Monday, July 22, 2013

Underwater Cemetery

Okay, you want weird? I'll give you weird. Off the coast of Key Biscayne, if you go scuba-diving at just the right point, you'll be presented with the baffling sight of what at first glance might appear an Atlantis-style "lost civilization", with elaborate statues, paved paths, and a pair of grand insect-wing-like opening gates to this mystery city.

So what is it? It's an underwater cemetery. And though it may look ancient, it's actually quite new. Is it, as with the cemeteries at the bottom of two Kentucky lakes, a pre-existing graveyard that somehow became submerged after the fact? Nope, it was deliberately placed on the ocean floor.

It's the Neptune Memorial Reef, started up by some wacky folks called The Neptune Society who spent years finagling with permits and bureaucracy to fulfill their dream of setting up a cemetery at the bottom of the ocean that could be seen by almost essentially nobody.

But wait, it gets weirder: the cemetery really is intended to be an artificial reef, and reef-building coral have already taken root and started to form there. But doesn't that mean that eventually all this beautiful stuff will be completely covered up? Even now, like a shipwreck, the normal expected amount of surface encrustation with undersea gunk is already taking place. Plaques down there are already becoming unreadable.

And weirder still: in a first for any cemetery above or below the ocean, the bodies aren't just buried here, nossir. They're cremated, and the ashes are mixed with the cement that forms the whole shebang.

I'm not much on diving, so I probably won't be checking out this place anytime soon, unless they open an underwater saloon where drunks get in underwater fist-fights like in Val Kilmer's Top Secret and have underwater duels and send each other to the underwater cemetery next door.

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