elevation on land. It is the saltiest body of water in the world with 34.2% of salinity making it 9.6 times saltier than the sea. The high salt count makes it impossible for life to survive in its waters. Also, because of its high salinity, swimming in the lake is impossible. Instead, everyone floats. It is also known as the first health resort in the world due to the high nutrient and mineral content in the water.
7. The Northern Red Sea (Between Asia and Africa)
The Northern Red Sea has been described as “the underwater Garden of Eden.” The stretch of water between Asia and Africa is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world and some of the most exotically coloured fish. It covers 169,000 square miles and is home to over 70 species of hard coral, 30 species of soft coral and more than 500 different species of fish.
6. Battle of the Egadi Islands (Sicily)
The remains of battering rams, helmets, armour and weapons were recovered from the sea floor off the coast of Sicily was discovered in November 2013. These remains were believed to date back to a naval battle that took place over 2,000 years earlier. The artifacts are thought to be from the Battle of the Egadi Islands, which took place in 241 BC.
The said naval battle was part of the Punic War between the Romans and the Carthaginians that lasted 20 years. This marked the beginning of the Roman’s eEropean wide domination. It was believed that 50 Carthaginian ships were sunk in the fighting and their remains stayed at the bottom of the ocean for over 2,000 years!
5. Zhemchug Canyon (Bering Sea)
The Zemchung Canyon’s incredible size can house the Grand Canyon inside it with room to spare. The incredible underwater ravine, which can also be seen from space, sits an incredible 2.6km deep. Zhemchug is officially the biggest canyon in the ocean and is home to a number of different species of animals, including the Northern Fur Seal, the short-tailed alabatross, the snow crab and a number of different species of whales.
4. Mauna Kea (Hawaii)
The peak of Mauna Kea may be the highest point above land Hawaii but much of the dormant volcano sits below sea level. If measured from its oceanic base, the Mauna Kea is taller than Mount Everest by 10,100 m. Estimated to be around one million years, it is one of the world’s unique underwater wonders.
3. Bronze Age Sewn Boat (Croatia)
One of the oldest boats ever constructed was found at the bottom of Zambratija Cove, in Croatia back in 2014. Marine archaeologist, Giulia Boetto discovered the Bronze Age sewn boat which dated all the way back to 1,200 BC. The vessel was a type of wooden boat that was sewn together using rope, roots and willow branches. The relic measured 7 metres in length and 2.5 metres in width.
Despite being submerged for over 3,000 years, the boat is still in tip top shape.
2. Underwater Ruins (Japan)
This incredible dive site off the southern coast of Yonaguni, Japan is home to a site of huge stone blocks cut into the shape of a stairs, paved streets and crossroads. First discovered in 1995, the discovery is estimated to be around 10,000 years old. Little known about the ruin but scientists speculate that these are the ruins of an ancient sunken city. However, other theories point out that these rocks could be naturally formed stones which resulted from tectonic movement.
1. Hot Springs (Iceland)
Iceland sits on highly geologically active ground and has a number of active volcanoes. This volcanic ground also provides one of the country’s most famous attractions, hot springs. This water is geothermally heated by the volcanic rocks below and warmed to temperatures between 37-39 degrees centigrade. Due to the heat, it is believed that the water has natural healing abilities that soothe aches and pains as well as help cure people with different skin conditions.