Abandoned WWII Planes Become Beautiful Sanctuaries for Vibrant Ocean Life

At the bottom of the sea lie incredible and unexpected sanctuaries for ocean life that were once fighter planes used during World War II. Photographer Brandi Mueller dove down to document these unusual, underwater habitats. Located near the Marshall Islands, this “aircraft graveyard” is home to more than 150 once-intact warplanes, including F4U Corsairs, Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers, F4F Wildcats, and B-25 Mitchells.

So, how did these aircrafts find their way to the bottom of the ocean? It's not because they were damaged in combat, but rather, because of logistical issues. The planes were in perfect condition, but it would've cost more to transport them back to the United States than to submerge them below the sea.

After being underwater for 70 years, the planes have deteriorated and become a place for beautiful, vibrant ocean life. Their metal surfaces have transformed into colorful living statues, and Mueller's photographs showcase schools of fish, algae, and coral reclaiming the manmade aircrafts, dwelling within their crevices.

For the photographer, it's a surreal experience to encounter these once-pristine planes. “Diving on shipwrecks seems normal,” Mueller told Daily Mail, “you expect ships to have sunk. But seeing planes underwater is strange, planes don't belong in the water, they belong in the sky, so it feels weird to dive on them.”

Brandi Mueller: Website
via [Lost At E Minor, Laughing Squid]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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