Marine Foundation installs underwater sculpture at Silk Caye Marine Reserve

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By Celia Gregory of The Marine Foundation

Last year The Marine Foundation started their adventure in Belize, when  invited by a group of Dangriga fishermen to create and install an underwater sculpture. We have installed a number of sculptures in Asia but this would be our first in the Caribbean. We were quickly introduced to Roberts Grove Beach Resort who became our partner sponsor and through a collaboration with Southern Environmental Association (SEA), Silk Cayes Marine Reserve was chosen as the installation location.

The one ton sculpture has been waiting patiently in the Roberts Grove workshop since last May, waiting on permissions to sink and selecting the best site. Captain William led the technical journey of getting the sculpture from land into sea. A truck lifted her from her place  of creation onto the boat. On Sunday, March 13th, we took The Silk Sea Goddess on her maiden voyage, strapped onto the deck of the Dorado.

The weather was kind to us with only lightly choppy waves. We anchored up at South Silk Caye and  joined Tamba, SEA’s park ranger and Marisha, Dive guide for some last minute fun photos with the goddess. We had prepared  a good strategy over several days, however I  was feeling nervous about the sink.

I put on my dive equipment  and prepared myself to go under, for two reason; one I could not bear the pressure of watching the goddess going over the edge of the boat. Secondly I needed to be there under the water welcoming her to her new home. I had imagines of guiding her down, although the reality was very different.belize marine reserve

In was all over in under 10 seconds and she disappeared into a cloud of sand. As I swam over to her, I was excited to see her emerge. She was upright, in positiion and unharmed!

The Buoys we had attached to the body gave  the drag we hoped for, keeping the sculpture upright, I was thrilled. I knew we had prepared and I trusted my team but the truth was this had not been done before. There is always a moment of complete surrender to what will be!

belize reefThe Silk Sea Goddess sits at a depth of 15 feet and is easily accessible from the island, so can be enjoyed by both snorkelers and SCUBA divers. She represents an ancient global feminine symbol for nurturing, life and protection. Created in concrete, a material frequently used for the construction of artificial reefs which are  man-made structures that  create habitat for coral and fish.

Having snorkelled around the caye and seen the vibrant marine life, I feel happy that she has such a wonderful home and can add to the underwater experience for visitors to Silk Cayes.

Photos by Annelise Hagan

 

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