I rarely visit the same island twice (there’s just too much great stuff left to discover) much less write about the same feature twice. But islands get revamped and become entirely different properties which warrant taking an entirely fresh look. And the same is true with Sirru Fen Fushi’s “Corallarium” which started life as a surf-breaking art installation, but is now morphing into a reef regeneration project:
- “The Coralarium structure, and the sculptures within, act as an artificial reef, encouraging local marine life to make it a home. Up to 5m tall, each one of the soaring sculptures is constructed of more than 500 ceramic ‘starfish’ that have been specifically designed to attract a variety of fish and crustaceans – the hard shells catch and hold biomass, or ‘fish food’, which encourage coral larvae to attach and thrive, while nooks and dark cubbyholes in the structures provide a hiding place for a variety of fish and shellfish. Each sculpture is brought to life through its union with the life that attaches to it, transforming them from concrete to textured, living organisms.”
Great to see the second life to this installation giving the coral reef new life.
International Sculpture Day today. And new resort Sirru Fen Fushi is launching a world class sculpture exhibit with the most distinctively Maldivian twist – it is underwater.
- “The sculptural installation on Sirru Fen Fushi will offer visitors a unique, cultural eco-art attraction whilst creating the foundations of an artificial reef to enhance the underwater ecosystem. The centre piece will be the Coral Cube, the worlds first semi submerged art space, a portal to the underwater realm offering visitors ephemeral encounters with the natural beauty beneath the water’s surface, delivering an other worldly experience that illustrates the connectivity of man with nature, a hybrid organic form in harmony with its surroundings, a seamless link between the land and the ocean, combining two disparate wonders, one created by man and one designed by nature.”
This creative installation is another gratifying “Finally Seen” for me as I first suggested such an exhibition 4 years ago with Part 4 of my “Not Seen Yet” series (#7).
The Maldives seascape is a world of extremes. The house reefs are often dramatic, colourful, textured, vibrant spectacles. The lagoons, on the other hand, can be vast expanses of underwater deserts of endless, featureless white sand. A number of resorts have introduced a range of Reefscaping initiatives to brighten up their lagoon, but none more funky than the work of Diverland (the resident dive operation) at Summer Island.
In the lakes of England where they teach diving, they submerge bicycles, shopping trolleys, anything to provide some visual interest to the otherwise boring landscape. Summer Island has quite a quirky collection shown in the chart above and include a phone booth and a lamp post (see photo at bottom). All of the items are marked with a red buoy (12 in total) making it easier to find and navigate your swimming to them.
Summer Island also features probably the easiest beginner “wreck dive” one could ever find. They have sunk a sand barge and an old speedboat. Reminds me of the post-war practice by the American and British of scuttling obsolete naval vessels to provide reefs for recreational diving and promotion of sea life. Also, the closest thing to #7 in the 4th collection of “Haven’t Seen Yet”.