5 Spectacular Things that can be Found Underwater
Under the rippling waves of the ocean’s surface there are mystifying worlds with wild species, weird habitats and some pretty odd-looking plants. Pick the best spots to explore the depths scuba diving or freediving and you’ll experience nothing less than a thrill. Getting up close to the strange and the beautiful is one of life’s perks and if you haven’t already, taking a dive to discover the following mind-blowing sights is a must.
Diving to Find the Underwater Rivers in Mexico
If you’re visiting Mexico, try passing on the tequila and sombrero celebrations for just long enough to explore one of the world’s most amazing natural formations. Cenote Angelita off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is home to an underwater river with banks, trees and yes, leaves – just like your bog-standard river. But it’s not normal is it, because it’s underwater, meaning there is water underwater and making it one of the most incredible sights you can come across while diving.
Although it hurts the brain to even think about, the river is actually a completely natural occurrence. The water that settles here is a mix of salt water and hydrogen sulphide making it much denser than the surrounding sea’s salt water. This means it sinks to the bottom of the ocean floor, forming a distinct separation and flowing just like a river.
As hydrogen sulphide is very toxic, the likelihood of spotting marine life while diving isn’t too high. Yet there is a spot of water on the abyssal plain that is abundant with mussels. Here, the deep sea lakes look madly similar to lakes on land, complete with sandy and rocky shores. And just to make this whole thing even weirder, these lakes have waves – yes they have waves under the ocean which also has waves. If you’re up for an experience that feels like flying through a landscape painting then go diving at Cenote Angelita.
Diving into Ocean Sinkholes
If you’ve taken a look at these dark blue spots of water from aerial shots or even a helicopter ride you might have assumed there’s something down there causing the gloom. Yet, these holes are full of nothing but seawater. They formed during the Ice Age in exactly the same way as the sinkholes we see forming in cities: because of time, water and chemicals.
But the difference is, these ocean sinkholes are a heck of a lot bigger and up to three times deeper than, for example, the huge Guatemala sinkhole that swallowed an entire city block. And the sharp contrast between the light and dark blue is purely down to the mass of deep and cold water that stretches down to whatever is at the bottom.
If you’re simply too inquisitive to pass on a challenge then why not take a dive into the dark depths of an ocean sinkhole? Yes, your mind will probably be churning with the idea that the opening will close over to swallow you up and leave you stuck there forever. But hey, you get to discover all the weird stalactite formations and whatever else is lurking down there.
Diving with Spiders
Here’s some news: those terrifying creatures with way too many legs and creepy quick movement that we find lurking in the corners of our homes actually live underwater too. And these spiders aren’t any kind of weird crab species or fish critter either but actual air-breathing spiders that make their home there. That’s correct; there are even more of these horrid creatures existing under the waves. Suddenly gone off swimming in the sea? Or have you always dreamed of diving with spiders?
The diving bell spider is the world’s only spider that lives underwater for almost its entire life. The creature weaves a web that is bell-shaped to catch and contain air bubbles above the surface and then brings them underwater. This web then works like a fish’s gills to filter oxygen from the surrounding water – enough for the spider to survive a whole day in the deep before having to go back up for more bubbles.
Next time you step on something a little weird on the seabed, just remember that it could be something more spine-chilling than seaweed.
Diving in Forests
Underwater kelp forests are so dense and tall that they often look similar to tree cover. These forests exist in lakes and oceans all over the world and are always a hub for marine life.
Amazingly, they can grow from a depth of 150 feet and still pop out above the surface. Plus, as they grow at a rate of up to two feet a day, they would be pretty terrifying if they existed on land. Diving amongst these plants is nothing short of an eerie experience.
Although these kelp forests are still just underwater plants getting on with their underwater life, there are many instances where real forests exist underwater. Of course, they didn’t grow there (as trees need oxygen) but when hydroelectric dams are built, they can plunge entire forests underwater. And these trees certainly don’t go to waste. A robot called Sawfish has been developed to chainsaw the trunk of trees, allowing them to float to the surface.
Diving with Birds
Birds have wings, meaning they’re built to fly in the sky, above land and above water. But, oh no, sometimes birds like to go completely against nature’s intentions. Yes, you might have seen birds dive into the ocean to catch a fish but you probably assumed they came back to the surface in seconds, right?
Then you would have assumed wrong. Some birds have some pretty super adaptations that enable them to relocate from air to sea, without a problem. For example, the Gannet can dive from 100 feet high, survive the impact and swim using its feet and wings at 72 feet under the surface. In the meantime, the fish get pretty confused.
There’s also the dipper bird which got its name from the way it sticks its head into water to look for prey. The bird must think it’s a duck or goose and also a fish when it gets all the way in and takes a swim like it’s no trouble. Sorry nature and sorry evolution but wings just make such good fins these days.
This article was written by Mark Edwards on behalf of www.apnea.co.uk. Mark has travelled all over the world to practice his passions of freediving and spearfishing.