We talk with our global network to bring you the latest developments, tips
Nearly 500 figures stand off the coast of Mexico, submerged and shrouded in algae. In the Bahamas, the world’s largest underwater statue crouches 16 feet beneath the surface. Created by Jason deCaires Taylor, sea sculptures such as these have evolved into essential tools for conservation.
What inspired your first underwater sculpture, “Viccisitudes,” in Grenada?
I was teaching scuba diving, and prior to that Hurricane Ivan had damaged large areas of Molinere Bay. That resulted in people snorkeling and diving in the same spots, which took a heavy toll on the natural reefs. I built this underwater attraction to draw people away from the natural areas.
Did you intend for your sculptures to transform into artificial reefs?
From years of diving, I knew that life tends to gravitate toward underwater structures. In Mexico, the sculptures of Salon Manchones are located in currents so the marine life is very developed with an array of sponges and corals.
What other benefits do these sculptures offer?
They provide revenue to help protect the coastline, as well as working as artificial reefs and drawing people from natural areas. These projects also represent ways for marine biologists to tell stories about the reef, and I think art plays a vital role in sharing that information.
Which of your underwater works are the most accessible?
I’m interested in getting people who have never considered going underwater to see what an incredible space it is. One gallery near Cancún — called Salon Nizuc — is about 13 feet deep and suitable for snorkeling. The sculpture in the Bahamas is only a five-minute swim from shore, and the water is crystal-clear.
What’s next for you?
In Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, we’re creating a garden scene with hybrid breeds of coral that are more resilient to climate change. It’s very exciting because it’s the first time a project has been permitted there. We’re working with marine biologists to highlight the incredible reef as well as warn people about the problem it faces.
From glass-bottom boat tours to snorkeling and diving, we’ll arrange your excursions through these incredible underwater museums.