Maritime history buffs and pirate wannabes rejoice: there’s a new feature in the Google Earth ocean layer that would make Captain Hook and Long John Silver proud.
Of the millions of shipwrecks lying on the ocean floor, relatively few are the high-profile ones such as the RMS Titanic or the Lusitania. In fact, most shipwrecks are either smaller boats, sunken vessels, or ships that have been abandoned.
These smaller ships generally have few valuable historical treasures on board or are in an advanced state of decay. Single-mast sloops from the days when the pirates of the Caribbean plundered European merchant ships and modern fishing vessels are good examples.
In collaboration with Shipwreck Central, Google Earth now features an undersea peek at some of the higher-profile shipwrecks around the world including paddlewheel steamers, cargo ships, slave boats, and passenger vessels.
Thar She Blows!
I first began my shipwreck adventure by selecting Layers > Primary Database > Ocean > Shipwrecks. Double-clicking Shipwrecks flew me due south of the Mediterranean island of Malta and dove me into the water right next to the remains of the HMS Maori.
After clicking the little shipwreck icon, a popup displayed with with an embedded video and some background information on the Maori shipwreck. The video was quite literally immersive, causing me to believe I was being led by Jacques Cousteau on yet another fascinating journey under the sea.
It turns out that the Maori was a British destroyer sunk in 1942 in the midst of battle during World War II.
Clicking Learn more… launched a new window in my browser and took me to Shipwreck Central’s vessel profile page for the Maori. It was fascinating to learn that the ship was built in 1936 in Gowan, Scotland and put into service on September 2, 1937. The vessel had a very short life.
Going back to the popup for the Maori in Google Earth, three other links were placed along the bottom of the popup.
Clicking ShipwreckCentral.com launched a new window in my browser and took me to Shipwreck Central’s home page.
Live from the Dive brought me to Shipwreck Central’s informative Shipwrecks, Diving, and Underwater Archaeology blog.
Community brought me to an active chat forum for shipwreck enthusiasts.
The Maori is one of dozens of shipwrecks to be discovered in the new Google Earth Ocean layer. So don your pirate’s hat, put on that wooden peg leg, and explore the vast reaches of maritime history under the sea.