The vast size of the ocean and the depth to the ocean floor means very few people get to explore the deepest levels our oceans. The ones who do are expert deep sea divers. Even the most experienced and expert divers in the world have only explored 5% of the world's oceans. Just a few make it to the very bottom, and when they do, they have limited time before they have to resurface.
For the rest of the world who aren’t experienced to dive deep into the oceans, we rely on imagery to get an idea of just what lies beneath the water's surface. Underwater is a different world.
When the waters are calm, there’s serenity. All types and colors of marine life float around. There’s no denying though; there are dangers there as well. We’re all aware of the sharks, the great white whale, piranhas and even those nasty stings you get if your skin comes into contact with a jellyfish.
Asides from the marine life, there's stunning imagery of plantations ranging from coral reefs, waterwheel plants, sea anemone, soft coral and the tranquil ocean plant Kelp, the largest of all ocean plants that grow up to 250 feet.
The last thing you’d expect from the beautiful scenery and marine life is to find an airplane graveyard. That’s what Brandi Mueller discovered. The secrets that some would rather have stayed buried.
All while Diving from her boat around the Marshall Islands
The official name is the Republic of the Marshall Islands as it is a country consisting of 29 islands. It's located close to the equator and is also part of country Micronesia.
The 29 islands around the area are all just corals and barely sit above sea level. The Atolls that form the islands are actually the top of submerged volcanoes. That'll give you an idea of what the scenery is like underwater in the region.
The country is now a sovereign nation, but that wasn’t always the case. Just over seven decades ago, the U.S Forces occupied the islands. Now they rent Kwajalein atoll as a military test range for missiles. That’s a lot different to the post-war era where it the base was used for testing nuclear weapons.
It’s the story behind the story that makes what Brandi Mueller caught through the lens of camera underwater all the more compelling.
From above, the island looks like this.
Underwater though, this is what’s lying on the ocean bed.
It paints a very different picture from the idealistic view you get above water.
Amidst the planes, there’s an enormous amount of debris spread across the ocean floor
The pictures Brandi was able to snap revealed a lot more than airplanes lying at the bottom of the sea. The planes were surrounded by shards of glass and remnants of shattered metal. Naturally, the metal was long rusted given the debris has been down there for over 70+ years.
The whole surface of the ocean floor tells the story of a long forgotten past, brings it to the surface and reminds us all of the war that was won by the US at the cost of thousands of lives.
It’s been known all along what was in the water in the Marshall Islands region, but until now, nobody has ever been there long enough to get photos of the underwater world. Only a few have actually been able to dive so deep down to the bottom of the ocean only to find they need to resurface.
What Brandi Mueller has done is quite like the impossible. She’s deep dived to the bottom of the ocean, with a camera, and successfully taken superb photographs evidencing the troubles of past conflict during World War II.
Days went into capturing the photographs
Due to the time limitations and difficulty working at such deep levels, it took multiple days and frequent deep dives into what must’ve felt like oblivion. A time capsule or something. Not your average experience of any type of diving.
Planes are the last thing you’d expect to find on the ocean bed. Boats, yeah. They’ll sink, but planes fly and to land on a warplane when you’re not expecting it, you’d be forced to ask what happened? Were they shot down? Run out of fuel? And if so, what happened to the pilots? Maybe the aquatic life took care of that.
Even more complexing, the planes were flawless (except rust)
Among the planes buried deep at sea, it was like they were frozen in a time capsule.
The picture above shows a U.S. military aircraft which has landed on its propeller, stood upright and remained in that position since 1945.
All in, there are over 150 airplanes, all in impeccable condition except for rust. Even though they are rusted, they’re also the habitats for the marine life and the coral reefs and all other ocean plants found along the seabed.