Pictured is what appears to be a maze-like series of trails off Bimini, Bahamas.
DAVID RHEA/GLOBAL UNDERWATER EXP
Florida divers have been hired to find evidence of the Lost Continent of Atlantis near the island of Bimini, Bahamas.
A group of
Florida-based technical divers is poised to try to solve a New
Age/ancient mystery near the island of Bimini, Bahamas, 50 miles off
the South Florida coast.
Gainesville-based Global Underwater
Explorers -- best known for mapping massive underground springs in
North Florida -- has been hired by a Virginia Beach-based non-profit
group to try to uncover evidence of the Lost Continent of Atlantis.
The Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) is devoted to
the teachings of the late Edgar Cayce -- one of America's best-known
Dubbed the ``Sleeping Prophet,'' Cayce
died more than 60 years ago after making predictions both accurate and
otherwise about thousands of topics and events.
Cayce weighed in on a variety of subjects -- everything from
diagnosing medical problems to detailing the effects of El Niño ocean
currents on weather. One of his readings -- rendered while talking in
his sleep -- was that ``Atlantis will rise near Bimini in 1969.''
In 1968, Miamian D.J. Manson Valentine was flying over the Bimini
Islands when he spotted a mysterious, U-shaped stone formation in
shallow water near north Bimini that has since been dubbed the ``Bimini
Road.'' It was first surveyed the following year. For 40 years, A.R.E.
members have been trying to prove the ``road'' might lead to the
discovery of Atlantis.
REMNANTS OF CONTINENT
Cayce's readings described Atlantis as an ancient continent harboring
an advanced civilization stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to
Gibraltar that was destroyed by an unknown catastrophe in 10,000 B.C.
According to Cayce, the Bimini Islands are remnants of a mountain range
where Atlantis' leaders built a temple with a Hall of Records holding
stone tablets that detailed their pre-evolutionary history. Cayce also
said 12,000 gold coins were buried in the inlet that runs between the
North and South Bimini Islands.
No one has found the gold -- or
at least admitted to it. But the A.R.E. is still interested in finding
the Hall of Records, which director John Van Auken believes might be
found in waters deeper than the Bimini Road -- more like 200-300 feet
Van Auken, 63, a lifelong Cayce devotee, hopes the divers from Global Underwater Explorers can unlock the secrets.
Van Auken said the explorers are expected to conduct as many as four
deep-diving missions near Bimini in 2010. Van Auken expects to spend
between $20,000 and $50,000, securing a large mothership as the mission
base for dives using rebreathers, high-definition video and digital
mapping equipment, and possibly a two-person submarine.
[Cayce's] psychic, deep attunement to universal consciousness, he said
one of the key temples with 32 stone tablets is off the coast of Bimini
at the [edge] of the Gulf Stream,'' Van Auken said.
said previous explorations in the area -- some using high-tech methods
such as sub-bottom profiling and side-scan sonar -- have shown
``unnatural features'' that appear to have been constructed by humans.
He is not bothered by the taunts of Atlantis naysayers.
hope this will prove to be a remnant of Atlantis,'' he said. ``With
archaeologists, I don't use the `A-word.' I use `pre-Ice Age culture of
some sophistication.' If you use the A-word, boy, you're
Robert Carmichael, CEO of Brownie's Marine Group, based in Fort
Lauderdale, is one of the leaders of the GUE expedition. While
Carmichael doesn't exactly buy into the Atlantis theory, he and his
colleagues have observed some of the ``unnatural features'' Van Auken
mentioned -- long, curving sandy trails winding through the sides of
steep, underwater cliffs 200 to 300 feet deep that look like mountain
switchback trails or ski runs.''
``It's hard to think that would
be naturally-occurring,'' Carmichael said. ``We need to go down there
and measure the pathways and accurately survey them. There are some
areas that look like terraces. There are buttressed caverns on the
bottom of the wall. When we do have the opportunity to go back there,
we'd like to poke into those caves at 220-300 feet deep to see if
there's something in there.''
ENORMOUS LAND MASS
Carmichael does not dispute the notion that humans could have occupied
Bimini around the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago. During that time
period, he said, with water levels 300 feet lower than now, the Bimini
Islands would have been one enormous land mass. A person standing on
North Bimini back then could look across the Straits of Florida and
``That would cause prehistoric man to build a boat or a canoe and see what's over there,'' he said.
Indeed, native historian Ashley Saunders wrote in his 2006 book,
History of Bimini Volume 2,
that there is evidence the blocks of stone at the Bimini Road are
similar to dry docks or breakwaters found in ancient, drowned
Mediterranean port cities. Saunders called for more exploration and
Van Auken is happy to oblige.
for evidence of human-made features,'' he said. ``It's fine to not
believe it. There are some of us that have this gut feeling and enjoy