Pirates of the Caribbean

Think of canals, fabulous buildings, incredible art collections… and you’re thinking of Venice. That’s a bizarre coincidence, because I wasn’t!


It wasn’t pirates that scared me though… it was unexplained energy.

The intrepid sailor Ambrogio Fogar invited me to join him on an expedition to discover Atlantis. We scuba-dived in the Bermuda Triangle, off Bimini, where Fogar challenged me to use my abilities as a dowser in the search for the sunken city.

Spoonbending made me famous, and my work with charitable foundations such as the Red Cross is what I find most fulfilling. But I have also had great fun developing my dowsing skills.

Ambrogio Fogar was a brilliant yachtsman who had become the first Italian to sail westwards around the world solo. Fascinated by legends of an ancient world that sank into the Atlantic, and with newspaper headlines screaming about ships and aeroplanes that vanished off the radar in a mysterious stretch of water around Bermuda, he contacted me in New York in the mid Seventies to invite me on a Boy’s Own mission: the search for a lost world.

Fogar had a hunch that I’d be able to uncover Atlantis by dowsing. Maybe I’d tune in to hidden energy fields, or the ghostly resonance of a civilisation destroyed by some unknown catastrophe thousands of years ago. Maybe there would be hoards of precious metals and jewels, deep beneath the seabed, to set my senses tingling.

I had doubts — I didn’t want to cap my career as an international man of mystery by disappearing in the Bermuda Triangle — but Fogar radiated confidence. He’d just completed the Fifth Transatlantic Race, in a catamaran called Surprise. The surprise was there was no cabin: Fogar slept in a crate in one of the hulls. I decided that anyone who could do something that mad simply had to be sane, and flew to Hamilton, Bermuda.

I had often dived in the Mediterranean off Tel Aviv, where I grew up, but I had never tried dowsing underwater. The nearest I came was on a scuba dive with Shipi, when we lost our bearings underwater. With the air running low in our tanks, we couldn’t find our way through the walls of rock around us… until I realised we had to stop relying on our instruments and start using intuition.

Within moments, we were back on course — and I’ve never forgotten the lesson. You can’t tune in to your sixth sense when you’re panicking.

With Fogar, the experience was very different. I felt utterly confident with him — the sea was his natural home. And it seemed to be mine too… I found it wasn’t just my dowsing skills that were amplified underwater. When Fogar asked me to bend a thick-stemmed spoon below the surface, the results were mindblowing.

It shattered as soon as I began to stroke it, not merely snapping but dissolving into fragments. I have never seen that happen, before or since.

Swimming in 120ft of water over the Bimini Wall, a reef that Fogar believed could have been man-made, I felt empowered, as if my body was plugged into 10,000 volts of psychic energy. The vast tracts of water surrounding me enhanced my ability, and I felt as though I was shining x-rays on the ocean bed.

Again and again I was able to point to structures looming from the sea floor which seemed to be the ruins of a city — yet despite the many reports of planes and ships that had sunk here I could find no wrecks.

But we both felt this was a natural vortex, a black hole in the ocean that could break metal as if it was porcelain, and our fears turned to our oxygen tanks: if the aqualungs fragmented, we would be blown to shreds. Reluctantly, we called off the expedition, both of us believing that an ancient city, perhaps even Atlantis, had collapsed into the sea here. Whether it was the cause or the victim of the vortex, we’ll never know.

I was delighted when the young son of a good friend won the ‘buried treasure’ at his school fete. He had to mark an ‘X’ on the pirates’ map where he believed the loot to be hidden. Result: five £1 coins and a box of beads. Not a bad haul, me hearties!

“I did it just the way you showed me, Uri,” the lad told me over the phone. “I held my palm over the map and I moved it slowly. Where it felt hot and tingly, I put my cross. My friends thought I was silly, because it was in the water, off the edge of the island.”

“Maybe the pirates threw their plunder overboard,” I suggested. 



While I was hunting out a photo from my dives with Ambrogio Fogar in the Bermuda Triangle, I discovered this snap of me and Omar Sharif. Regular readers will remember that a couple of months ago I described my encounter with him at a party — this shot looks like it was taken at our encounter on a TV chatshow, because in my memory of the party, Omar is dressed like an Oriental potentate. Even in a plain suit-and-tie, he looks so effortlessly cool!


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