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#15442 - 11/20/02 02:51 AM In Cuban Depths, Landbridge Linked to Yucatan, Atlantis, Belize?
Marty Offline
Mysterious stones off coast of Cuba spur speculation
Some believe they're fragments from the legendary lost city of Atlantis
<mailto:chronfeedback@sfchronicle.com>Kevin Sullivan, Washington Post 43c461ab.jpg Saturday, October 12, 2002 43c461da.jpg

Havana -- The images appear slowly on the video screen, like ghosts from the ocean floor. The videotape, made by an unmanned submarine, shows massive stones in oddly symmetrical square and pyramid shapes in the deep-sea darkness. Sonar images taken from a research ship 2,000 feet above are even more puzzling. They show that the smooth, white stones are laid out in a geometric pattern. The images look like fragments of a city, in a place where nothing man-made should exist, spanning nearly eight square miles of a deep-ocean plain off Cuba's western tip. "What we have here is a mystery," said Paul Weinzweig, of Advanced Digital Communications, a Canadian company that is mapping the ocean bottom of Cuba's territorial waters under contract with the government of President Fidel Castro. "Nature couldn't have built anything so symmetrical," Weinzweig said, running his finger over sonar printouts aboard his ship, tied up at a wharf in Havana harbor. "This isn't natural, but we don't know what it is." The company's main mission is to hunt for shipwrecks filled with gold and jewels, and to locate potentially lucrative oil and natural gas reserves in deep water that Cuba does not have the means to explore. Treasure hunting has become a growth industry in recent years as technology has improved, allowing more precise exploration and easier recovery from deeper ocean sites. Advanced Digital operates from the Ulises, a 260-foot trawler that was converted to a research vessel for Castro's government by the late French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Since they began exploration three years ago with sophisticated side-scan sonar and computerized global-positioning equipment, Weinzweig said they have mapped several large oil and gas deposits and about 20 shipwrecks sitting beneath ancient shipping lanes where hundreds of old wrecks are believed to be resting. The most historically important so far has been the U.S. battleship Maine, which exploded and sank in Havana harbor in 1898, an event that ignited the Spanish-American War. In 1912, the ship was raised from the harbor floor by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and towed out into deeper water four miles from the Cuban shore, where it was scuttled. Strong currents carried the Maine away from the site, and its precise location remained unknown until Ulises' sonar spotted it two years ago. Then, by sheer serendipity, on a summer day in 2000, as the Ulises was towing its sonar back and forth across the ocean like someone mowing a lawn, the unexpected rock formations appeared on the sonar readouts. That startled Weinzweig and his partner and wife, Paulina Zelitsky, a Russian-born engineer who has designed submarine bases for the Soviet military. "We have looked at enormous amounts of ocean bottom, and we have never seen anything like this," Weinzweig said. The discovery immediately sparked speculation about Atlantis, the fabled lost city first described by Plato.
George Erikson , Coauthor of Atlantis In America: Navigators of the Ancient World

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#15443 - 11/20/02 06:50 AM Re: In Cuban Depths, Landbridge Linked to Yucatan, Atlantis, Belize?
chevin Offline
Where can I find more info about this? Was this published in a journal?

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#15444 - 11/25/02 07:01 AM Re: In Cuban Depths, Landbridge Linked to Yucatan, Atlantis, Belize?
Marty Offline
Saturday, 23 November, 2002, 12:12 GMT
Hunting for Cuba's hidden treasure
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/from_our_own_correspondent/2503019.stm

There are many shipwrecks around the coast of Cuba

By Malcolm Billings
In Havana

There is a 16th Century fort at the entrance to Havana harbour that is packed with treasure from wrecked galleons. It is Havana's newest museum, opened this year.

The display cases are full of wonderful things: Exquisite jewellery made from emeralds and gold; an intricate gold chain that could have been made for a Spanish princess; stacks of gold and silver bullion and personal items such as rings, plates and pewter mugs that must have belonged to the crew of unfortunate vessels.


It is the first-ever deep water survey to be carried out in Cuba

There is a concentration of wrecks around the coast of Cuba - estimates vary but there are hundreds, if not thousands - because the harbour at Havana was the gathering place for the Spanish silver fleets.

The galleons laden with treasure from Mexico and other Spanish possessions assembled once a year and then sailed back to Spain in armed convoy.

The curator of the maritime museum believes that some of the jewellery came from the Philippines - Spain's colony in the Far East.

Mexican gold and gem stones were sent all the way to Manila to be made into high class jewellery.

Then the products would come back to the Pacific coast of Central America, overland through Mexico or across the Isthmus of Panama and on to Havana.

Finding and excavating the wrecks in shallow water has been going on for years, but the real goodies, according to Paulina Zelitsky, lie undisturbed on the sea bed at the depth of about half a mile.

Paulina, who once worked as an off-shore engineer at a Russian submarine base in Cuba, is now president of a Canadian company, Advanced Digital Communications, which has the exploration contract.

There could be an absolute fortune down there: gold and silver worth thousands of millions of pounds lying on the bottom of the Caribbean


''We locate objects on the sea bed with a side-scan sonar device which we tow along behind our salvage ship,'' she explained.

"When something shows up on the screen we send down a remotely operated underwater vehicle to investigate. This has cameras and lights and the pictures are relayed to the deck of the research vessel."

The wrecks show up quite well because at that depth they are not encrusted with coral. Ships' planking survives and there are always ballast stones along with a lot of pottery.

Somewhere among all that they can be sure of coins, gold and silver bullion and objects made of metal of various kinds.

One of the wrecks they have identified could be a jackpot of a cargo.

They have been looking for a special ship. It is one of the earliest wrecks dating from the beginning of Spanish colonisation and disappeared with a huge cargo of gold and silver along with gems and cultural objects specially collected to show the king of Spain the extent of the wealth of the New World.

New equipment

Their existing equipment has identified the site but the salvage team is waiting for new equipment now being designed to work on the sea bed for months at a time.

Paulina described it as looking like a giant scorpion that clanks its way around the sea bed and is able to negotiate outcrops of rock and gullies using its six legs and a set of wheels.


Like a scorpion, this new vehicle will have a long tail or arm that can lift and dig. And it will be a more precise operation. All its functions will be controlled by someone in a miniature submarine who can see exactly what's going on.

Millions of pounds have been invested in this deep sea project, and as yet nothing has been raised.

Is it all worth it I wondered? Are there enough wrecks with treasure that is recoverable to make it worthwhile?

Paulina produced some stunning statistics. Although the new museum has cases full of treasure Paulina believes that only about 2% of everything that was lost has been recorded so far.

That means, she said, there could be an absolute fortune down there: gold and silver worth thousands of millions of pounds lying on the bottom of the Caribbean.

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#15445 - 11/30/05 05:06 PM Re: In Cuban Depths, Landbridge Linked to Yucatan, Atlantis, Belize?
Sir Isaac Newton Offline
way cool!
_________________________
Check out my site: www.ambergriscayerealestate.net

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#15446 - 12/20/05 07:04 AM Re: In Cuban Depths, Landbridge Linked to Yucatan, Atlantis, Belize?
lacysbeach Offline
To think there might be something down there worth millions, doesn't it make for a great story, at the least!! Give Mel Fisher a run for the $$.

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#15447 - 12/20/05 11:19 AM Re: In Cuban Depths, Landbridge Linked to Yucatan, Atlantis, Belize?
Now Danny Offline
Good story, thanks for sharing.

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#15448 - 12/22/05 03:22 AM Re: In Cuban Depths, Landbridge Linked to Yucatan, Atlantis, Belize?
boatingman Offline
great story...makes you want to become a treasure hunter. Atleast for a couple of days, right??

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