​MAUG Island – the beginning:

Located in the Northern Marianas, Maug, like all of the islands in the Mariana Archipelago, are the peaks of a volcanic mountain range that have risen more than 6 miles (9.5 km) from the Mariana Trench subduction area. Maug’s volcano erupted 5 million years ago; all that remains today are three uninhabited islets (part of the volcano’s rim) and its lagoon (which had been its magma chamber, or caldera).

Eight years ago, French marine biologist Dr. Maxima Rostand and his team discovered superheated mineral water percolating up from the mantle into Maug’s lagoon, nourishing a thriving marine community. While he and his colleagues (David Gluck and Beatrice “B.B.” Berethelot) were cataloging samples kept in a pool of lagoon water on the deck of their research vessel, the Benita, a Filipino fishing trawler entered the lagoon, dragging what appeared to be a whale in its trawl net. Max demanded the captain release the whale… only to learn it was an immense pregnant Basking shark. The shark had panicked and gone into labor, forcing the captain to drown it in the lagoon’s shallows before it sunk his vessel.

The captain released the dead shark, allowing Max Rostand to perform an emergency C-section. Fifteen female pups poured out of the womb – fourteen black pups and an albino. Four survived. Rushing out to sea, Dr. Rostand and his team released the first two pups, only to witness them convulse in the cold Pacific Ocean and die. The remaining pups (the albino and a black pup) remained alive in the Benita’s specimen pool, which was filled with the lagoon’s warm mineral water. Dr. Rostand and his crew returned to the lagoon to collect water samples from the dead mother’s womb which matched the lagoon water. Wherever the shark had come from, its deepwater habitat was feeding into Maug’s lagoon. The mother shark’s immense size (57 feet) and sharp teeth indicated the species was a prehistoric Mako which resembled the modern-day Black Demon… a predator believed to inhabit the Sea of Cortez.


That all 15 pups were female indicated its mother possessed the ability to internally fertilize its eggs. Now Dr. Rostand’s team had a choice: Raise the pups in the lagoon until they grew large enough to leave the warm mineral waters or kill them now in order to prevent an ancient apex predator from inhabiting the Pacific.

The scientists decided to raise Snowflake (the albino) and Layla (pure Black Demon) themselves.


Below is archived footage of the two “girls.”


Snowflake and Layla Feeding Ritual:

From their very first feeding, the two pups were treated to Dr. Max Rostand’s singing and guitar playing, his amplifier pressed against the sides of the specimen pool. The objective was to train that sharks to associate specific sound vibrations with feeding time. Underwater speakers replaced the amplifier once the pups were transferred to their lagoon paddock. The conditioning worked so well that Max and his colleagues could use the vibrations to summon the girls anywhere within the lagoon.

The song Max selected? The very one that inspired the dark pup’s name – B.B’s favorite Eric Clapton song, Layla.

Here is Dr. Max Rostand singing Layla:

By their third year the girls were 30 feet long and weighed in excess of 8 tons. Desperate to build an aquarium before the sharks were too big for their paddock, Max contacted a former colleague and lover, the brilliant but toxic Russian paleo-biologist TASHA MARKCOV. Tasha’s “uncle” ALEKSEY MARKOV is a Russian oligarch billionaire who is mounting a political challenge to the Russian President. Impressed by the sheer power and tenacity of the sharks, Aleksey agreed to invest the money necessary to build an aquarium large enough to accommodate the two surviving offspring, provided Max and his colleagues first located the creature’s deepwater habitat and prove they can capture additional sharks should anything happen to Layla and Snowflake, protecting his investment.

To locate this deep warm water habitat, David designed and built SCOUT, a remotely operated Sonar Controlled Oceanic Undersea Tracker. Despite his ingenuity, after eight months of searching the ancient depths surrounding Maug’s volcanic foundation no warm water habitat was found.

It was Tasha who came up with the solution – tag and release one of the Makos – their senses programmed to locate the warm water refuge.

Layla was selected, a deepwater tracking device mounted to the base of her dorsal fin. The moment she was released she left the lagoon – turning back twice before going deep. SCOUT followed her seven miles down into the Mariana Trench. The Mako raced along the bottom – and then her blip disappeared suddenly off the sonar screen…

Watch SCOUT’s recording of the event: 

With the discovery of the Maug Aquifer 2.1 miles beneath the Maug volcano and the prehistoric lifeforms inhabiting this 380 million year old oasis everything changed. Two aquariums were designed and constructed. The O-Quarium is for prehistoric sharks and will house Snowflake. The immense circular aerogel tank will back up to public viewing areas and guest suites at the Black Demon Inn.

The facility that will house the ancient creatures being hunted down in the Maug Aquifer by Tasha and her team is called the Sea Monster Aquarium Complex (SMAC). Each of the six domes and the larger hotel structure (the Permian Princess) are made up of photovoltaic panels which yield enough solar energy to power the facility. Sea Monster Cove and is made up of six massive spheres which surround a 5-star luxury hotel known as the Permian Princess. All aquariums draw their tank water from the lagoon. Power comes from a Geo-Thermal Rig (73%), windmills (6%), and the spheres’ solar panels (21%). Cruise ship docks and private yacht piers are situated between East and North Maug. An airport and runway are constructed on the ocean side of East Maug. Personnel dorms are located on the supply depot situated between North and West Maug. Two monorail systems separate guest from staff. Max purchases the rotating restaurant atop the Permian Princess and opens Maxime’s French Quisine.


On Monday, March 08, 2010 at 09:47 AM local time, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck Maug,, the force powerful enough to create a chasm – believed to be an old lava tube which drops 2.1 miles beneath the Philippine Sea Plate into the Maug Aquifer. The fishing trawler netted the pregnant Black Demon Mako shark 27 hours later.  



Maug cross section

Exploring Today’s MAUG Island

SMC MAUG Island Map

MAUG Island

Sea Monster Cove at Night

MAUG Island

O-Quarium Facility

MAUG Island

Airport at MAUG Island

MAUG Island

O-Quarium at Night

MAUG Island

Supply Depot

MAUG Island

Sunset at Sea Monster Cove

MAUG Island

Cruise Ship Port and Private Docks


Geo-Thermal Rig

Photo Gallery

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Sea Monster Cove at Night
O-Quarium Facility
Airport at SMC
Cruise Ship Port and Private Docks
Geo-Thermal Rig
Power Plant
Supply Depot
Sea Monster Cove Facility
O-Quarium at Sunset
Sea Monster Cove Aquarium and Hotel
Sunset at Sea Monster Cove
Sunset at Sea Monster Cove

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