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Jules Verne



RACE AGAINST TIME: Jules Verne was 150 years ahead of his time, when he predicted that hydrogen would be the fuel of the future. Herbert George Wells, was a contemporary science fiction writer, who predicted time travel. That will have to wait.






What is 'Inner Space?' You've probably not heard of the term.


But, everyone has heard about Outer-Space.


Humans have evolved to live on land, walk, run and climb hills and trees. That is our natural environment, where we need to breathe air to survive.


We can swim in water; not very well compared to fish and marine mammals, and can only stay submerged for a couple of minutes by holding our breath. But we cannot fly, even though we could breathe.


Both Outer and Inner spaces, are areas where humans cannot breathe naturally. So cannot sustain human life. They are alien to us. But the life beneath the sea sustains life on land reliant on oxygen. Hence, is vital to human survival.


With our intelligence, we have artificially overcome our natural evolutionary barriers, to travel faster over water, and fly at supersonic speeds. We have even escaped our atmosphere into space, and gone to the Moon and back, as Jules Verne predicted. We have also been underwater in submarines, just as in '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' and to the bottom of the ocean in bathyspheres.


And now we use remotely operated unmanned vehicles with cameras and sensors, to explore without breathing apparatus. Enabling us to re-discover wrecks like the Titanic and Ernest Shackleton's 'Endurace,' recently discovered on the 5th March 2022, 107 years after sinking in 10,000 feet of water in the Weddell Sea. 


If the importance of our oceans was taught in schools, as part of an educational curriculum, they may not have become so polluted and acidified as they are today. They may also be better understood and documented.


Ocean awareness, or literacy is not presently high on academic agendas. It is a shocking statistic that we know more about Outer Space, than we do our underwater kingdom. Televised documentary programmes have done a great deal to make life under the waves more popular, highlighting the marine litter problem that is of major concern to marine biologists. With plastic now seen in the remotest corners of the globe and deepest trenches of the ocean.


The ocean has swallowed umpteen civilizations, just the past 10,000 years. We may never discover other lost towns and cities, such as to understand our past, or even explore those we know of, unless the secrets of the ocean are shared. A sample of Lost Civilizations are below:




The legend of Atlantis was created by Plato some 2,300 years ago. Plato claimed that this utopian civilization, that allegedly existed 9,000 years before even his time, was punished by the gods for becoming selfish, greedy, and amoral and thus sunk into the seas. Which sea or ocean is not known, but it most likely be in the Mediterranean or Atlantic - fictionally.



The Yanaguni Monument is Japan’s Atlantis. Steeped in mystery and controversy, off the coast of the Ryukyu Islands there lie strangely even shapes which some scientists believe can only be manmade and point to an ancient civilization submerged some 10,000 years ago. A pyramid-shaped structure, an arch, staircases, and other shapes complete with markings that could be ancient script, have reportedly been identified, all hinting to a lost civilization. Others say that the structures are purely naturally-occurring, not unlike the symmetrical basalt columns found in Iceland or on the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.



The city of Dwarka, or “Gateway to Heaven,” was discovered submerged some 100-feet below the Gulf of Cambay in 1988. Ancient structures, pillars, grids of a city, and ancient artifacts were found. Steeped in mystery, some believe them to be at least 10,000 years old, others say they could be 5,000 years of age, yet others are sure that they date from the Middle Ages. Yet, others claim that in 1473 the Gujarat Sultan Mahmud Begada attacked the city and destroyed the temple of Dwarka. Either way, this is a true underwater city, long lost, full of mystery and legend, and magnificent.



So many underwater complexes allege to be the oldest, but this one seems to have a definite claim to the title. Off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea, lies this Neolithic settlement, thought to be around 8,000 years old. Discovered in 1984, in 30-feet deep water, there are buildings, graves, even the odd skeleton. But the most amazing find must be the seven megaliths arranged in a circle, like an underwater Stonehenge. It is believed that an earthquake and subsequent tsunami resulted in the settlement becoming submerged.




Clepatra @ Thonis-Heracleion, Alexandria, Egypt



CLEOPATRA - This magnificent statue of the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh queen is underwater at Thonis, Alexandria. In fiction, an ocean adventurer thwarts a plot by occultists to digitally reincarnate Cleopatra from her mummy. Cloning and other medical advances, make this theoretically a possibility. Just like Jurassic World. But, you'd need to find the Queen's sarcophagus and hope her DNA was complete enough to even stand a chance of making that happen in the real world.





Long lost Alexandria has just as many legends and mysteries spun around it as Atlantis, but this one is real. And it has been found. And there are two sunken cities for the price of one. Alexandria’s remains lie literally a few feet off the coast, while Thonis-Heracleion rests a little farther off the coast of today’s Alexandria. Both spectacularly well-preserved, considering the ruins are more than 2,000 years old and littered with various shipwrecks, dropped anchors, even lost - and found - gold treasures. Temples and buildings of Thonis-Heracleion were once separated by canals, not unlike Venice, but how and why exactly the city became submerged is still a mystery, save for the earthquake in 365AD and subsequent tsunami. Then again, Venice is sinking.

While Thonis-Heracleion is only accessible for scuba divers, Alexandria’s ruins may one day be on view via the proposed Underwater Archeological Museum of Alexandria.



Another once wicked city submerged underwater. This time it was not pirates that were wicked, but hedonistic Romans that flocked to Baia, dubbed the Las Vegas of ancient Rome, some 18 miles outside of Naples on the Mediterranean coast. Alas, as seems to happen with wicked cities, it sank. Most likely due to the region’s rather active volcanic activities. The 2,000-year-old remains are in superb condition with many intact statues found, together with houses and temples. Most of the city lies at a depth of fewer than 20 feet, and some of it even visible above water. The archaeological park can be explored by donning a snorkel.



Once reportedly the largest city of ancient Greece and the capital of the Bosphoran Kingdom, Phanagoria was founded around 540 B.C. and stretched across the Taman Peninsula in the Black Sea, now part of Russia. A third of the old city is submerged in the waters of the Black Sea, but two-thirds are on land, making for an enormous archaeological site, dry and wet, with new discoveries still being made.



In 1967 an oceanographer discovered what looked like ancient ruins and a year later a survey produced a plan of a prehistoric town thought to be Mycenaean, lying in three to 12 feet of water in the Peloponnese, in south-western Greece. Pavlopteri, named after a nearby settlement, has since been touted as the oldest underwater city, dating to the Bronze Age, and occupied from the third millennium until 1100 B.C. Located steps away from a sandy beach, it is a miracle that it is the good condition it is.



On June 7, 1692, a massive earthquake followed by a tsunami killed 2,000 people and submerged the city of Port Royal in Jamaica. Once called the “wickedest city on earth,” Port Royal was home to real-life pirates of the Caribbean, and the city’s sinking was deemed an act of God. But that did not stop the pirates, who just moved farther up the coast. Today it is deemed to be one of the best-preserved underwater cites in the world, with only a few items having been removed and placed into various museums across Jamaica. You can scuba dive to the sunken city but need special permission from the authorities.

Then there are flooded towns, and shipwrecks bearing lost treasures - the mystery continues.


There are many islands currently under threat of flooding today:














SHICHENG, CHINA - This city was considered to be 1,300 years old and known as the lion city. In 1959 the city was flooded because the government was constructing a dam on the famous Xin’an River. Thus, does not qualify as a natural flooding. The man made flood ended with the Qiandao Lake. Shicheng was constructed in 25-200 AD during the Eastern Hand Dynasty. It’s ancient buildings and other structures are thus adorned with rich Chinese craftsmanship. The city includes 265 memorial arches, 5 gates, paved streets and several stone structures that belong to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Because the diving routes aren’t fully mapped, only trained divers are permitted to visit.







Cabo Verde, Republic of

The islands of Cabo Verde in the Atlantic Ocean, also known as Cape Verde, are the result of volcanic activity that happened between eight and 20 million years ago. Located about 373 miles from western Africa, the ten Cabo Verde islands are inhabited by people of African and Portuguese descent, many of whom live along the water.

There are nearly 600 miles of coastline in this archipelago. Flash floods, tropical cyclones, and torrential rains threaten Cabo Verde. Due to this country's vulnerability to disasters, population density around the coastlines, and limited emergency preparedness, this nation is in danger as seas rise and the planet warms.


Carteret Islands

The Carteret Islands of Papua New Guinea, located in the South Pacific, are also called the Kilinailau Islands. This atoll is made up of five low-lying islands scattered in a 19 mile-long horseshoe shape. The highest elevation is close to five feet above sea level and these islands are pummeled by the ocean's waves. Researchers estimate that the landmass of the Carteret Islands is less than 40% of what it used to be; the people of Carteret are often called climate refugees because they have been made to leave their homes for higher ground, many fleeing the islands entirely. Some have resettled on nearby Bougainville Island.


Fiji, Republic of

A roughly 11,392-square-mile island nation in the South Pacific, Fiji also faces many challenges. While its larger islands feature towering mountains, the low regions of Fiji's 330 islands experience a brutal wet season that brings tropical storms and flooding. The coasts are at the greatest risk and are also the most densely populated. When Cyclone Winston made landfall in 2016, it forced an estimated 76,000 to evacuate to higher ground. Climate change is expected to dramatically increase wet and dry extremes in the coming years, and this could prove devastating for the coasts of Fjij.



This is an island with a coastline length of 1,738 miles with the highest elevation being 3,415 ft above the sea levels. Each and every year, the rate at which the sea levels are rising is increasing. The two main reasons given to this trend emanate from global warming. One is expansion of water due to sea warming and the other is massive melting of land ice. Some of the adverse effects of the rising sea levels to the country include; flooding, poor water quality, and adverse effects on fishes which are sensitive to changes in temperature.



About 65,000 people in Hawaii live within the 100-year coastal floodplain; by 2050, the the state faces the greatest percentage increase in coastal flooding threat of any state. Even though the state has recognized the risk climate change poses for coastal flooding, it has not yet put adaptation plans in place. By 2050, an additional 152,000 people are projected to be at risk due to sea level rise.


Japan is an island country in East Asia consisting of over 6,852 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The country is facing rising sea levels caused by global warming. It is estimated that a two degrees Celsius increase in the global temperature will submerge an area occupied by over 18 million people while if the increase reaches 4 degrees Celsius, more than 34 million people will be left homeless in the country. The country’s largest city which is also the capital, Tokyo, is also likely to become swampy if the rate of the rising sea levels is not checked.



Kiribati is an Island country in the Pacific Ocean consisting of 33 atolls and one solitary island. There are four groups of islands, namely the Banaba, Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands, and the Line Islands. In 1999, two islands which were not inhabited were submerged in water after the heavy El Nino downpour. The United Nations has predicted a sea level rise of about 20 inches by the year 2100. This will make the bulk of arable land in Kiribati far too saline. A huge chunk will also be submerged. Although the risk of the entire country being submerged is low, there is a huge risk of cyclones stripping the low-lying island of their vegetation and structures.



The Maldives is an island archipelago in the Indian Ocean atop of a vast submarine mountain range. It has an average ground level of 4 ft above the sea level, making it the world’s lowest country. The highest point in the island is only 7 feet above the sea level. There are about 1100 corals islands which are groups in a double chain of 26 atolls which are spread over 35,000 square miles. This makes it the most dispersed country in the world. Maldives is ranked as one of the most endangered countries in the world due to rising sea levels and flooding brought about by climate change. According to the Maldivian president, if carbon emissions continue at the prevailing rate, the country will be under water by the year 2020. There are plans by the Maldivian government to purchase land in India, Sri Lanka, and Australia to relocate the population which will be affected by the rising sea levels.


Marshall Islands, Republic of the

1,225 islands spread over 29 coral atolls make up the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Most of them are less than seven feet above sea level and few are more than a mile wide. If the sea levels rise just 3.3 feet more, many of the Marshall Islands will be lost. For example, Roi-Namur of the Kwajalein Atoll will probably be almost completely flooded by no later than 2070. The Marshall Islands are working to combat rising seas by revamping their infrastructure and creating safeguards against flooding, but this nation, like the others on this list, is facing an uphill battle.







Micronesia, Federated States of

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in the Pacific Ocean consists of 607 islands containing both mountains and low-lying coral atolls. These islands are grouped into the states Kosrae, Chuuk, Yap, and Pohnpei. The FSM is not to be confused with Micronesia, a region west of Polynesia and north of Melanesia that includes Kiribati and Palau. The FSM has an area of roughly 271 square miles, but its islands are spread across 1,700 miles—and many are sinking. A 2017 study by the Journal of Coastal Conservation found evidence of severe coastal erosion throughout the FSM that can be traced to rising sea levels.



Palau is an archipelago of over 700 islands located in the Pacific Ocean. Traditionally, the people of Palau have learnt to live with the sea and depended on it economically and socially. However, in the recent past, the sea has covered parts of these tiny islands which has caused panic to the inhabitants. Increasing temperature of sea water also leads to massive coral bleaching and thus the country lost about 30% of its corals. The rising sea levels have also affected vegetation and agriculture in the area as sea water now occupies more land mass.


Sarichef Island

Sarichef Island is a small stretch of land off the coast of northwestern Alaska, a U.S. state that is growing warmer at a rate two times faster than the rest of the world.20

Consisting of the village Shishmaref and an airport, there is little space to move around, but many have no choice. In 2016, the Inuit villagers of Shishmaref voted to relocate their ancestral home. Every year, more Sarichef residents are forced to do the same as global warming and glacial melting accelerate sea-level rise. Between 1985 and 2015, as much as 3,000 feet of Sarichef land eroded away.



Seychelles is made up of 155 islands in the Indian Ocean on the east coast of Africa. The majority of the highlands are not inhabited. 98% of the total population inhabit only 54 of the islands. The pace of rising sea levels in Seychelles has been unprecedented in the past hundred years. The sea has risen by seven inches which is about 10 times the average in the past 10 years alone. These developments have massive impacts on the economy of the country since about 85% of economic activities occur along the coastline. With the increased erosion along the beaches, tourism is likely to be negatively affected. 

An archipelago comprised of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is a biodiverse and naturally beautiful East African country. Roughly half of this nation is made up of nature reserves and parks and Seychelles is home to the Aldabra Atoll, one of the largest coral atolls in the world. Unfortunately, climate change and ocean acidification have worn away coral reefs and put Seychelles' densely populated and developed coastlines at risk. Between roughly 1914 and 2014, the sea level of Seychelles rose about 7.9 inches. If the sea level were to rise 3.3 feet more, about three-quarters of Seychelles would be submerged.

Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands is made up of six major islands and more than a thousand smaller islands. The islands are low-lying which makes them vulnerable to the ever-rising sea levels. At least five of these islands have been reported to have been lost completely due to the rising sea levels. Another island, Nuatambu Island, has lost more than 50% of its area to the sea leaving more than 15 families homeless. Many families have been forced to relocate to higher grounds inland or even to other islands in severe cases.


Tangier Island

Located in the Chesapeake Bay, Tangier Island is a small atoll off the coast of mainland Virginia. This island has lost 65% of its landmass since 1850, and some of the roughly 700 residents are being displaced as their homes flood with seawater. Many islands in the Chesapeake Bay have already started disappearing as sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay rise at an average rate of 0.16 inches annually. Coastal regions of the Bay and tiny islands like Tangier don't have long before they are likely to be underwater; scientists believe Tangier may drown by 2050.


Torres Strait Islands

The Torres Strait Islands are 274 islands in the strait between Australia's Cape York Peninsula and New Guinea. 17 of these islands are inhabited by about 4,500 islanders in total. Every year, the sea level rises up to 0.3 inches in the Torres Strait and the ocean grows warmer. Many marine species living around the Torres Strait Islands are being negatively affected by ocean acidification and increased temperatures, and the clean water reservoirs on the islands are likely to be inundated with seawater as the planet warms and wet seasons grow more intense. Coastal erosion is a pressing issue as well.



Tuvalu is an island country comprising of nine islands (atolls) in the Pacific Ocean. The rising sea levels are of a great concern as the islands are low lying at an average of 6.6 ft above the sea level. The highest point of the country is a mere 15ft above the sea level. The University of Hawaii tracked sea levels in the nation for 23 years, a project that began in 1978.Their study showed a rise of 1.2 mm annually. Gradual sea rise has no real threat to coral highlands since they are also growing. However, if the sea rises faster than the growth of the reefs, a real threat to the islands is posed. Tropical cyclones also pose a great danger to the citizens of Tuvalu. That was the impassioned plea from Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, Kausea Natano to world leaders attending the COP26 in Glasgow.







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