Throughout the first few weeks of August, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) Beyond the Reef project has sunk three plane wreckages (bizarrely shaped like sharks) and their old and beloved Willy T ship into the ocean, to create a new artificial reef system.
This brainwave is the creation of Beyond the Reef, a unique group of collaborators, varying from underwater engineers to a metal sculptor, brought together by their passion for the ocean and its uncertain future.
The Beyond the Reef team sourced three abandoned airplanes, which were miraculously transformed into sharks. These plane wreckages have been sunk to the depths of the seabed, just waiting to be discovered by intrigued divers. The iconic old Willy T Ship, a famed floating bar, has also been sunk into the ocean.
The sinking of the wreckages, which were left behind from the devastation of Hurricane Irma in 2017, is expected to have a hugely positive impact on both locals and visitors, by increasing tourism in the area and creating revenue for the local community.
BVI is asking that each diver who explores these new dive sites donates $5, which will go back into the community through an initiative that teaches local children to swim. This pledge will shed light on both the importance of swim safety as well as respect for the ocean and threats that loom over its future.
Mr. Rhodni A. Skelton, deputy director of tourism in the BVI, commented, “We believe that these artificial reefs, created from abandoned wreckages by an inspiring and passionate group of individuals will become a valuable tourism asset for the territory and brings a fresh new look to our dive product. I am ecstatic about the chosen charitable cause to which funds generated by the project will be directed, that of teaching BVI children to swim. This is not only an important skill for living in the British Virgin Islands but a foundational skill for any number of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in the marine sector.”