Unexpected, haunting, thought-provoking: the Underwater Sculpture Park off the west coast of the island of Grenada is all of these.
Certainly the sea is an unlikely gallery. But oddly, it works. The play of natural light, the movement of currents and the juxtaposition of manmade structures with the natural elements of the ocean environment are a dramatic – and sometimes comical – sight. But the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park, the first of its kind, has a mission beyond human entertainment.
The Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park is the brainchild of artist and diver, Jason deCaires Taylor. His concern for the rapid destruction of the world’s coral reefs inspired the design, construction and installation of the sculptures. Made largely of pH neutral cement, the statues form an environmentally friendly artificial reef, which, in turn, attracts the entire spectrum of marine life. Algae, sponges and coral attach to and grow on the sculptures. Fish irreverently nibble at the extremities of the human forms and take refuge in body crevices.
More than just a submerged spectacle, the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park is a purposeful endeavor. The artificial reef draws human interest, relieving pressure on the natural reefs in the area. Too, the park raises public awareness of the amazing resiliency, and alarming fragility, of the world’s reef system. The Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park is art, with intent.
Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park: When You Go
Grenada, West Indies, is a verdant, mountainous island, blessed with beautiful beaches and friendly people. The island is known for its production of spices, especially nutmeg and cocoa. Grenada is also a popular yachting hub and home to two large colleges. The congenial fusion of sailors, students and gregarious locals make for a lively island social scene.
Visiting the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park
The Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park is about ten minutes by boat from the island’s capital city, St. Georges. The sculptures are located at depths of 10-25 feet, making them accessible to divers, as well as snorkelers. Eco Dive is an active sponsor of the non-profit group that supports the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park and an excellent choice for divers. Grenada Seafaris, also a park sponsor, offers island snorkeling tours which include a visit the Grenada Sculpture Park. For those who don’t want to get their feet wet, glass bottomed boat tours are also available with Captain Wally aboard the boat Sun Love.
Where to Eat and Drink in Grenada
Umbrella’s Beach Bar is a popular hangout for students and the yachting set, with tasty pub fare, live music. and a killer beach front setting. You will need your sea legs to stay upright at the Dodgy Dock, where rum flows, the music rocks and boaters flock for good food and fun. Patrick’s is the place to go to sample Grenada’s flavorful home style cooking. Just save room for the incredible homemade ice cream. Not to be missed is a visit to Andy’s Soup House in Grand Anse Valley. Andy’s is the real deal: a locals’ favorite serving heaping plates of hearty food at paltry prices. If you are nice, Andy might even share the mind-altering homebrew he keeps under the counter.
Where to Stay in Grenada
It is hard to imagine a more relaxing and romantic retreat than Laluna. Adorned by the design flourishes of its Italian owner, Laluna’s 16 colorful guest cottages cascade down a leafy hill overlooking a pristine beach. The theme at Laluna is elemental indulgence, with private plunge pools, dreamy four-poster beds, languid lounging areas, and open-air showers. Laluna’s multi-sensory cosseting includes a divine Asian spa, a chic seaside Italian restaurant, and infectious live island music in the bar on Sunday evenings. Laluna has an off-the-radar, low-key sophistication that draws discerning globetrotters, including Kate Moss, Heidi Klum and Michael Kors.