On the edge of discoveries

Prestige issue 122, July 2003

…The wreckage of the mysterious plane


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

Gladiator II of the RAF

Testimonials from father to son. Fishermen from this coastal village speak of a plane shot in the Second World War and turned into a ball of fire, evidence that pass into legend until, more than half a century later, diving off the coast, we found a wreck lying12meters deep. But what is the identity of this mysterious plane?


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

The diver snorkeling proudly grabbed the propeller like a trophy. One more Index: metal propeller blades which replaced wood in the earlier versions of Gladiator.

the enigma remains. This airplane that sank off Lebanon coast, would it be a Gladiator II, the legendary fighter of the Royal Air Force?


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

Jewel of the skies, today refuge for marine life.

Photos: Simon Nadim

…The ghost ship of Batroun


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

The ancient church of Mar Estephan built by sponge fishermen, will witness the drama.

The story of the captain Michel…From this wreck that we explored, we do know one thing: a ship carrying cement quarries of North Lebanon had failed the summer of 1937. A survey was needed, it led us to the Batroun Mina. Our story teller was hired sixty years earlier by cap’tain Michel to dive for this boat. It’s bragging and neglect that were responsible for the tragedy and the death of two sailors. Ironically,  still visible in the seabed overload of five tons of cement…


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

The bow of the boat

A raging sea, a human error. Lives lost and a boat that sits off the coast of northern Lebanon


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

Still visible, cement bags, extra weight without doubt responsible for the tragedy.


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

Device to lift up the anchor.

Photos: Simon Nadim

Saidoun The sunk city

The surprising discovery of Mohamed el Sarji, the remains of an island city off Saïda: would this be the ancient Saidoun?

It’s at the Louvre, on the sarcophagus of the King of the Sidonians eshmounazor…that the investigation begins. The inscription on the basalt sarcophagus discovered in 1855 makes mention of two Sidons one terrestrial and one marine”…We built the temple of the gods, the temple of Astarte in maritime Sidon and we there have installed Astarte Magnificent Sky… “the discovery of a gigantic sculpture by Mohamed el Sarji seems to support the thesis: is it the famous statue of Astarte? In his research, Sarji works with Youssef  Hourani, PhD in History of Civilizations… Question marks remain, shouldn’t official surveys be conducted to shed light on Marine Sidon who defied so many conquerors and rendered to our ancestors, the posthumous recognition they deserve?


© Mohamed el Sarji

Sarcophagus of Sidonian King Eshmounazor. Louvre museum.

  © Mohamed el Sarji

Granite Pillar in the area of the well.

 © Mohamed el Sarji

 The Great Square of the Sunk City. Slab dimensions: 2m x 1m

© Mohamed el Sarji

Is this the statue of the Phoenician goddess Astarte, quoted on the sarcophagus in the Louvre?

Photos: Mohamed el Sarji

The Prompter Submarine

After many dives to the wreck of the French submarine sunk in 1941 by 36 meters deep off Khaldé coast, we resumed its history from the shipyard in Toulon.



 © Prestige / Simon Nadim

The turret of the submarine rooted to the spot. 

The Blower.  This”Shark” model was built between 1924 and1928, 78.25 meters long, 10 torpedo tubes, canon 100m /m, double gun20m /m and speed up to16 knots on the surface. Summer1940 The Vichy government, an ally of Germany, came to power in France. April1941,The Blower commanded by Lieutenant Lejay rushed to Beirut to join the marine division of the Levant. Mission: Monitor the Lebanese and Syrian coasts. June 1941: The British and the forces of Free France against-attack. Between 8 and June 11, the blower is increasing its output against the British destroyers. On June 24, the blower goes out on a mission. This will be its last mission.


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

Sas of the submarine.

Photos: Simon Nadim

Sea turtle in Lebanon: a lesson of survival


© Mohamed el Sarji

Imagine a history dating back 100 million years. The story of an animal that has succeeded where the almighty dinosaurs failed: survive, despite climate changes. Today, the turtle is an endangered species, the first responsible is the man and his destructive hand. The turtle fascinates both for its survival instinct and its autonomy. From birth, it must fend for itself out of the shell, emerge from the nest and move with difficulty to reach the sea braving every danger: wild dogs, crabs, scorching heat of the sun…

The turtle, this unknown risks its life on the beaches of Lebanon.


© Mohamed el Sarji

Auspicious event: in June they returned to nest on our shores


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

Come back of green turtles and loggerhead. We went to photograph the turtles laying eggs with the team of Mohamed el Sarji who spares no effort to protect the environment. To reproduce, it will take the turtle to survive up to 50 years…One surprising fact: females always return to the beach of their birth, at exactly the same place to lay their eggs. They wait for the night, scanning the beach from the water, watching for any sign of danger. Protected by the darkness, the turtle slowly goes up the beach, advancing more than 5meters, to dig its nest by its hind legs. During spawning, it is in a trance. Once finished, it covers its eggs. Then exhausted, it returns in a painful step towards the sea.


© Prestige / Simon Nadim

The female always returns to the scene of its birth, the exact same beach …to lay its eggs.

Photos: Simon Nadim

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