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On the sandy bottom of the sea floor in Molinere Bay lies a mystery. During our Grenada scuba diving adventure, we headed out to see what lurks beneath the surface. To our delight, we discovered the playful and whimsical Grenada underwater sculpture park.
Water activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling can sometimes be hard on oceanic reefs. Careless snorkelers can crash into coral reefs, permanently damaging them. A scuba diver can drag their octopus or air gauge and hurt the delicate sea life. Beyond man-made actions, reefs can also be irreparably damaged by hurricanes, such as what happened in Grenada in both 2004 and again in 2005.
In 2006, British artist Jason deCaires Taylor started building the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park. Overseen by the non-profit, volunteer-based organization, The Grenada Underwater Sculpture Management Inc., this group acts in concert with the local government to develop and maintain the world’s first underwater sculpture gallery. It’s a brilliant idea! By providing something cool to look at, the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park shifts the focus from fragile reefs, to less sensitive concrete. Most dive operators in Grenada couple the underwater sculptures with either a reef or wreck dive.
We’ve been divers for many years and have enjoyed the oceans from the Bay Islands of Honduras to the Red Sea of Egypt. On a recent Celebrity Summit cruise to Grenada, we decided to see for ourselves. We really didn’t know what to expect of the Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater sculptures in Molinere Bay, but we were pleasantly surprised. The sculptures really are amazing to look at.
For us, there were two highlights of the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park. The first was an adaptation of Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue, called Christ of the Deep. Instead of Christ looking down on Rio, his arms are stretched upwards and his gaze looks to the surface. Christ of the Deep was actually created by Troy Lewis (not Taylor) and installed with funding the Grenada Tourism Authority. It commemorated the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the Bianca C. The wreck of the Bianca C is a popular scuba dive site in Grenada.
The second and most iconic sculpture is The Vicissitudes – a group of 26 children (modeled after local citizens in Grenada) holding hands in a circle. There have been many interpretations of the work – from the circle of life to representations of slaves who were thrown off ships hundreds of years ago. Jason deCaires Taylor’s true intent is the great mystery of the deep in Grenada. However, regardless of how you interpret the work, the 15 tons of concrete is spectacular.
Before visiting Grenada, we’d discussed what it would be like to dive on an artificial structure (like the sculptures) instead of a reef or a wreck. We were pleasantly surprised! Scuba diving at the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park was a lot of fun.