Avid diver Annet Libeau discusses the new Underwater Museum of Art on the Great Barrier Reef.
The year 2020 isn’t entirely a bust. Underwater sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor created an underwater museum on the Great Barrier Reef, and it opened on Aug. 2, 2020. Avid diver from Boca Raton, Fla., Annet Libeau, recently discussed the opening of the museum and how it will be one of the highest ranking destinations on her bucket list.
Annet Libeau explained that the underwater museum is one of several created by sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor. Similar museums already exist in the Bahamas, the Maldives, and Grenada. Taylor’s museum on the Great Barrier Reef has been named the Underwater Museum of Art, and it features partially and fully submerged sculptures. The trail of artwork spreads from Palm Island to the waters off the coast of Townsville, with pieces at Magnetic Island and Palm Island still in development.
“This underwater museum is bound to become the next great dive destination,” Annet Libeau said. “Visiting all of Jason deCaires Taylor’s museums is going to be something we hear divers bragging about in the coming years and rightfully so.”
Annet Libeau stated that the Coral Greenhouse at the famous John Brewer Reef and the Ocean Siren sculpture are now open for visiting. The Coral Greenhouse is actually designed to preserve the underwater ecosystem, as a 40-foot-tall functioning greenhouse containing thousands of coral fragments. Annet Libeau added that 20 of the sculptures at the site are ocean-safe and will serve as artificial reefs. All of Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater museums are designed with conservation at the forefront.
“As divers, we can be proud of Jason deCaires Taylor and visiting his underwater sculptures,” Annet Libeau said. “This new underwater museum was built to help protect the Great Barrier Reef through physical structures as well as through informing the public about the major impacts of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef and the ocean as a whole.”
Annet Libeau explained that the sculptures are drastically more than artwork. Each piece of artwork is designed to evolve and teach the public that the ocean is something that needs to be protected. For instance, the Ocean Siren sculpture stands 15 feet tall and features lights which display temperature readings from the reef. These readings are meant to bring attention to the rising temperatures of the ocean due to climate change.
Annet Libeau added that the most strict conservation guidelines were followed in the constructing and installation of the structures. Taylor worked alongside the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority to guarantee the sculptures minimally impact the reef.
Annet Libeau finished by stating that divers and conservationists are already pleased to see schools of fish, invertebrates, and more moving into the Coral Greenhouse. Even more, a visitor fee of $4.20 per person will be paid by all who come to see the sculptures, directly aiding Great Barrier Marine Park Authority conservation efforts.