The ocean is full of treasures, and teams of divers spend their lives uncovering the mysteries. One such organization is the Ocean X dive team who explores the Baltic sea and its wrecks.
In 1997, they found thousands of bottles of vintage champagne. Then, in 2012, a weird large mass. And finally, in 2014, a sunken Swedish cargo ship containing 900 bottles of a rare substance. The only thing is, the team wasn't ready to learn the history behind the vessel; are you?
Ocean X Divers Are No Strangers To The Mysteries Of The Sea
The diving team of Ocean X is no stranger to the mysteries of the sea. They are truly modern-day treasure hunters, after all! They're used to dragging things up from the bottom of the ocean only to discover they've located something completely extraordinary.
With a mission statement saying that their goal is to "explore the ocean and bring it back to the world," you better believe that's exactly what they do.
Back in 1997, They Found Vintage Champagne
The Ocean X team has plenty of experience finding weird and fantastic objects on the seafloor. So when they stumbled upon 3,000 bottles of vintage champagne that had been bound for Russia, they didn't really think much of it. What're a few thousand bottles on the ocean floor compared to other findings?
Regardless if they were interested in their find or not, one question still remained. What were they going to do with the 2,000 out of 3,000 bottles they were able to salvage?
Maritime Salvage Law
Under Maritime Salvage law, the divers were able to bring the bottles up from the ocean floor as a reward. According to Bluestone Law Firm, this is because they are considered "professional salvagers," or people "who perform their services for monetary gain - [and may] claim salvage awards."
So, the divers decided to see how much they could get for the 2,000 bottles at auction. And when the time came, the price per bottle blew their minds.
Each Bottle Was Worth A Few Grand
You can imagine the shock of the divers when they found out the price per bottle. It was an astounding five to ten grand each! The Ocean X team couldn't believe their ears. They had stumbled across a gold mine on the ocean floor.
It was an impressive discovery all around. But the mystery of the bottles was just the beginning. A few years later, the team came across something new that was about to blow them out of the water.
There Was A Mysterious Mass Under The Water
Years later, in 2012, the team detected something new on the ocean floor: a large mass. Thanks to their upgraded sonar technology, they were able to get an image of the mass. But they had no clue what they were looking at.
But the grainy image was still making the team do a double-take. What on Earth could be that large and just sitting by itself on the seafloor? It was time to do some investigating.
The Divers Determined That The Mass Was Man-Made
Upon further inspection, the team concluded that the mass was man-made. They were making out stairs and ramps in the grainy picture, features that more than likely weren't naturally formed.
Now, it was all about figuring out what the structure could possibly be. Some of the team's theories were just downright creepy. But at the end of the day, no one could make heads or tails of the large mass sitting on the bottom of the ocean.
They Began To Study Kyros
Some thought the mass was a UFO, while others thought it was the opening to another dimension. All in all, the team knew they made a groundbreaking discovery. With the encouragement of more findings, the team continued to salvage the seas.
That's when they began to study Kyros, A Swedish cargo ship that sunk in the Baltic in 1917 by a German U-Boat. The Ocean X team had no clue what they were about to find.
Kyros Was A Mystery
Ironically, explorers spotted Kyros a few years back, in 1999, only a few years after the discovery of the bottles of vintage champagne. But then something mysterious happened -- the cargo ship disappeared.
It wasn't until years later, in 2014, that the Ocean X dive team relocated the vessel and began their exploration into what happened during the time of the sinking. They never imagined what they were about to find on board the ship, though.
They Sent An Underwater Drone Down To Explore
Without wasting any time, the team sent down waterproof drones to explore the ship that sunk in 1917. They had no clue what would be pulled to the surface if anything. Shockingly, the crew wound up finding 900 bottles of rare liquor!
There were 15 cases of the herbal liqueur Benedictine, and 50 cases of cognac brandy. It looks like the team has an affinity for finding old adult beverages on the bottom of the ocean!
The Cases Might Have Been Destined For Royalty
As it turns out, the only reason Germany sunk the Swedish ship was because its destination was Russia, their then-enemy. Many believe that the 900 bottles actually had a specific destination, and not just to some warehouse for distribution.
No, those bottles were meant for Russian Aristocracy and might have even been the personal shipment for Czar Nicholas II. Now, only one more question remained: was the liquid safe to drink after all these years?
Some Of The Bottles Were In Perfect Condition
The Ocean X team brought all 900 bottles to scientists to test. Due to the pressure of being underwater, some of the bottle's corks were pushed in far, allowing sentiment to make its way into the liquid.
Then there were other bottles in practically perfect condition! Now the question was, how much would the pristine bottles go for at an auction? These bottles are a part of imperial Russia's history, after all, something the team still couldn't believe.
One Potent Bottle Is Worth Millions
Since the Ocean X team had experience dealing with old liquor bottles at auction, they thought the payout would be similar to that in 1997 with the vintage champagne. They were very wrong.
At an auction, if a bottle of rare liquor is still potent, it can run upwards to one million dollars! Not too bad for something that was all but lost on the seafloor! It looks like pulling history out of the ocean does pay.
Then Again, It's A Rare Brand
Even though the intact bottles are thought to be worth millions, the truth is, no one knows for sure. While the bottles containing the Benedictine, a brand now owned by Bacardi, the cognac brand De Haartman & Co., is no longer made.
During an interview with Wine Spectator, Peter Lindberg from Ocean X said, "I don't know yet if the collectors would like to buy vintage cognac of a known brand, or is it worth more or less because it is unknown?"
The Team Was Just Scratching The Surface
During the same Wine Spectator interview, Lindberg said, "Kyros is probably one of the most, if not the most, extreme wrecks in the world to salvage. It has been a very complicated and dangerous operation due to the bad visibility and the depth of 252 feet."
But that hasn't stopped the highly-skilled dive team from uncovering some fascinating history alongside the cases of liquor. They were just scratching the surface.
The Swedish Sailors Left More Than Bottles Onboard
Even though Sweden was neutral in 1917, Germany and Russia were at odds with one another. With German forces under orders to sink any foreign ship sailing into Russian waters, Kyros was bound to go under sooner or later.
Even so, it's been said that German soldiers actually let the Swedish sailors off the ship and allowed them to return home. The thing is, they left behind more than bottles of rare liquor in their hasty escape.
They Found More In The Ship
The 900 bottles weren't the only piece of history left on the Kyros when the Swedish sailors retreated. The Ocean X team also discovered some things that could place the cargo ship as allies of the Russian war effort!
In the ship, they found machine parts and steel, possible evidence pointing towards Swedish aid to Russian forces. But that's not the craziest part. The team was about to uncover something even more amazing in the sunken cargo ship.
They Were Smuggling Illegal Contraband
The Ocean X dive team had already found 900 rare liquor bottles and steel and machinery. To them, it looked as though this neutral Swedish crew wasn't all that neutral in 1917. Then, they found something totally unexpected.
Something even more amazing than the machinery and steel was a German pistol and a bullet. It was clear that Kyro was smuggling illegal contraband into Russia. If the team had to guess, the crew was definitely trying to help out the Russian war effort.
This Isn't The End For The Ocean X Team
According to the Ocean X dive team, the liquor salvaged from the cargo ship is most likely that last haul on the Baltic Sea's floor. So, with the 2,000 bottles of champagne they auctioned off, along with the 900 bottles of liquor, the team made out pretty well!
Even though they found what they believe to be the last adult beverages on the ocean floor, that doesn't mean there aren't other treasures to be found!
Fabergé Eggs Belonging To Nicholas II
The Ocean X dive team officially cleared the Baltic Sea of any liquor. Now, their mission is to retrieve something a bit different. This time, they are researching a collection of Fabergé eggs that belonged to none other than Czar Nicholas II.
If they are able to uncover the lost artifacts, it would be a huge accomplishment for the maritime treasure hunters. But the sea is a huge mystery, so it will take some time and research before they stumble across anything.
Back To The 2012 Mystery Of The Large Mass
In the meantime, they are tackling the mystery that took place back in 2012: the large mass they found on the ocean floor now known as the Baltic Sea Anomaly. They're still unsure what it could possibly be, but the team is hoping for a breakthrough sometime in the near future.
During an interview, Lindberg said, "This summer, we found new strange things out there, which make us believe that it might have been a very early settlement."