Whale bones, sharks, shipwrecks and volcanic rock

By Nathan Morley - Cyprus Mail

Oceanographer and underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard’s two-week exploration into the ocean depths off Cyprus has revealed an amazing array of life forms, shipwrecks and curiosities.

“We have found a lot of fascinating things, when you go where no one has gone before on planet earth - you are not really sure what you are going to find,” Ballard told viewers during a web-cast live from the .

“For example, on the top of the seamount, we have seen an unusual feeding pattern of whales, which are diving down 4,000 feet and feeding on something at the bottom of the ocean.

We think they are beaked whales, they are very mysterious and we know very little about them.

“They are living in total darkness and feeding in total darkness, we are trying to understand what they are eating as there is no obvious food there,” Ballard said.

Other highlights of the trip included the discovery of the remains of an Ottoman war galley at a depth of 3,000 feet, along with a flintlock pistol which was surrounded by what appeared to be black rum bottles littering the sea floor.

Surprisingly, the metal pistol appeared to be remarkably well preserved, but most of the wood from the ship has deteriorated - eaten away by marine organisms.

For those onshore, the expedition brought underwater technological progress into the fore, as cameras peering into the gloom beamed live, high definition pictures from the bottom of the Mediterranean to the internet.

Mini submarines Hercules and Argus illuminated the gin clear water, as the vessels robotic tools, including a claw, gathered sediment samples, rocks and small sea animals.

Robert Ballard Mediterranean Cyprus oceanographer NV Nautilus expedidition