A sculpture park? Underwater? In the Spice Isle? Yes please!
Grenada’s Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park has been on my Travel/Dive Bucket List since I learned of its existence. This year, I finally booked a spot on an Eco Dive tour to get up close and personal with these sculptures in almost 30 ft of water, and I was not disappointed in the least. Now, I can proudly say that I explored what is undoubtedly one of the island’s most fascinating dive sites, and I was absolutely enthralled by the beauty of it all.
Honestly, what beats man working with nature to produce such phenomenal works of ecological art? There were so many pieces to grab your attention, so many details to take in, but at the end of our 55 minute dive there were six sculptures that impressed me the most. And here they are…in no particular order.
Obviously. Definitely the piece de resistance of this sprawling underwater landscape, Vissiccitudes or ‘the ring of children’ is probably the most well known pieces in this manmade reef. A creation of British artist, Jason de Caires Taylor, the life-size figures are actually fashioned from local children. They stand in just 16 ft of water, and the transformation of this piece as the coral growth manipulates its form is meant to illustrate the changes that take place as we grow up.
Do: Swim to the center of the circle and take in the view from directly above. It’s breathtaking.
Don’t: Crowd other divers/snorkelers as they try to get the right shot. It’s annoying.
Located amidst a patch of sea urchins and partially covered by coral, this Mermaid has a stately appearance. Lounging ever so elegantly on her side, she’s the last thing I expected to encounter as I crested the edge of a coral formation and dipped into the gully to explore. But oh, is she beautiful. Mysterious. Confident. A creation of local craftsman, Troy Lewis, she seems full of secrets that she probably only shares with the varied species of fish darting around her.
Do: Attempt to mimic her pose. It’s funny.
Don’t: Make pass her by. It’s easy to do as she blends almost perfectly into the environment.
3. The Un-Still Life
A table. A vase. A bowl. And some fruit. Artist Jason de Caires Taylor, combined these basic, inanimate objects to create a work of art that illustrates the ever-changing nature of the marine environment. At 25 ft deep, the items remain a work in progress, constantly being reshaped and restructured as the coral formations build up on the surfaces and new inhabitants take up residence in and around them. It’s an unexpected change from the various pieces inspired by people and I found myself quite taken with these tiny fish that seemed right at home between the bowl and the vase.
Do: Get silly and pretend to sit at the table. It’s cute.
Don’t: Attempt to remove the items. They’re sealed down and you’ll disturb the fish that live there.
4. The Lost Correspondent
The Lost Correspondent actually ended up being my favourite piece. I didn’t know about it before this dive and it was a pleasant surprise as I cleared a wall and encountered this form seated ever so rigidly at a desk, in a gully. Underwater. Head slightly bent, seemingly focused on the assignment at hand, I could almost hear him tapping away at his antique type-writer. Or maybe that was Ron tapping on his tank to let me know it was time to move on. In 23 ft of water, such a spectacle is definitely a rare treat for divers and I’d strongly recommend taking the time to inspect the details of his desk.
Do: Pose next to him for a photo. It’s a classic.
Don’t: Spend too much time trying to get the right shot. It’s unnecessary.
5. The Amerindian Petroglyphs
The Petroglyphs – another exciting discovery while I was exploring the park. This sculpture is one of a collection of 14 pieces produced by local craftsman, Troy Lewis. A representation of Amerindian art, culture, and spiritual worship, it was most intriguing to take these pieces in collectively from a distance, as they line their semi-circular portion of the reef, almost as if standing guard. But the details I was able to observe as I entered their zone and observed them ever so closely made me aware that they each had their own story to tell. I just which I knew what those stories were.
Do: Take the time to inspect each piece. It’s worth it.
Don’t: Assume they’re all one and the same. You’ll miss out.
6. Christ of the Deep
One the most dramatic pieces in the garden, the Christ of the Deep stands alone but proud between two walls of coral. Another piece by Troy Lewis, it is a replica of the statue on the Carenage, commissioned by the Grenada Board of Tourism in 2011 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the Bianca C. With its head titled toward the sky, arms outstretched in the most welcoming of gestures, it is meant to symbolize the hospitality and selflessness displayed by the many Grenadians who saved over 600 passengers and crew from a watery death.
Do: Circle the entire statue just once. It’s a magnificent 360 view.
Don’t: Hang around too long to get in other people’s shots.
7. The Nutmeg Princess (Bonus)
I went on my dive just a few days before they introduced the newest piece to the park – The Nutmeg Princess by Norwegian sculptor, Lene Kilda. She is based on the fable, ‘The Nutmeg Princess’ by award winning Grenadian actor and playwright, Ricardo Keens-Douglas. I can’t wait until I return to see her in her new home!
There are only a few underwater experiences I could think of, that would be more exhilarating than getting up close and personal with these beautiful forms – and they all feature large animals. So for now, let’s keep it simple and safe by visiting Molinere to see just how perfectly man and nature can work together to preserve the environment.
Vendor: Eco Dive Shop | 2 Tank Dive @ $110 US | (473) 444-7777