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Monday, 30 November 2009 21:35
On 19 November, three sculptures were carefully submerged into waters off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico's eastern state of Quintana Roo, the first part in what will be a grand underwater museum.
These first 3 sculptures are of a planned 400, all of which are designed to become artificial reefs. The statues are constructed from special ph neutral concrete which promotes the growth of marine life and will create areas for corals to flourish, the start of any rich underwater marine ecosystem.
This unique sight is the work of artist Jason de Caires Taylor, who says the transformation will be quick, with it only taking a few months before juvenile algae will begin to grow.
Divers and snorkelers will have the opportunity to admire the 400 original sculptures at depths ranging from 9 to 20 feet, allowing even casual divers access. Part of the plan of the project is to lure some of the half a million yearly tourists away from the surrounding area, which has been damaged by both human activity and recent hurricanes. "Fewer visitors could allow the coral in the area to regenerate, giving it a greater chance of withstanding hurricane damage" said Mr Gonzalez, the park director.
With the media panic created around Swine Flu on the region, tourism in Mexico has dropped from 5.2 million to 4.6million for the same period this year. The Mexican government have provided much of the $350,000 budget for the project, with the rest being donated by individuals and organisations with an interest in promoting the area.
With the conservation of coral being at the forefront of many environmentalists' minds, the project has been carefully planned with environmental surveys carried out beforehand. According to Mr deCaires Taylor, the project will have no detrimental effect on the local ecosystem.
The photos below are from the "Dream Catcher" exhibit. The Dream Catcher collects all the bottles he finds in the ocean and then grants the wishes of the people that send them.
Thank you to Jenny from Aquaworld Cancun for providing the pictures and permissions of the images below.