Underwater Statues Around the World.
Humans as a species have been responsible for some pretty lousy abuse of the oceans, especially in recent history. For once though something we are placing into the ocean is a force for good. Underwater statues are being placed on seabeds around the world and they seem to be having a positive effect.
Whether it’s for a memorial, a deterrent or just an art installation it would seem the sea soon takes over and sea life begins to populate the once barren sea beds. Here are a few of the must-see underwater statues and sculptures around the world you can visit on your sailing travels.
Christ of the Abyss, Portofino, Italy
There are many statues of Christ underwater but the oldest can be found near San Fruttuoso near Portofino on the Italian Riviera. The statue is made from bronze and stands 2.5m high. It was placed there in 1954 by Duilio Marcante as a memorial to a friend that died in the area whilst diving. Today it is a popular site for freedivers and scuba divers wishing to remember all those that have lost their lives under the sea.
The world’s first underwater sculpture park was constructed in 2006 in the waters of Molinere Bay, Grenada. The sea bed had been destroyed by a storm surge so it was hoped that by installing sculptures this would provide surfaces for the algae and coral to cling to. It was the first underwater garden to be created by Jason deCaires Taylor, a British sculptor, who has gone on to install many more gardens around the world. The underwater sculpture park in Grenada consists of 75 works over an 800 square metre area. The sculptures are made from long-lasting pH-neutral cement with a roughened texture which allows the coral to attach easily.
Underwater grotto, Bohol, Philippines
On the island of Bohol in the Philippines, there is a rare double reef, Danagon Bank. One of only 6 in the world, the reef was being destroyed by overfishing. Fishermen were using explosives and cyanide to catch fish. In an effort to stop the damage, locals sank two statues of the Virgin Mary and a young Jesus to the seafloor. It worked. Fishermen were reluctant to use dynamite to fish for fear of damaging the religious icons. Now the site is visited by divers and the marine park is considered the richest areas of marine biodiversity anywhere in the world.
Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA), Townsville, Australia
MOUA is another underwater garden from Jason deCaires Taylor situated in the central Great Barrier Reef, off the Townsville coast in Northern Queensland. The museum will house four installations to highlight the fragility of the reef and inspire visitors to conserve the GBR. As well as an art installation and potential habitat for marine life, the museum will also act as a laboratory, monitoring pH, salinity and oxygen levels in the surrounding sea, plus a camera will record the coral growth.
Atlantic Museum, Canaries
Situated 14 metres deep and covering an area of 2500 square metres, the Atlantic Museum in Lanzarote is another Jason deCaires Taylor installation (he’s a busy man!). The museum has over 300 works of art to view and the shallow depth means any level of scuba diver can experience the sculptures. The sculptures aim to portray “the dialogue between past and present and the divisions within society”.
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