Underwater photography and scuba diving are believed to be one of the rarest forms of meditation. Imagine what it's like to dive into an endless pitch-dark ocean and enter an entirely new underwater world - a kingdom of jellyfish, ghost sharks and other bizarre deep-sea creatures "walking" across the seafloor. Indeed, few things in life can beat the whole spectrum of emotions triggered by the sight of that. But what if you suddenly stumbled upon a sunken wreck ship, drowning in utter bleakness at the bottom of the ocean? Realistically, it's not only a daring thought but a scary fact, and you're just about to find out more about it.
These mighty ships might once have scoured oceans after oceans, but they are now secretly dreaming of beautiful islands and harbors. In reality, though, they will no longer see lively harbors and vast horizons, but deep-sea creatures just as creepy as the surrounding darkness. On the bright side, though, we are now able to take you on a mysterious underwater journey to explore the world’s most spectacular sunken ships. Well, it may be a bit chilly down there, but don’t worry, TheTravel.com will keep your mind busy with unique facts and tales about these abandoned ships.
25 "La Belle" Was Underwater For Over 310 Years
Admittedly, the word “shipwreck” often conjures images of pirates hunting for treasure. Outside of the fictional world, though, there are millions of shipwrecks resting on the ocean floor, probably waiting to be discovered by scuba divers and deep-sea explorers. But while some ships sank amid the war, others have crashed and eventually sunk due to extreme weather conditions. In the 16th century, La Belle had to carry about 300 settlers who had to colonize the Gulf Coast area, but the ship was led thousands of miles astray to the coast of Texas. It never reached its destination due to what’s believed to be an “incorrect navigation".
24 "Baron Gautsch" Sank In The Northern Croatian Adriatic Sea
Before landing on the seafloor, Baron Gautsch was mainly used as a service passenger liner, leased by the Austro-Hungarian army until the outbreak of the World War I. Somehow the ship ran into a minefield off the Brijuni islands. As a result, over 250 people lost their lives on that ship which only had to transport them in several groups. Even to this date, the sinking of Baron Gautsch is considered one of the most dramatic tragedies and losses of life. The steamboat sank somewhere in the northern Croatian Adriatic sea but still lies at a depth of over 40 m off the coast of Rovinj.
23 The SS Maheno Is Now A Rusty Wreck On Fraser Island
The SS Maheno is no longer an ocean liner or a beautiful sight to see on the Fraser Island in Australia. Actually, the ship was originally planned to be an ocean liner but was later repurposed into a hospital ship.
Formerly operating as a hospital ship, The SS Maheno is now a total wreck covered in layers of rust after being hit and broken apart by a massive cyclone in 1935. Shortly after the cyclone swept through it, The SS Maheno drifted off to the Fraser Island in Australia. Decades and years must have passed before the ship was eventually dragged out of the water and sold to a shipbreaker in Japan.
22 Tabarka Had To Block The Path For Potential German U-Boats
Tabarka is just another ship that somehow hit rock bottom instead of just powering noisily across the open sea. Apparently, this French cargo ship, which weighed over 2, 5 tons at the time, was purposely sunk at least twice. The French had to block the route for German U-boats; therefore they had to use a ship block, and it happened to be Tabarka. The first time was in 1941 (during World War I), and the second time was in 1944. Tabarka served pretty well as a blockship, and now it seems that the French might have forgotten to drag it out of the sea.
21 The Satil Wreck In Israel Is Also Favored By Photographers
Presently located in the Red Sea of Eliat, The Satil Wreck was once owned by the Israeli Navy along with dozens of other missile ships, currently held in Cherbourg, France. But unlike most of the other sunken ships, which are almost entirely shunned by our society, the Satil Wreck in Israel actually enjoys some serious popularity among photographers. According to the thisisinsider.com, the shipwreck even became a popular hotspot for international underwater photographers and scuba divers, who usually compete against one another to capture the best underwater images of the shipwreck. Well, this picture above is a clear proof that the Satil Wreck is really worth the dive.
20 "Two Brothers" - The 19th-century Whaling Ship
The 19th-century whaling ship "Two Brothers" was led by captain George Pollard who had previously lost a boat named Essex, and it so happened that he lost Two Brothers as well. Apparently, there was a storm that forced him and his crew to leave the ship as soon as possible. Naturally, they didn’t go back to search for their deserted ship, so the vessel remained underwater for years before a group of marine archaeologists noticed the blubber hook from the Two Brothers ship.
The ship, which originally set sail from Nantucket, was finally found about 600 miles from Honolulu, alongside some of its whaling tools.
19 The Thistlegorm Was Sunk By The German Army In The 50s
Another long-forgotten ship that was sunk by the German force was the Thistlegorm. Before two German bombardiers sank it in the middle of the 90s, The Thistlegorm successfully carried out three voyages, transporting aircraft parts and other valuable goods. A decade later, though, the remains of the ship were discovered by the maritime explorer, Jacques Cousteau. Well, admittedly, the sight must have been quite spellbinding, yet a bit freakish. As for the ship, sunk by the Germans, it still resides somewhere in the pitch-dark sections of the Red Sea in Egypt where it surely belongs.
18 The Old Italian Cargo Ship Probitas Was Sunk By An Airstrike
Ever heard of the wrecked Italian cargo ship Probitas? Well, this long-forgotten and abandoned ship was apparently sunk by an airstrike and was later discovered by an Albanian research vessel. According to the research mission, the cargo ship was most likely built in 1919. Its last cruise was believed to be somewhere near the coast of Santi Quaranta. Today, there’s hardly anything left from the Italian Probitas, but the memory of an old cargo ship that never reached its destination. But still, there’s something about its collapsing structure that’s certainly worth the look, and dive, isn’t it?
17 A Sunken Ship In Giron That Also Attracts Many Divers
Located nearby Giron in Cuba, this shipwreck was apparently a US landing craft that was used during the invasion; however, it was eventually sunk and abandoned in the late 90s.
During the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Guron was only a landing site. But today there’s even a museum dedicated to the rich history of this place. Also, the location is now quite popular with divers since it’s easily accessible from the shore. As for the shipwreck, it can be found on the ocean bed, still lying upside down. But gladly for the divers, the ship has preserved most of its shape, so it's definitely worth a visit or two.
16 This Shipwreck Dates Back To The 3rd Century
Odd remains of an ancient vessel were located just off the coast of Corsica in the vast Mediterranean Sea. The origin of the shipwreck was, of course, investigated and archeologists concluded that this bust stretches all the day back to the 3rd century. What’s more, the wreck was most likely connected to the Roman Emperor Philip the Arab, whose reign continued until 249 AD. This rare shipwreck, which once played a crucial role in the Roman empire and history, was eventually noticed on October 23, 2014, and this picture of it only proves how old this ship must be.
15 Over 50 Japanese Ships Were Sunk In Micronesia
Most of the ships on today’s list had an unfortunate fate as they were either sunk by torpedos or “accidentally” lost and abandoned in the middle of the endless ocean. Somehow over 50 Japanese ships ended up on the ocean floor as the US army sank most of them at the time. According to the thisisinsider.com, The US sank almost over 50 Japanese vessels as they went missing in the region of Chuuk Lagoon in Micronesia. The tragedy took place in 1944 (during World War II) when the US army destroyed more than 250 aircraft and over 50 ships. Today, the Chuuk Lagoon is quite popular with scuba divers who can absolutely visit the remains of those Japanese vessels.
14 Another 4th-Century Shipwreck Was Located Off The Shores Of Albania
Somewhere off the coast of Albania lies a pleasant surprise of shipwrecked treasures – a pretty ancient vessel that once transported delicious goods, like olive oil and wine. Today, however, the Albanian shipwreck is surrounded by marine wildlife that sprouts at the site of the ship. Since the day of its sinking, tales of heroism have grown up around the place where the 4th-century shipwreck currently resides.
"So far RPM has documented [wrecks] from about 3rd and 4th century BC through to World War I and World War II [and] contemporary shipwrecks," D. Smith informed Phys.org.
13 There's An Underwater Heritage In Indonesia
The exotic land of Indonesia has got a surprisingly cool array of things to see and do when you get there. For instance, the underwater world of Indonesia is now considered a kingdom of over 500 sunken ships from all around the world. The Battle of the Java Sea has left a graveyard of ships off the shores of the country. Sadly, though, the ship got sunk nearby the Mentawai islands, taking the lives of British, Australian, American, Japanese and Dutch members of the armed forces as well. What’s left from it is a site full of underwater wreckage that’s both quite impressive and bizarre.
12 The Navy Landing Ship Spiegel Grove In Florida
In 2002, The Navy landing ship Spiegel Grove went off the radar although it was probably intentionally sunk like some of the other ships. A few years later, divers caught a glimpse of the abandoned Spiegel Grove ship, and it had certainly rolled upright. According to Cuba’s National Weather Services, the vessel was probably affected by the waves produced by the powerful Hurricane Dennis. All in all, the Spiegel Grove ship once held the record for being the largest ship in the world; however, the decommissioned Navy landing ship quickly became an artificial reef that still attracts lots of people.
11 SS City Of Chester Collided With The RMS Oceanic
The SS City of Chester set sail from the San Fransisco Bay but never managed to reach its scheduled destination. The ship collided with a steam liner, the size of a giant monster in the middle of the sea. The incoming RMS Oceanic was so heavy that it literally smashed The City of Chester which eventually headed out of the bay to Eureka, California. The ship carried 106 passengers and crew members when the accident happened. According to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration in 2014, The SS city of Chester collided with the incoming steamliner due to the poor weather conditions, and specifically because of the dense fog that had settled over the harbor that day.
10 Sao Jose-Paquete De Africa Is Still Kept Under Wraps
Did you know that the exact site of the Sao Jose-Paquete De Africa shipwreck is still kept under wraps? Well, the location of the sunken ship is now a treasure hunt that’s better left untouched. The shipwreck was discovered just off the shores of Cape Town, South Africa, and was thought of as a cargo ship with over 500 passengers on board. It’s been many years since that accident, but researchers still can’t find any trace of their belongings. Back in the day, such vessels were primarily used for transporting heavyweight loads. But even the weight of 500 passengers can’t be the reason for such a terrible outcome.
Setting sail from Mozambique in 1794, the Sao Jose ship had to transport the workers to Maranhao, Brazil. But sadly, they never got the chance to reach the shore anyway.
9 Nuestra Senora De Encarnacion - The Rare Spanish Shipwreck From The 17th Century
Another super rare shipwreck is Nuestra Senora de Encarnacion, often described as a well-preserved vessel despite its ancient origin.
The ship – which was part of the Spanish Tierra Firme foundation - transported goods and supplies to the colonists in the New World until a massive storm put an untimely end to it. In 1681, a storm threw the ship off balance, and it sank off the coast of Panama.
One day a group of underwater archeologists discovered the Spanish merchant ship, known as Nuestra Senora de Encarnacion; and given the unique looks of the vessel, it's probably at least a few hundred years old.
8 M/V Wilhelm Gustloff Was Struck By A Submarine
Initially, Gustloff was supposed to be a cruise ship; however, it was converted into a hospital ship and a floating barrack during World War II.
During those dark ages, many German citizens tried to flee the area and the quickest way to do it was by jumping on a departing ship, like Gustloff. In January 1945, Gustloff carried over 10,000 passengers on board, including elderly women and children.
But they hardly realized that the vessel was only designed for under 2,000 passengers. On top of that, the ship hadn’t sailed for years, which only made it quite a vulnerable target for submarine attacks.
7 HMS Victory Ship Was Commanded By Admiral Sir John Balchen
The so-called HMS Victory ship was led by the eminent admiral, Sir John Balchen, who helped a Mediterranean convoy fight off a blockade of French vessels in Lisbon. Perhaps it’s now much clearer why the ship was called “Victory”.
But when the ship reached Gibraltar, it could no longer protect the convoy. HMS Victory, which once led a fleet of warships, got lost in a violent storm and never returned to its homeland.
Sadly, more than a thousand men lost their lives in that fierce storm. Before sinking, though, the HMS Victory was considered the world’s most powerful warship, which was quite technically advanced as well. But unfortunately, it veered off-course, and Balchen was eventually accused of poor navigation.
6 The Centaur Sank After Being Struck By A Torpedo
The Centaur was yet another unfortunate ship, mercilessly struck by the Japanese during the World War II despite that it was marked with red crosses. According to the Australian War Memorial, this sunken ship carried over 330 passengers, but only 64 survived the Japanese torpedo in 1943. Among the passengers, who were lucky enough to make it out alive, were crew members and nursing staff. As for The Centaur, it was found by maritime explorers led by David Mearns. Upon discovery, the ship was mostly in one piece except for its hull which was shattered at least in a few places.
5 The Mysterious Shipwreck Off Sapienza Island
When it comes to sunken ships, there’s one place in particular that has probably seen many shipwrecks – the island of Sapienza. The waters in the area are quite ill-famed as they’ve gulped down many ships over the years, including two ancient vessels transporting priceless antiquities. In 1920, a group of local fishermen noticed the unique findings near the north cape of Sapienza Island. The shipwreck was located at a depth of almost 10 meters.
The Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities – the department that’s accountable for the preservation of ancient underwater relics - proceeded with adequate systematic research proving that there was, in fact, such a carriage on the ship.
4 The Epic Sinking Of Titanic - "The Unforgotten Ship"
Besides being Hollywood's most favorite classic movie, Titanic was a real ship, not a fictional one, and it really collided with an iceberg near the coast of Newfoundland.
Once known as an extreme luxury and safe ship, Titanic sank, taking with it over 1,500 passengers. The vessel was believed to be the largest and most expensive at the time but it couldn’t save its passengers from such a terrible fate anyway. Tragedies of such a scale would typically make headlines across the world as it even inspired an Oscar-winning movie, and A-list actors, like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
3 Gribshunden Could Be The World's Best Preserved Ship
This late medieval ship - found off the coast of Ronneby in the southern parts of Sweden – belonged to the Danish King John, who wanted to use it as a part of his long-planned mission to bring Denmark, Sweden, and Norway together. According to the ABC news, the 100-foot long ship Gribshunden dates back to the 15th century and features a massive wooden figurehead of a sea creature. In the past, the 660-pound figurehead was even used to drive away evil spirits. Whether that worked out or not, Gribshunden is still thought of as one of the rarest, most mysterious and best preserved late ships.
2 Sir John Franklin's "Erebus" Ship Went Missing In 1848
Erebus - one of the two ships led by Sir John Franklin – was lost during the Franklin Expedition in the late 18s. The English Royal Navy Officer and his crew were searching for the Northwest Passage, which happens to be the route from the Pacific to the Arctic Ocean; however, both of his ships went missing until 2014 when Erebus was eventually located during a Canadian mission there. But the more interesting part of the story comes with the tiny note, found on that lost ship, saying that Sir John passed away even before the ships were abandoned.
1 The SMS Coln Is Now Popular With Divers
Launched in 1916, SMS Coln was a light cruiser with quite an armored control tower, disclosing its fair share of battleships in its grand past. But oddly enough, this German ship, named after the charming city of Cologne, didn’t participate physically in the war. Instead, it was one of those ships which were deliberately sunk at Scapa Flow after WWI to prevent the British army from claiming them. Today, the SMS Coln cruiser is hardly known for its role in the World War I, but is certainly more famous as a protected monument favored by curious divers.
References: listverse.com, thisisinsider.com, brightside.me, scribol.com