Brandi Mueller loves scuba diving the deep blue sea and photography. She has taken her passions and turned them into a career that has made her notable across the globe. Her underwater discovery and subsequent photos have revealed something unknown about the ocean and history.
Underwater photography takes bravery, patience, and knowledge. Brandi’s work speaks for itself. She has proven to have the endurance to capture images in the deep sea under questionable circumstances and the creativity to do interesting things with cameras in the shallows as well.
Brandi has earned several credentials and accolades including Dive Photographer of the Week for her work with Manta Rays at DPG, and Photographer of the Week at Underwater 360 for many of her creative works. She thinks outside the box when it comes to photography and the experts have taken notice.
She has made a name for herself because of her creativity and awesome nature shots like a proud papa fish and his plethora of fry and this shot of a jelly fish from below. Her ocean shots inspire aw even from the experts.
Her photos come together from a combination of hard work that includes experience from the time she turned 15 and discovered underwater photography, timing, and a great deal of time spent underwater. Her experience in the coast guard and as a dive instructor make her ideal for capturing these perfectly timed images.
While her talent put her on the map, her discovery and subsequent photo-journal from the Marshal Islands has turned the heads of historians everywhere. The photo shoot was haunting a moments, a surreal occasionally according to Brandi.
Her discovery may have been overlooked for years because items on the sea floor are not uncommon. In fact, sometimes items are placed intentionally to make habitats for reefs and reef dwelling sea creatures. The USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, a retired U.S. Navy warship was intentionally sunk near Key West. It has rested on the sea floor as a natural habitat since.
Brandi found what appeared to be an airplane graveyard in the Marshall Islands. But airplanes are not typically found on the sea floor in groups. An airplane on the ocean floor typically is tied to a wreck. As she searched and documented the find she discovered much more than she expected.
More exploring slowly revealed airplane after airplane, totaling 150. Her discovery raised a lot of questions. Did these planes all get shot down during the war, long ago? Why are there so many in one area? It was a perplexing mystery.
All of these airplanes became even more mysterious once it was discovered that many of them were in good shape (considering their years on the ocean floor). If they are all shot down, where were the holes? The idea of them being part of the war was not off base, after all the location was a hotspot in World War 2.
The truth behind the airplanes is nothing short of perplexing to today’s generation of recyclers. Even the mantra in the Depression era of “Use it up, wear it out, make it due, or do without” contradicts the find. However, it may come as good news to those who worry that the site is a place of a mass take down by Axis powers. The truth is disturbing but it is not tragic.
The airplanes are from the the 1930s and were made to be used in the war. Models include the Dauntless dive bombers, F4U Corsairs, and TBF/TBM Avengers. The majority of the planes were Dauntless dive bombers.
The original story of the deep sea airplane graveyard starts with the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, a faster more efficient model of plane. While some of the scraped models were perfectly fine, this plan was made to win wars and make history. Every advantage gained by the Helldiver may mean another soldier that made it home to their family.
When this newer faster model was released, the older models, while still air worthy, were not considered war worthy any more. So they were eventually sent to a watery grave, all 150 of them!
The war came to a head at the Marshall Islands in and the new planes surely had much to do with the win. However, the need to discard the older ones right there in the middle of the ocean can be debated.
These soldiers, posing with a Hellcat were relieved for every gain in speed that came with the new aircraft. Sometimes in war, you have to do what you have to do and the underwater graveyard it a testament of this.
All the extra planes were dumped after the war, right there in the ocean that the liner floated upon. There must have been a pilot or two on board thinking woefully to themselves that they could put these discarded airplanes to much better use! With the shortage of metals during and right after war times it is a wonder this decision to lay the planes to waste was approved.
Brandi’s intensive and creative photo journaling of the site has brought this watery graveyard to the surface so to speak. She has likely satisfied the curiosity of those where there and wondered what those planes look like now, and introduced the topic of the Allied and Axis battle in the Marshal Islands to a new generation.
Brandi Meuller is the one to watch if you are interested in underwater photography or creative people on the rise. Her work ranges from the natural to the dangerous and the absurd, yet somehow it is always stunning.