40+ Submerged Structures That Keep Us Happily On Dry Land

By Aileen D

If you go swimming in the ocean, what do you expect to see? Some friendly fish darting away or swooping birds, perhaps? We’d hope to run into a pod of dolphins, but we like to keep our expectations realistic.

Experienced divers remind us that there’s more hidden under the waves than just shells and strange-looking fish. Sunken treasure doesn’t exist the way the movies portray it — a water-logged chest full of coins. What can be found under the waves, however, are some structures, many of which were never meant to touch the water.

If that thought scares you, you might have submechanophobia — the fear of partially or fully submerged man-made objects. Don’t believe us? Maybe these pictures of sunken objects (both intentional or accidental) will give you the chills more than our words can.

Once The Richest Silver Mine

Welcome to Silver Islet. This was once dubbed as the world’s richest silver mine. It is estimated that the Silver Islet Mining company had made around $3.25 million until 1884 when it was closed down. The company hired a bunch of miners without telling them the conditions of the job.

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Many left, but those who stayed had to travel into the belly of the water-filled mine shaft. When the lake felt like it, it would spray water into the hole, and douse the rocks lining the little island. This was not a job meant for the weak-willed.

Need Some Help?

Well, this is one of many ways to catch people’s attention. This art installation, called Support, was built next to one of many buildings submerged in the Grand Canal. The artist, Lorenzo Quinn, intended to shock those that came across it, making them think about how quickly climate change has caused the water level in the Grand Canal to rise, and how mankind has the sole power to stop it from happening.

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As you have guessed, these pair of hands are supporting the hotel from toppling into the water. And not only are these hands meant to awe people, but it is a good way to gauge the water level. It has been said that the Mediterranean is expected to rise by five feet by the end of this century.

Down Under

Imagine Texas. In the Summer, the days are hot. Winters are brief, cold, and windy. If you had imagined a cowboy wearing his hat, you would have envisioned the warm air and the golden sun beating down on his back. We bet you didn’t imagine that a hurricane could cause this street in Texas to be fully submerged in water.

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In September of 2017, Texas was one of many states that were roughly devastated by Hurricane Harvey. About 40 inches of rain flowed over eastern Texas causing unimaginable flooding. Try looking up French Street when you have some free time while also viewing the picture up top. How can that possibly be the same street?

Make Your Own Island

Have you ever wanted to move somewhere; just pack your things up and then live on an uninhabited island, away from everyone’s meddling? Well, now you can. Build your own island by simply repurposing a boat. Or take this one from whoever had abandoned this wreck. In half a century, it grew into an island.

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This doesn’t seem like the first instance when someone had purposefully made a ship into an island. Apparently, during the Second World War, a crew of Dutch shipmen camouflaged their ship with foliage so that they wouldn’t be recognized by airplanes overhead. They had successfully made themselves look like a tropical island!

The Awakening

If you’ve ever tried to gain greater self-awareness, then you would know that the process is muddy, slow, and downright painful. That is why people say that there’s a certain blissfulness that comes with ignorance. Just look at this giant here, who was obviously rudely awakened from his reality.

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He struggles to push through the water, and he is imprinted this way mid-scream, with hands grasping for air. Try to visit Maryland National Harbor. Visitors and residents are simply riveted by this work of art. It’s one of the few installations that would grab your attention every time you look at it.

Classical Way To Repurpose

As with most things, these NYC subway cars are outdated. The city government had to find a way to repurpose or discard them. Fortunately, they had come up with a solution to do both! They loaded them unto a boat and then brought them out to sea. About 2500 subway cars were dumped in the waters of New Jersey, South Carolina, Maryland and Georgia, to name a few.

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Now, why would anyone allow that to happen? The Metropolitan Transit Authority, in partnership with the city government, repurposed these cars as artificial reefs for fishes and crustaceans. Not to worry, these subway cars were decontaminated and stripped of harmful chemicals to create the best possible aquatic home.

Under The Sea

There are a lot of things we can be thankful for. One of which is this underwater tunnel which allows people to travel the Patapsco River with their cars. The Baltimore Harbor Tunnel is a pair of two-lane road tunnels. The tubes run about 50 to 100 feet underground, catering to local and interstate traffic.

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On this morning, floodwater gushed inside the tunnel. The drivers were alarmed, and some of them thought they should ignore the fact that they’re driving underwater. Just drive straight ahead and keep from crashing your car into the opposite track.

Not Sharp Enough

There are so many people who are a fan of the movie, Jaws. Some scream with delight as the shark’s jaws close in on a surfer’s leg. But, how would it feel like coming face to face with a monstrosity underwater? Well, stretch those muscles, breathe deeply, and then dive into the ocean to meet this bad boy 20.

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Look at that gleaming smile showing those perfectly sharpened teeth. Bet those would look better if they are smeared with blood. Not to worry, this shark statue wasn’t made to frighten divers…at least not initially. This five-meter-long shark was made in 2007 for a movie.

A Village Of Ghosters

We may have come up with the term, ghosting, for how many failed relationships, but this became a thing when Iin Italy way before our time. Unlike us, they ghosted this city. Why is that? Well, look at the picture below and you would be able to tell that the place was already uninhabitable, to begin with.

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The whole city was submerged underwater. It had taken nearly a century for this ghost city to reemerge into existence. We can’t move in just yet. We haven’t even been able to hold our breaths for longer than 2 minutes underwater. You would need to be able to do an hour minimum if you want to move into this neighborhood.

What Life Was Like For A Miner

Miners usually work for 7 to 12 hours a day with only artificial light to guide them. They would wake up before sunrise and head down the dark, dirty, and cramped mining shafts. After work, they would be covered in coal dust. If they were lucky, they got to stop by the washhouse and bathe themselves before going home.

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There is nothing inspiring about heading down these stairs and hearing your boots thudding against the metal steps. If you weren’t lucky, your hard hat might receive the full impact of a chipped rock, or you might get your monthly wage in the form of black lung disease. Yikes!

Doing A Headcount

Welcome aboard! You struggle to pull your luggage. You feel queasy like you’re running out of air. Every step you take is sluggish as if something was holding you back. You wade to your seat, flop on the chair, and then buckle your seatbelt. In a couple of minutes, this flight attendant gives a few reminders before the flight.

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Unlike most flight attendants, this one wears a mask over his face. He breathes air from a tank and then swivels a LED light to see in the dark. It shouldn’t be any wonder why you found it difficult to breathe underwater. This diver wades through the rows of seats found inside a sunken plane.

Off With The Head

While gazing at this photo, you’re probably wondering what happened. Not to worry, Punta Nizuc is full of these underwater sculptures. It is located in the southern area of Cancun, Mexico. To view these sculptures, you would have to dive to around 4 meters deep.

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You could snorkel around these items. After all, who would want to see a bunch of statues bowing down? But, you might miss out on the beautiful view of marine life and the second largest reef in the world. After an underwater tour, you can try a wide array of international food on dry land.

A Day In the Life

When you were a kid, what did you dream of becoming? Had you considered becoming a paleontologist? The child in us was curious to collect samples and dust off loose dirt. We got to examine the fossilized bones of animals – covered by sand, or in this case, a body of water.

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What do you think happened to this sea serpent and what kind is it? Even with your best guess, you wouldn’t be able to answer it correctly. That is because this oceanic serpent is a man-made installment on the French shore. It is supposed to embody the remains of China’s mythological dragons. Pretty neat, right?

The Last House

If there was anything Stephen White would end up being known for, is his efforts for protecting Holland Island and maintaining the upkeep of the houses therein. He had desperately tried to fight shoreline erosion, but what can you do against mother nature when it sets its will on tearing away bits and pieces of the island.

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The city used to have a thriving community. There were shops, general stores, a church, and even a post office. People could search for oysters and catch fish – one of the few sources for their livelihoods. But crashing waves caused the slow but sure erosion of the island. By 1914, it had lost its shoreline, and to date, this is the only house on Holland Island.

Fancy A Shipwreck?

What is it about Lake Superior that causes so many shipwrecks? The lake is said to be home to the watery grave of about 350 ships, half of which are still undiscovered to date. It is said to have happened because there are no natural harbors ships can use during a huge storm.

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Some divers were able to take a picture of this old shipwreck. You can see the chairs and the dinnerware still intact. We would like to think that its passengers had survived, but many of the shipwrecks had claimed the lives of many passengers.

Missiles Engaged

There was a good reason why people feared the Axis alliance – German U-boats. These things could stay underwater for about two hours, which was a feat in the early 1900s. It could carry about 35 men and 12 torpedoes always ready for engagement and attack.

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They used many of these during the war, roughly 2779 in total. Each could destroy a whole convoy. The Germans made sure to craft many “Unterseeboots” to wipe out both Allied military and commercial ships. But to date, there are only four of them left, and 50 left unaccounted for.

Jet Star

Back in 2012, Hurricane Sandy claimed many lives and caused heavy destruction. The cold air mass caused her to change direction and magnified the speed with which she was traveling and the strength of her winds. This was one of the worst Hurricanes that America witnessed.

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It had taken about five years for people to recover from Hurricane Sandy, seeing how it had cost about $70 billion in damages. This was one of the many piers that collapsed. Jet Star, the lone rollercoaster, sunk under ocean water. With basically no warning, Jet Star took its last ride that day.

Just Another Day At Work

About 70 years ago, the first submarine tower was built to train those who would handle crew ships and submarines. Each had to descend in a 100-ft deep tank of water wearing a suit and a breathing apparatus. This helped the crewmen simulate a survival mission as they emerged from the depths of the ocean.

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Owing to the training, there was only one British boat that had been lost, without any lives lost. Unfortunately, yesteryear was the end of the era for Gosport’s submarine escape tower. In its place, the Submarine Escape Rescue Abandonment and Survival Training Facility opened.

The Only Bow You’ll Ever Know

*Cue music. A red-haired woman spread her arms apart. She is held by a charismatic, blonde boy. The ship is in full sail, and Rose feels the weight of the world drift away. “I’m flying,” she says. In the next hour, the bow plunges about 30 miles per hour towards the ocean floor. Name this movie.

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Titanic! Bet that’s the only scene that came to mind (apart from the jeweled necklace that Rose had thrown into the sea). While their love story is fictional, the following tidbit isn’t – it is said that the Titanic could vanish entirely by 2030. So etch this image of the boat in your memory. Underwater bacteria is slowly eating away at it.

Has It Discovered The World?

The ship, World Discoverer, was designed by Schichau Unterweser, in Germany in the 70s. It voyaged to French Polynesia, Antarctica, Falkland Islands, and Argentina. But, after thirty years, the ship struck an uncharted rock in the Solomon Islands which reduced it to an unfortunate shipwreck.

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The captain sent a distress signal. In a couple of hours, passengers were ferried to safety. To this day, the World Discoverer is off lounging in Roderick Bay, Nggela Islands. The ship has become somewhat of a tourist destination. What was once the World Discoverer is now sought to be discovered by foreigners and residents alike.

Whatever Happened to Nautilus

Ever heard of the Riot games? It is said to be the most player-focused game published in the world. They created Leagues of Legends, Legends of Runeterra, Valorant, and Teamfight Tactics. Owing to their online success, they had commissioned an artificial reef of their chosen character, Nautilus.

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It was installed in the ocean in Brisbane, Australia in 2016. It displays the names of over 42,000 players who had completed the competition. But in just a couple of year’s time, those gamer tags have been rendered unrecognizable. Guess the ocean doesn’t have much care for theatrics and pomp play.

The God Amongst Us

As much as we love ancient mythology, there is nothing appealing about having a god walk amongst us. But a few kilometers away from the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Span, stands this olympian, trident in hand. You can make out the crown on his head and the sheer amount of power he can wield, especially with the waves crashing around him.

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Some say that he is guarding the east coast of the island – that is, part of his kingdom. As a leader, he does not dissuade from the position that he holds on those stone steps. Just a fun fact: this piece of art is made from bronze, and it still stands there to this day.

Towed To Safety

This is every environmentalist’s worst nightmare. A 17,000-ton oil rig was left stranded on the coast after inclement weather in 2016. It was in the midst of being towed to Malta when the towline snapped. It was held securely by eight anchors until it could be safely transported to a repair facility.

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As you guessed, it was carrying 280 tons of diesel. About 80 liters of which were lost during the incident when it was on the way to Broad Bay. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency quickly started testing the water for any discharge of oil or pollution from the semi-submersible rig.

Purposeful Scrapping

This pandemic ran a lot of businesses in the ground. One of which is the cruise industry. Cruise lines have been repatriating crew members and scrapping ships to keep up with the losses. Important items and keepsakes are stripped from each vessel, then they are docked somewhere for possible recycling.

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The scrap yards are struggling to keep up with the demands of sunken cruise lines. Owing to the lack of space, some of these ships are laid up in Greece until those in Turkey are disposed of. Each ton should cost about $400. But that number has plummeted because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bloody Hell

With its beautiful landscape and peacefulness, Geamăna is a dream come true for most. But people were forced to abandon the Romanian village because of toxic waste leaking from a nearby mining pit. That cool, icy water turned into a toxic pool, becoming a catch basin for acid cyanide and copper.

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About 400 families have relocated 100km from Geamăna. They had put up quite a fuss. After all, the government had promised that they would be moved only 7 kilometers away. Only a few townsfolk live in the town, their houses located higher on the hill.

Take A Jump

How much of a risktaker are you? Let’s figure that out. Can you climb heights and do parkour without any cables attached to you. Or, can you jump off the side of a container ship and swim in deep water? Either one should get your heart racing.

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This doesn’t seem to scare either one of these guys. If anything, that should make the trip more entertaining. The ship had stopped at this particular point of the journey. And they had figured it would be a waste of an experience if they didn’t jump into the icy ocean. Better to do that in daylight, right?

Ice Ice Baby

Never mind that it’s nearly subzero. In this town, kids would come to ski on the icy plain, where the river used to flow. A kid puts both palms on the ground and steadies himself to stand upright. He sees something just beneath the ice. He rubs at the surface and tries to make sense of it.

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He makes out the hood of a car and then its windshield. He cocks his head and calls for his friends to take a look at what he found. That’s a Volvo trapped under ice. Earlier that year, someone was involved in an accident. Hopefully, no one was in there when the water froze over.

Church Of Potosi

There are valid reasons why mankind should leave nature alone. This city was flooded by water when a dam was built nearby. Its citizens had to be relocated elsewhere, and the town had to be abandoned. It was all planned for the good cause of supplying hydroelectric power to the residents.

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Severe water shortages reveal this church steeple of Potosi city. You might think this city disappeared a hundred years ago, but the purposeful damming of the river had only taken place about 36 years ago. Fishermen and tourists can view the cross poking crookedly out of the water.

At War

A lot of lives could have been saved if people had refused to go to war in the 1900s. Up to now, we’re still feeling the effects of the efforts of naval mines, artillery shells, and grenades exploding on land and in the water. In fact, some governments still employ minesweepers to detect and dismantle these explosives.

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International law requires that these naval mines be disclosed in order to keep ships and sea goers from traversing waters where they may be found. But some states refuse to comply. IN this case, they have to be found and dismantled which is a very time-consuming and costly effort.

Heavensent Or A Nightmare?

You may think that the picture below is a fancy spa pool of some sort. But, it is actually a water reservoir in Emmendingen, Germany. It’s perfect in times of drought to help water crops in agricultural lands. Reservoir systems may also mitigate flood control from nearby dams. However, something about this picture scares the living daylights out of us, and we aren’t sure exactly why.

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Imagine that place with the lights turned off. Your hands grip the railings and you feel the cold water caress your feet. You kick at the water and wonder if anything, or anyone, is about to grab you from the dark depths. But it’s hard to tell in complete blackness You wonder just how deep the water goes.

Y-40 Deep Joy Pool

Divers and swimmers will find this next bit particularly exciting. The Y-40 Deep Joy pool was designed by Emanuele Boaretto to be the world’s deepest swimming pool. It is filled with about 4.3 million liters of thermal water. It’s located in Padua, Italy. You can dive as low as 40 meters and slowly make your ascent.

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If you find the dive particularly distressing, you can choose to walk through a transparent tunnel and marvel at the divers making their descent. The architect intended to create the best swimming pool in the world. Granted that this had made the Guinness Book of Records, he made quite a feat.

An End To The USS Speigel Grove

One great way to get a suntan while in Florida is to ride the crests of waves, or maybe dive around the Spiegel Grove. The 80-foot wreck lies 130 feet deep in water. Since it lies near the Gulf Stream, you might see large fish, manta rays, and hammerheads swimming about.

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The Spiegel Grove planned to strategically sink into the ocean at 2 pm on May 17, 2002. But the big beauty chose to take a premature dive in the water. It rolled over and remained upside down with its bow visible overhead. The artificial reef is home to many marine creatures. But beware, this warship had claimed the lives of six divers to date.

Snuffed Underwater

It seems like artists have a thing against divers. Another art piece was installed underwater in Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland. And like the shark before, this is as terrifying, if not, unimaginable. The art installation is that of a dragon, with its orange-red beady eyes, gaping nostrils, and jagged teeth.

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It might be difficult to identify it. After all, you can only recognize parts of a dragon at first sight, until it breathes fire and mayhem on everything that comes near it. With this art installation placed underwater, it can’t possibly breathe air, much less scorch fish.


The Societ Union used to be very powerful. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have been able to construct one of the world’s biggest submarines, named the Navy’s Typhoon Class. These can sail five nautical miles an hour faster underwater than on the surface.

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The interior is protected by multiple pressure hulls. And its crew can live comfortably for as long as four months, with amenities like this swimming pool you can see above. Sure, it’s moldy. Those grills do nothing but increase our anxiety. But that’s because this picture is taken aboard a decommissioned Soviet submarine.

Jason Voorhees

You wouldn’t be a hardcore fan of cult classic horror movies if you can’t make out the goalie mask of Jason Voorhees. It is said that he had worn this after killing Donnie, to remind himself of all the pain he had gone through growing up. The franchise has been such a success that the townsfolk of Crosby, Minnesota had installed this statue of Jason underwater.

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Spoiler alert: They had referenced the sixth movie installment. That is where Jason Voorhees, deathly afraid of water, is defeated after being chained to the bottom of Crystal Lake. It serves him well. He had ruthlessly gone on a killing rampage near that lake and several others.

The USS Midway

This aircraft carrier is the longest-serving carrier of the century. It was made in the 1940s, but it was only used after the Second World War. It features an armored flight deck and can carry over 120 planes. Despite its age, it has a commanding presence at sea. Just look at this kayaker rowing past the carrier’s bow.

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Although aircraft carriers are near impossible to sink, we wouldn’t want to work on board the USS Midway. It is said that the flight deck of aircraft carriers is one of the most dangerous places to work. There is only a small period of time to monitor each landing and take-off of each aircraft, with so many buzzing past you in a span of 24 hours!

A Submarine Ride

Rated 4.5 stars by over 500 people, the Oahu Atlantis Submarine Adventure is worth spending your money on. You will board a glass-bottom boat which affords you a view of Oahu’s underwater activity. Outside, you should see the schools of Hawaiian fishes, the clusters of coral, and occasionally deep-sea divers.

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The whole package costs you about $150. This includes a submarine dive and a shuttle boat to the dive site. A local tour guide will tell you bits and pieces about the marine habitat and animals navigating the ocean water. If you feel like it, you can upgrade your experience to premium and board a 64-passenger submarine.

Lucky To Be Born In These Times

There are a lot of reasons to be thankful for being born in this century. You have got state-of-the-art technology, Netflix, and even near-indestructible architecture that can withstand most of the forces that nature can throw at us. It wasn’t always like this. See, back in the second century BC, this Egyptian city became fully submerged underwater.

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Six tonnes of intricate stone statues plunged into the sea. Amongst them were Hapi, the god of fertility and one of Egypt’s finest gatekeepers. Divers found a great deal more – temple ruins, pottery, coins, and jewelry – all belonging to those who had lived in Thonis-Heracleion, Egypt.

Distress Call

There is nothing this man loves more than having to sail the sea. From time to time, he finds it very lonesome. He has encountered some ships and yachts and had been meaning to invite the people aboard for a drink. They almost always refused…until now.

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Any innocent bystander would immediately rush to the deck to point out the survivor sitting on the steps. They would wave and call out to him. “Don’t send a distress call,” he says! As the ship comes closer, he calmly explains that the boat was intentionally designed this way. It affords him his fair share of attention and small talk.

Which Way Is Up

Tighten those straps, open the tank, and release the inflator button. Do a full check of your dive equipment and wear those fins. We’re going 17 meters down into the Mediterranean Sea in Italy to pay homage to the god-like statue underneath. He’s expecting us.

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This bronze statue was installed in August of 1954. It was designed by Duilioi Marcante as a tribute to his friend and fellow diver, Dario Gonzatti who had been the first Italian to wear scuba gear. Unfortunately, his friend, Dario, had died in a diving accident. Now, Christ prays, with hands outstretched to the heavens, to protect and bless the lives of all divers.

2019’s Underwater Photographer Of The Year

Just when you thought that everyone had a fear of the deep water, these photographers take risky shots of people and things underwater. 2019’s runner-up was Matej Bergoc, who had taken a picture of a girl sitting under a boat. We know what you’re thinking- this picture looks perfect. It had taken him several attempts to do so.

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Matej had bested over 5,000 images submitted by photographers from all over the world. He was been beaten by Eduardo Acevedo who had taken a picture of a turtle trapped in a plastic net, struggling to wrestle free from it. Other honorees featured shots of fishes, sharks, and even abandoned ferries.

Amused Yet?

If you’re quite the traveler, you will notice that people flock to Vorarlberg, Austria every July and August. It’s where the Bregenz Festspielhaus, a performing arts festival, is held. There are stages made from floating barges, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra is set to perform at the beginning of the festival.

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You wouldn’t believe it. But every year, this festival is fully booked with about 200,000 people. People are drawn to operas, plays, and orchestral pieces performed on the floating stage. Two years ago, it had been the Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi. This year, it was set to be Giacomo Puccini’s, Madame Butterfly.

Olympic Class Ocean Liner

The Titanic was a beauty in her day. It had three sharp propellers to provide balance, speed, and efficiency while passing through the waters. They were each about 23 feet long and weighed over 38 tons. Given these dimensions, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the ocean liner took three years to build.

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Nobody could imagine this beauty to be entrapped in the ocean bottom – its spare parts thrown in disarray. This picture of its propeller was taken in 1991, 12,000 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean. The stern imploded and then fell at a dizzying speed.

The Sinking Of The SS Probitas

This seashore looks like any other sandy beach in the world. But, try to fly overhead, and you will see a gargantuan monster lurking just 300 meters from the shore. It’s the SS Probitas, a World War II Italian cargo ship that prematurely became wreckage. Because it is so close to shore, surface buoys help warn boats to steer clear of the vessel.

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Weather in Albania is hot and arid, but one step into these waters, and you will be crippled by icy temperatures. There is so much ground for divers to cover, especially since the SS Probitas is roughly 115 meters in length. It tapers down to about 18 meters deep, not that we would want to dive that far down.

Get To See Filtration In Action

With many industries lining Michigan’s lakeshores, the local government has to make sure that water from industrial areas is filtered before it flows into the lake. Dredging is carried out by private entities and port authorities. If you have ever wondered what it’s like inside these dredging sites, take a look for yourself.

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Water used to flow through the shaft and was subject to different filtration processes. We can’t say for certain why this dredge had been abandoned. It’s likely that it hadn’t met government standards. From time to time, people break into the place. Just make to watch your step. You wouldn’t want to fall into that cesspool of gunk.