Swim among these living sculptures

BALI'S LITTLE MERMAID: Artist and environmentalist Celia Gregory shows off her mermaid sculpture, which is made of white pH-neutral cement and acts as a coral and fish nursery in Amed, Bali.
Swim among these living sculptures

BIKER'S REEF: This motorbike by Deus was submerged at a depth of 5m off the coast of the Gili Islands in Lombok.


    Sep 04, 2013

    Swim among these living sculptures

    IN THE past year or so, divers in Bali and around the archipelago near Lombok would have noticed that there have been some interesting additions to the underwater environment.

    Two of these are a motorcycle and a mermaid artificial-reef-cum-art-installation, the brainchild of artist and environmentalist Celia Gregory and The Marine Foundation, which she founded in 2009.

    Bespoke underwater sculptures are created in conjunction with clients and sponsors, to be used as marine habitats by acting as coral and fish nurseries, and also as a catalyst for conservation.

    Here are four striking "living sculptures of the sea" accessible to novice and professional divers.

    1. The Coral Goddess, Pemuteran, Bali

    The Coral Goddess is located in Pemuteran, northern Bali. It borders the marine park and Menjangan Island that is teeming with a myriad of colourful marine life and is one of Bali's best dive sites.

    This area is unique due to its extensive areas of shallow coral reef and the lack of strong currents, which make it perfect for divers and snorkellers.

    Since 2000, Bio-Rock Pemuteran Bay, a company which designs coral nurseries, has installed more than 60 structures to restore the reef and attract species back into the area. In 2011, the Coral Goddess was added.

    Visitors can take an underwater guided tour of the project with Bio-Rock.

    2. Deus Motorbike, Gili Trawangan

    A custom-made motorbike was made in motorcycle maker Deus' Temple of Enthusiasm in the coastal village of Canggu and transported to Gili - off the north-western coast of Lombok - where it was reassembled and submerged at a depth of 5m off the coast.

    This installation is maintained and managed by The Gili Eco Trust, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to preserving the fragile reefs that ring the Gili Islands.

    3. Tugu Dragon, Tugu Hotel Lombok

    This dragon was commissioned by the Tugu Hotel in Lombok for its house reef.

    Floating above the sculpture is a pontoon with solar panels powering the electrical pulse of the work of art, as well as providing swimmers with a sunbathing spot and marker where the dragon is located 100m offshore.

    Local Balinese sculptor I Ketut Putrayasa crafted the head of the dragon. The body is composed of metal rebar that contorts and twists, acting as a habitat and abode of marine life.

    4. Mermaid, Amed, Bali

    A number of underwater structures have been placed in Amed over the last 10 years, such as an underwater post office in 2011.

    The mermaid sculpture in Amed is made of white pH-neutral cement and is one of the most exquisitely designed artificial reefs.

    Reef Check Indonesia is running a new sustainable-management practice and is hoping to attract more visitors to these dive sites.