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This Underwater Art Museum Is An Ocean Lover's Dream

The sculptures act as artificial reefs for fish and coral.

13/01/2017 7:10 AM AEDT | Updated 18/01/2017 4:36 AM AEDT
Jason deCaires Taylor/CACT Lanzarote
Sculptures at Museo Atlántico are made of marine cement to better serve fish and wildlife.

Scuba divers, look out: You may encounter a few more humans below the surface soon.

Museo Atlántico, Europe’s first underwater museum, opened this week off the coast of Lanzarote, Canary Islands. The museum’s submerged sculptures will serve as an artificial reef for fish and other sea life, giving a break to heavily trafficked natural reefs and helping replenish an ecosystem that’s been worked over by erosion.

About $9 for snorkelers and $13 for divers (not including gear) gets you an hour with the sculptures, which convey urgent messages about the state of our oceans:

Jason deCaires Taylor/CACT Lanzarote
“Portal” is a half-human, half-animal creature looking into a mirror that reflects the ocean’s surface. The mirror is elevated on a platform with small compartments designed to attract octopuses, sea urchins and fish.
Jason deCaires Taylor/CACT Lanzarote
In “Deregulated,” suited businessmen enjoy a children’s playground. It’s meant as a commentary on the arrogance of the corporate world toward the natural world.
Jason deCaires Taylor/CACT Lanzarote
In “Crossing the Rubicon,” figures walk toward a wall that symbolizes our futile efforts to divide and control the ocean.
Jason deCaires Taylor/CACT Lanzarote
“Human Gyre” includes 200 life-size beings woven into a circle, reminding us we’re vulnerable under the ocean's power. The sculpture is a complex artificial reef for marine animals.

Museo Atlántico is the brainchild of Jason deCairnes Taylor, a sculptor whose work also appears off the coasts of Mexico and the Bahamas.

His new, nearly 27,000-square-foot wonderland is meant to be toured in order, like a real museum. By the end, swimmers should have a renewed sense of urgency around protecting our oceans, especially after witnessing the 98-foot-long, 1,102-ton wall called “Crossing the Rubicon.”

“In times of increasing patriotism and protectionism, the wall aims to remind us that we cannot segregate our oceans, air, climate or wildlife as we do our land and possessions,” deCairnes Taylor said in a press release. “The work aims to mark 2017 as a pivotal moment, a line in the sand and reminder that our world’s oceans and climate are changing and we need to take urgent action before its too late.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Jason deCaires Taylor/CACT Lanzarote
Sculptures at Museo Atlántico are made of marine cement to better serve fish and wildlife.
Jason deCaires Taylor/CACT Lanzarote
A diver studies "Crossing the Rubicon," a giant underwater wall installation. 
Jason deCaires Taylor/CACT Lanzarote
Some of the museum's figures have been in place for about a year now and have already received visits from fish, octopuses and stingrays. 
Jason deCaires Taylor/CACT Lanzarote
A figure is lowered into Museo Atlántico. The sculptures will be permanent and one day grow into working reefs.
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