Dutch Antilles

Take the plunge: 4 incredible shipwreck dive sites


By Shira Levine - Fox News

Those who’ve sported SCUBA or snorkel gear and submerged beneath the surface of the sea have witnessed the fantastical underworld that lies below.

Through the lens of a diving mask is a flooded universe where a symphony of plant life sways back and forth to the sub aqua beat, and gangs of fish nose around for something to eat.

To look out across a seascape is to delve into the dynamic and awe-inspiring; while at the same time observe something dark, scary and lonely.

While it's not eco-PC to dig man's underwater destruction, it is an otherworldly journey for the imagination to explore a ship or plane wreck via dive or snorkel. Marine life and their eco systems are surprisingly resilient.

Submerged flora and fauna have no problem hopping onboard and moving into sunken ships once the waters have calmed.

UNESCO estimates that there are roughly three million shipwrecks worldwide and billions of dollars strewn across the ocean floor.

Don’t get too excited. It costs about $4 million to send an underwater robot to hunt those treasures. Nevertheless, here are five wrecks to wreak exploratory havoc on in bodies of water all around the world.

MS Antilla

My first foray with sea wreckage was a close examination of the 400-foot long Antilla -- one of the largest wrecks in the Caribbean. Just off Aruba’s Arashi reef, the German freighter was initially used during World War II to provide provisions to submarines patrolling the Dutch Antilles.

When Germany invaded Holland, Aruba joined forces with the Allies. Anchored in shallow waters, after being ordered to surrender in 24 hours, the German crew obliged, but the captain opted to scuttle the ship rather than let it fall under Allied control.

The Antilla sits at a shallow depth – peeking out of the surface and maxing out at a mere 60 feet. As a snorkeler, I was both dazzled and terrified by the ghostly presence of a ship that once was and now today is festooned with cheerful sponges, corals and a plethora of marine life that made the ship home.

SS Yongala

March marked the 100th anniversary of wreck located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Queensland, Australia.

The Yongala hit the ocean floor in 1911 but was mysteriously undiscovered for more than 50 years despite all on board perishing. Considered one of the top wrecks in the world, the coral-encrusted ship attracts massive blue gropers and staggering schools of huge trevally, cobia, pinnate batfish and fingermark.

Not to mention bull sharks, marble rays and juvenile Humpback whales along with thousands of other sea creatures. The sea voyeurism continues when floating up closer to the surface where harmless sea snakes and turtles go about their business.

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