Diving professionals in the Cayman Islands have long history of looking for new ways to promote diving and conservation, and Divetech’s “Guardian of the Reef” fits right in to this tradition.
The Guardian of the Reef is a 13 foot tall, 1,100 pound bronze sculpture of a mythical half ancient warrior / half seahorse creature, holding on by its tail to an aged and shattered column. “I wanted to show the oceans have been watched over throughout the ages,” said Simon Morris, the Guardian’s sculptor. “The symbolism reflects that the oceans need our protection, but are being neglected.”
The Sculpture has been almost ten years in the making. Morris started working on it at the DEMA show in 2004, but the work languished until Divetech’s owners Jay and Nancy Easterbrook commissioned it to become an artificial reef in January, 2014. The Guardian will be placed in 65 feet of water off of Lighthouse Point, and will not only be a dive attraction, but will also help focus conservation efforts.
The sculpture created quite a stir among divers as it stopped at the DEMA show in Orlando on its way to the Caymans for its installation in January of 2014. Dive world celebrities including Zale Parry, Ton Ingram and Wyland shared the excitement of other attendees as they viewed the artwork. ” I am going to dive it! I definitely want to see it in the water,” said Wyland. “I think it will be a great contribution to the islands.”
The Easterbrooks are using the Guardian of the Reefs as a way to raise money to establish an ocean conservation program designed to educate the school children of Grand Cayman about their ocean’s resources. One dollar from every dive to the Guardian will go to the conservation program, and it is hoped that $20,000 will be raised in the first year. Donations are also being accepted.
Simon Morris is also known for his underwater mermaid sculptures of “The Emerald Princess” which can be found in Powell River in British Columbia, and “Amphitrite”, a mermaid sculpture which was placed in the waters of Grand Cayman in 2000. Amphitrite, placed off Sunset House in Grand Cayman, has been named the #1 shore dive in Grand Cayman by Scuba Diving Magazine.