Your next diving adventure destination is currently floating atop the ocean. But it won’t be for much longer. Richard Branson, a man known for going (literally) out of this world for his business ventures, is now sinking one … on purpose. On Monday, the entrepreneur plans to sink of the five surviving ships from the Pearl Harbor attack in order to turn it into the B.V.I Art Reef. It’s described as “a man-made marine ecosystem and otherworldly dive site crowned by an 80-foot-long Kraken sculpture,” and will likely do more good at the bottom of the ocean than it will on top of it.
The Kodiak Queen is slated to find a new home on the ocean floor just south of Mountain Point in Virgin Gorda (a part of the British Virgin Islands). The hope is that once it sinks, the ship and the attached monster will serve not only as a dive site for water-loving tourists, but also a key structure in rehabilitating endangered marine life in the area.
A number of nonprofits are involved in this new project, including Unite B.V.I., which seeks to inspire and empower children of the British Virgin Islands; Secret Samurai Productions, which hopes to address real-world problems through art; and Beneath the Waves, an ocean education and research charity, just to name a few.
“This project,” Branson told the New York Times in an email, “provides an exciting opportunity to capture people’s attention and then to refocus it on important issues facing our oceans — for example, the importance of addressing global warming to protect our coral reefs and the need to rehabilitate vulnerable marine species such as severely overfished grouper populations.”
Once the ship has been sunk, the second phase of the project will begin, which involves coral restoration using the kraken (designed by Secret Samurai Productions). Other artwork will also be installed once the boat is beneath the sea, and is slated to comprise a new environment conducive to threatened species.
So if you make it out to the Caribbean this year, this may be one site you want to visit.