Underwater Sulptures

The world’s first public underwater sculpture park located off the west coast of Grenada was open for public viewing in 2006. Created by British sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park features a unique collection of ecological underwater contemporary art.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

A couple of days after dropping anchor in St George’s Bay in Grenada, we pile up on the Rubber Duck (Mel and Caryn’s dinghy) and head for the Sculpture Park in Molienere Bay. It’s not too far, only 2 miles north from the St George’s anchorage or about 20-30 minute dinghy ride in calm seas.

It’s Saturday and at 9 in the morning there are two diving boats and another dinghy already stationed on the mooring balls in the bay. A group of divers with a guide and a snorkeling family are already in the water. We grab a mooring too, put on our masks and snorkels, and begin exploring the sandy shallows of the bay.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

There are over 65 submerged sculptures scattered on an area of 800 square meters which allows us to swim around undisturbed avoiding the other visitors, discovering the artworks in the collection one by one.

Maya at the Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Maya at the Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

The water temperature is pleasant but visibility is not perfect. The sea is murky from the swell and currents we’ve been getting in the past few days due to Hurricane Gonzalo’s passing north of Grenada.

Mira at the Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Mira at the Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

We float on the surface of the sea. Beneath us lying down on the sea floor in 12 feet of water are the 16 bodies of one woman. ‘Grace Reef’ is the first installation consisting of 16 concrete statues cast from the body of a local Grenadian woman. It’s eerie and beautiful, as well as a bit morbid. Underwater, the inanimate human figures suddenly become lost, drowned, abandoned.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Most of the sculptures represent human figures from life casts of actual Grenadian people: men, women and children. They have been designed to promote coral growth using techniques to reduce the pH of the cement and by applying a textured surface thus encouraging coral polyps to attach onto the surface and change the appearance of the artworks over time. Eventually the structures become sanctuaries for small marine life, like artificial reefs.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

The most recognized and impressive installation is ‘Vicissitudes’, a ring of 26 children holding hands facing outwards into the current. Symbolizing life’s ongoing cycle and the ability of children to adapt to their surroundings, the piece is a means of conveying environmental awareness and evokes the importance of sustainable and well managed marine environment for future generations. In an interview for Environmental Graffiti, the artists said: “I am trying to portray how human intervention or interaction with nature can be positive and sustainable, an icon of how we can live in a symbiotic relationship with nature.”

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

British artist, Jason de Caires Taylor born in August of 1974 started as a dive instructor and graffiti artists to become a world-renown environmental artist, underwater photographer, and marine conservationist, combining his two passions for sea and art. “I’m very interested in public art and how an object changes in response to its environment.“

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

The artist main goal is to divert visitors away from damaged by hurricanes and human activity endangered natural reefs, like the most visited snorkeling destination on the island, Flamingo Bay, located not far from the sculpture park. He also hopes that his eco-friendly installations will provide new habitats for marine life and enhance the local ecosystems.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

We snorkel around the sculpture and dive for a closer look. The bodies and faces of the figures are covered in new corals, marine plants and aquatic life forms. Parrot fish, yellow tails and other small fishes swim undisturbed among the concrete figures already colonized by sponges and tunicates. The undersea art collection has become their new neighborhood. We are their guests.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

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Thunderball Grotto Images

Ivo

Ivo

Staniel Cay is a small island, about 1 square mile, in the center of the Exumas island chain with a settlement of about 80 permanent residents. It offers the basic needs locals, cruisers and tourists might need. There is a school, a church, library, post office, three small retail stores and two bars and restaurants, as well as various small and secluded beaches. It became one of our favorite places in the Bahamas.

We stop here for a while because a friend, Joey, told us to go check it out and jump in the Thunderball cave nearby. Turns out, the Thunderball Grotto, an underwater cave, is a big deal, it is on the cover of our Cruising Guide and if you Google it you will find out that it is the most exciting snorkeling destinations in the Bahamas and that one of the James Bond movies was filmed here in 1983, Never Say Never Again.

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We jump in as we would never say never to an adventure like this one! It is truly amazing, an unforgettable experience (one can feel Sean Connery’s presence everywhere in the underwater cave).

Maya

Maya

The cave is beneath a small hollow island just next to Staniel Cay, a dark chamber carved by the sea under the rock.

Inside the grotto

Inside the grotto

We go at high tide, even though everyone recommends to go at low tide, and so we have to dive to access the grotto through one of three small passages between the boulders (at low tide the passages are exposed and you don’t have to dive).

Viktor

Viktor

We are welcomed by hundreds of fishes who are not at all afraid of us, as they know very well that here they are protected by law.The Fish doesn’t think because the Fish knows, everything.

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 Inside the grotto, the high ceiling above the pool of crystal clear water is pierced by holes and sunlight sends illuminated beams, like spotlights, beautiful underwater. I suppose, one can climb the hill from outside all the way to the top and jump in the pool of the cave from the big hole in the center. Joey, is that what you meant when you said „jump in the cave“? We were considering it, but we didn’t do it…

Mira

Mira

We all loved the experience, especially Maya who has become a snorkeling addict and Viktor who had fun filming with the small underwater camera. The pictures, not the best quality, are stills from the film.

Maya

Maya

 

Viktor

Viktor (smoking seaweed)

 

Ivo

Ivo

 

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Arizona Dream- This Is A Film (lyrics)

This is a film about a man and a fish
This is a film about dramatic relationship between man and fish
The man stands between life and death
The man thinks
The horse thinks
The sheep thinks
The cow thinks
The dog thinks
The fish doesn’t think
The fish is mute, expressionless
The fish doesn’t think because the fish knows everything
The fish knows everything

 

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