Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Atlantis of the East? No, it is a theme park

When the remains of an ancient underwater city were photographed off the coast of Bali, the Indonesian government hailed it as a potentially "phenomenal" discovery.

Mystical statues of the gods, their faces covered in gorgonian fans, stood rooted to the ocean floor behind an ornate temple gateway 100 feet below sea level.
The undersea archaeological department of the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced an investigation as rumours quickly circulated of 10 more such temples in the strait between Java and Bali. Excited local media speculated that an Atlantis of the East had been found.

Unfortunately, hopes of a groundbreaking discovery have been sunk. The city turns out to be an underwater theme park built by a British diver to entertain his customers.
Paul Turley, 43, "sank" the city in 2005 as an underwater attraction for visitors to his dive school in Pemuteran, north west Bali. He and an Australian colleague, Chris Brown, also aimed to highlight the importance of marine conservation.
Divers who visit the temple garden then make a donation to the Reef Gardeners project, where unemployed local fishermen are trained to maintain the corals close to the temple garden.

“We sank the temple garden as a fun idea and to do something different and the people that have dived it have loved it. Perhaps our publicity wasn’t good enough as no-one knew about it, but now I guess another great mystery has been solved.”

1 comment:

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