It is often said that the best underwater attractions are gifts of Mother Nature, but we like to think us humans have greatly contributed to our planet’s most stunning submerged wonders. Granted, we had help from flooding, earthquakes and excessive damming, but we think those are mere technicalities.
Here at MyTravelMoney.co.uk, we have compiled a list of the Top 5 most incredible sunken man-made worlds. We shall let you know as soon as Atlantis is found, but for the meantime…grab your flippers, hold your breath and dive in!
Underwater Sculpture Park, Cancun, Mexico
This recent addition to the underwater world started out from a very simple idea. Officials manning the Cancun National Marine Park needed a ‘distraction’, with which to attract divers away from some damaged local reefs, thus giving them a chance to recover. Over 400 life-size human sculptures were constructed out of special marine-friendly materials, and were promptly dropped into the sea. Casts for the sculptures were said to have been taken from members of the local population…which may well explain their vertically-challenged disposition. Regarded as the world’s largest underwater art collection, the gamble has really paid off. In just 3 years the sculptures have been completely transformed; innumerable corals and algae have taken over and the collection now looks like a sea-life refugee camp. Amazing beyond belief.
The sunken Temple of Tamil Nadu, India
According to ancient legend, the ‘Seven Pagoda Temples’ lie in the deep blue waters off the coast of Mahabalipuram. One Temple is well visible on the shore, but rumor has it the other six were submerged a thousand years ago by angry Gods envious at their excessive beauty. It seems that may be some truth to this legend. When waters receded drastically during the 2004 tsunami, local fishermen reported seeing unearthed temple-like structures on the sea floor. Explorations have so far unearthed several submerged temples and one cave temple within 500metres of the shore. Keep your ears pinned to the news and be one of the first to visit when the site is open to the public. We’ll see you there!
Underwater graves, Kekova, Turkey
Kekova is an absolute archaeological gem, and the fact that you can dive, snorkel and kayak between half submerged sarcophagi is an ideal bonus. While the ancient coastal necropolis is a wonder in itself, in order to visit the real attraction, you really do need to get wet. Arm yourself with flippers and snorkels and you are free to swim on your own…only please watch out for the tourists who have a knack of kayaking straight into you. On the western side of the bay you can dive straight to the ancient city of Simena, once part of the Lycian civilization.
Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands
Another magnificent destination is the Bikini Atoll, located in the waters of the Marshall Islands. This place with the peculiar name was the site of American nuclear testing in the 40s and 50s, but don’t let that put you off! The World Heritage Site has recently opened to commercial diving allowing you, the visitor, to enjoy some under water marine magic combined with a history lesson. Alongside sunken ships, mighty corals tower triumphantly; reminding us that no matter how much damage we cause on this planet, it always has a way of making a stunning comeback. Shorty after the first bomb blast here in 1946, a bombshell of a different kind hit European catwalks. The ‘bikini swimsuit’ was said to have been named after the Atoll due to its ‘explosive’ attributes…but we know better than that. The word ‘bikini’ in the local Pacific idiom means ‘surfaced coconuts’. Now we get the connection!
Ras Muhammad, Egypt
This popular site is located in the Red Sea and was regarded one of the world’s best diving sites by famed underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau. The sunken SS Thistlegrom, an old merchant ship, was sunk during the Second World War and can be explored at leisure. Attractions abound, with rifles, train carriages, old motorbikes and trucks for you to explore. Super fun!
Before you leave on your very own underwater mission, don’t forget to check out MyTravelMoney.co.uk to compare travel money prices.