The island of Grand Cayman has 365 moored dive sites so that you can dive every day of the year without repeating a dive. So why add one more?
It turns out, Divetech owners Jay and Nancy Easterbrook have two very special reasons. The Guardian of the Reef — a 13-foot bronze sculpture created by Canadian artist Simon Morris and commissioned by Jay and Nancy — is meant to be a beacon of marine conservation and its sinking will mark the beginning of a yearlong celebration of Divetech's 20th anniversary. Guardian was placed on a sandy flat in 65 feet of water just off Lighthouse Point in 2014. The statue is a mythological creature — half ancient warrior and half seahorse.
"We have a little pod of seahorses out front, so he'll fit right in," says Nancy Easterbrook. "I'm very excited about that."
The top half of the sculpture is a guardsman wearing Greco-Roman armor and carrying a circular shield and a staff and sphere. His helmet is a stylized seahorse head, and a dorsal fin protrudes from the back of his breastplate. At the waist, the creature morphs into a seahorse with a tail coiled around a bronze ring mounted on a 4-foot bronze column. The Guardian will be perched on a 4-foot concrete pedestal that will raise him to 17 feet and help the sculpture become part of the reef.
"The concrete pedestal will attract underwater life almost immediately, and we'll see coral and sponges begin to grow on the base," says Jay Easterbrook.
The Easterbrooks say the Guardian help focus attention on ocean conservation during the yearlong anniversary celebration. "We'll host a reception and have champagne to mark the occasion, but instead of offering the traditional anniversary discounts at Divetech, we are introducing an initiative to raise money for an ocean-conservation program to educate schoolchildren in Grand Cayman about our marine resources," says Nancy Easterbrook.
The Easterbrooks and artist Simon Morris unveiled the statue and their plans for its sinking at DEMA in November 2013. Scuba Diving magazine was on hand for the announcement. Scuba Diving was also at the sinking of the 1,100-pound statue.
The Guardian of the Reef statue is unveiled at DEMA. Photograph by Ana Cuello
One dollar from every dive made on the Guardian will go the conservation education program, and the goal is to raise $20,000 the first year. Donations will be accepted.
The artist, Simon Morris, also created Amphitrite, which is in Grand Cayman on Sunset Reef off Sunset House Resort, and the Emerald Princess, which is in Powell River, British Columbia.
PADI 5 Star Resort Divetech is Green Globe Certified and is a National Geographic Center and Project AWARE Center, and is the recipient of the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2012 and the PADI Green Star Award.