A group of conservationists led by Sir Richard Branson has created the BVI Art Reef – an underwater art installation centered around the Kodiak Queen – a World War II warship – and a massive “Kraken”
The sea monster sculpture can be found off the coast of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
As well as being an epic addition to the islands diving scene, and a draw for tourists, the project is part of a larger project aimed at repopulating the reef and restoring its coral.
The project started when British Virgin Islands marine mechanic and photographer Owen Buggy discovered a ship called the Kodiak Queen in a local scrap metal yard – she turned out to be one of the few surviving ships from the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Buggy then formed a team with the simple goal of sinking the ship and using it as a foundation to create an artificial coral reef.
Richard Branson then stepped in to help fund the project through his not-for-profit foundation called Unite BVI. The project was eventually funded by a range of partners that included the government of the British Virgin Islands, Unite BVI, Maverick1000, Secret Samurai Productions, Beneath the Waves, Commercial Dive Services and the Association of Reef Keepers.
Artists Mike Cline and Aydika James then pitched the idea of incorporating a giant octopus into the wreckage.
This turned the artificial reef into a spectacular art project that could then grow and change as it develops its own marine ecosystem.