cancun underwater museum(Blue Ocean Network – June 15, 2010) — The Cancun and Isla Mujeres Underwater Art Museum is a step closer to becoming the world’s largest underwater museum.  Phase 1 of the underwater project began November 14, 2009 with the sinking of three life-sized sculptures.

Created by British/Guyanese artist Jason de Caires Taylor, the sculptures were placed near natural reefs and marine life in order to create an artificial habitat.

The sculptures have been created with PH neutral concrete that will allow algae and small invertebrates to flourish, boosting the local ecosystem. The appearance of the sculptures will change over time as the coral reefs and marine life grow.

The first three sculptures – Dream Collector, Man on Fire and The Gardener of Hope – were carefully submerged to a variety of different depths throughout the national park. Dream Collector features dozens of bottles containing messages of encouragement sent from around the world, while Man on Fire has 75 holes planted with fire coral. The Gardener of Hope depicts a young girl lying on a garden patio.

The museum seeks to promote, among other things, the philosophy of conservation, as is the “Dream Collector” sculpture, which contains bottles with messages of good hope sent from around the world. One of the first messages in a bottle attached to the above mentioned sculpture reads: “May our hearts, never become as hard as our heads,” by Roberto Diaz, President of the Cancun Underwater Museum.

Nearly 750,000 tourists flock to the Cancun Marine Park each year and it is hoped that the underwater museum will take some much needed pressure off this natural resource – which has been damaged over the years, says the museum will help restore the natural reefs.

Jaime Gonzalez, the national park’s director says, “The underwater museum will draw many tourists, allowing us to give a rest to the natural reefs. It’s like a restoration process.”

Phase II of the project is well underway, with the hopes that it will eventually become the largest underwater museum in the world with more than 400 sculptures placed on the sand, as well as sunk to a variety of different depths, throughout the national park.  Once this stage is completed, additional artists will be invited to display their sculptures and contribute to the museum. Each individual work of art will be life-sized and will consist of themed galleries.

Diving & Snorkeling trips are available from a variety of Dive Operators including Aqua World.