After careless divers (and storms) managed to kill off some of the best local coral, local authorities and dive operators were interested to give visitors something to look at. After all, the popular Sinai diving site Raz Mohammed has some toilets on the sea floor that have become a diver attraction, ship wrecks are popular. So why not something that looks like it fell off a ship on its way to a museum?
The artist, Jason de Caires Taylor, makes the sculpture out of PH neutral cement — good for fish, good for the sea. Some pieces even have holes for sea critters to make new homes. So the art is dual purpose: attract diving tourists and create a home for sea life. Over time, the statues get covered with sea weed and molluscs. Taylor likes this and sees it as the evolution of his art.
Local dive operators and tourists may disagree. One local dive operator, Manta Divers, put it this way. ”About 60% of our clients on this dive are disappointed. Some because it feels contrived, but most because the statues are so covered with seaweed that they’re nearly impossible to distinguish from seaweed-covered rocks. They no longer look like the photos that the divers interested in the trip.”
COMMENT: This gets back to the DMO as Destination MANAGEMENT Organization. Someone needs to take responsibility for keeping the underwater attraction in good shape– like the tree trimmer for Japan’s famous cherry trees. Step two, after the statues once again look like they do in the photos, is to do a survey and see if the divers feel the underwater exhibit is worth maintaining.