The past year was a banner year for undersea explorations, and a number of unique wrecks were discovered all over the world by a veritable global fleet of archaeological, recreational, and / or government-sponsored dive teams.
Interested in diving some cool new sites this year? Here’s just a taste of some of the more recent wreck discoveries that have occurred in the past 12 months.
Where It’s Located: Off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa
Why It’s Cool: The São José-Paquete de Africa has been searched for by researchers for years. Lost at sea off the coast of South Africa in 1794, this Portuguese slave ship has been a Holy Grail for a number of archeological diving teams, due to its historical significance.
The vessel sank after it ran into underwater rocks while en route to Brazil, killing more than half of its 500 slaves on board. Now more than 200 years old, the authenticity of the site was recently confirmed by the Slave Wrecks Project, cementing the importance of this wreckage. Divers who visit can view the remains of the vessel, and will also be close to a network of neighboring reefs.
Where It’s Located: The Pacific Ocean’s Marshall Islands
Why It’s Cool: This site is home to not one, but more than 150 plane wrecks that were found this past year in an accessible 130’ ft. of water. Discarded at the site after World War II was over, and sunk in perfect condition, the wrecks were captured by underwater photographer and dive captain Brandi Mueller. Mueller brought the site to national diving attention through a series of photos that went viral in the diving community.
Although truth be told, it’s reported that local divers knew about the wrecks since the 1960s. Nevertheless, the publicity lead to the discovery of several historic aircraft, and the site is now a popular destination for global wreck divers.
Where It’s Located: Lake Superior
Why It’s Cool: The Nelson made headlines in recent months when it was discovered more than 100 years after it sank to the bottom of Lake Superior. The 199’ ft. long schooner was lost during a big 1899 storm while transporting a cargo load of coal to the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan, and was, seemingly, never heard from again.
However, 115 years later, the ship was spotted during a sonar search of the region by Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society researchers, and a wonderfully unique American find was born.
At any moment, a new wreck could be uncovered or identified along the ocean floor, or even along the bottom of a lake, and the thrill of discovery is what keeps historians, archaeologists, and everyday divers looking for more.
We’ve covered wreck diving in some previous posts. If you’re interested in the fascinating world of WWII wrecks, check out our destination info on the Solomon Islands, Truck Lagoon and Vanuatua, or Papua New Guinea among others!
Do you have a favorite wreck dive? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/