Mystical statues of the gods, their faces covered in gorgonian fans, stood rooted to the ocean floor behind an ornate temple gateway 100 feet below sea level.
The undersea archaeological department of the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced an investigation as rumours quickly circulated of 10 more such temples in the strait between Java and Bali. Excited local media speculated that an Atlantis of the East had been found.
Unfortunately, hopes of a groundbreaking discovery have been sunk. The city turns out to be an underwater theme park built by a British diver to entertain his customers.
Paul Turley, 43, “sank” the city in 2005 as an underwater attraction for visitors to his dive school in Pemuteran, north west Bali. He and an Australian colleague, Chris Brown, also aimed to highlight the importance of marine conservation.
Divers who visit the temple garden then make a donation to the Reef Gardeners project, where unemployed local fishermen are trained to maintain the corals close to the temple garden.