Cancun Underwater Museum - a hand-made wonder

13.12.2010 In: Travel destinations

The Cancun Underwater Museum officially opened its doors, completing the exhibition titled “The Silent Evolution” by artist Jason deCaires Taylor. With 400 life-size sculptures submerged, this completed phase 2 of the world’s largest underwater museum, located in the beautiful waters of Cancun.

The National Park located on the West Coast of Isla Mujeres, Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc, welcomes approximately 750,000 tourists a year and is now home for this impressive sculpture museum. Just days after almost all the sculptures were submerged, the welcoming they received by Mother Nature was amazing, with hundreds of swarming 'grey angel' fish, that up until now, were rarely seen around the area. The main gallery is formed by 400 life-size figures, based on real people. Its building required 18 months of hard work, 120 tons of cement, 400 kg of silicone, 3,800 glass fibre and more than 120 submarine work hours, as well as effort and dedication from a committed team with a dream, that began almost two years ago.

The technique, developed by the sculptor, allows the creation of life-size figures that keep the models original gestures and positions. The sinking process to more than 10 meters of depth consists on placing the sculptures over a 2 tons base, which will be positioned safely on rocky surfaces to avoid any damage caused by waves. The Underwater Museum can be appreciated not only from the bottom of the sea, all the pieces are placed in a way that looks like a human eye as seen from the air.

The first sinking took place on November 14th, 2009. In the project’s first phase and under the supervision of the renowned artist and sub aquatic sculpture Jason deCaires Taylor, three sculptures were submerged: “Coleccionista de Sueños” (Dream Collector), “Hombre en llamas” (Man on Fire) and “La Jardinera de la Esperanza” (The Gardener of Hope). The sculptures where placed near the natural reefs and close to marine life habitats in order to create a natural ecosystem that helps maintain corals and reefs in the best conditions.

The project is backed by Cancun’s Ministry of Environment and its Nautical Association and has required an investment of more than US$350,000 in order to allow the natural reefs that surround the sculptures, to remain untouched. That is why this Marine Park was up for the challenge and developed a way to deviate tourists from the natural habitats, through coral reefs, without having to lose its visitors and the US$36 million that these represent in annual income.

It is important to point out that due to the success of this great project, Sculptor and artist Jason deCaires Taylor, has accepted the position as the museum’s artistic director.

The cultural and environmental importance of the project, make the Underwater Museum a once in a lifetime experience. In collaboration with marine biologists and other experts from the National Marine Park, the sculptures have been designed to attract coral, but have also been immersed and positioned in a certain way so that they contribute to the further development of different coral species.

These magnificent sculptures will be available for tourists and visitors that wish to admire the originality, beauty and uniqueness of these works of art, while snorkelling or diving in the sub aquatic museum, as one of the many activities to do in Cancun and Isla Mujeres. Entrance to the museum is free, although is highly recommended that visitors of the museum utilize an appropriate tour operator with trained professionals to enjoy this experience to the most.