Oceans of Wonder: 30 Unbelievable Underwater Discoveries

By Jack Ripley | April 9, 2024

Debris From Apollo 11

The sea holds a trove of treasures and secrets, but some are still awaiting discovery. While some underwater discoveries are expected, like the remnants of a sunken ship, others turn out to be mysterious yet wondrous surprises. From shipwrecks of the Great Lakes to aircraft recoveries of the world's oceans and underwater cities to long-hidden treasures, there's no telling what the oceans and seas of the world will reveal next. Check out some of the most fascinating yet eerie underwater discoveries in history.

test article image
Space.com

In a truly first-world feat, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos found and recovered the Apollo 11 debris pictured here. These tremendous engines, which were long thought to be lost to history, were recovered in March 2013. This picture shows one of the rocket launchers that successfully catapulted Apollo 11. This mission was the first spaceflight to land humans on the moon, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

The mission's main goal was President John F. Kennedy’s desire for the United States to be the first country to orbit the moon and safely return to Earth. The true goal, however, was to beat the Soviet Union to the punch, and that America did. Just as the Apollo 11 mission set out to write history, so too did Bezos and his team by recovering this long-discarded debris.

Italy’s Christ of the Abyss

test article image
Getty Images

This bronze statue was molded by Italian sculptor Guido Galletti. Created to be placed underwater, the famed statue resides in the Mediterranean Sea off San Fruttuoso. Christ of the Abyss was crafted to commemorate Dario Gonazatti, the first Italian to utilize scuba gear, near the site where he died underwater in 1947.

The statue depicts Jesus Christ with arms outstretched skyward in a show of peace and benediction. Though the salt water, passing ships, and sea growth have damaged the statue, it was removed for restoration in 2003 and promptly replaced in the sea. Two replicas, made from the same cast as Christ of the Abyss, were subsequently placed in Granada, along the coast of St. George, and the other in the National Marine Sanctuary on the coast of Key Largo, Florida. Each of the three statues can be explored when scuba diving or snorkeling.