The objects in the world around you can create homes for the underwater world, one nature lover has even dropped a VW Bug into the ocean to create a safe habitat for lobsters…but we believe the latest BVI marine project takes creating an ocean home to a new level.
The BVI art reef known as Project Yoko, involves a WWII ocean liner, crowd sourced funding and an underwater adventure park…
From Dream to DNA Data
In 2017, the BVI Art Reef was introduced, a collaborative effort amongst friends, community members, charities and commercial investors. Project Yoko is “turn[ing] a weapon of war into a weapon of unity”, the project represents a host of achievements – boosting tourism, rebuilding a fragile underwater ecosystem, sculpting local dive exhibits and honoring history.
The main character in this fascinating story is the ship the YO-44, or Kodiak Queen. The YO-44 is one of five remaining ships from the Pearl Harbor Disaster. Project participants hope that the ship “will be a living symbol of rebirth and regeneration.” Participants have stepped up to prevent this historical ship being lost to time/scrap metal instead the ship returns to the sea providing a new home for marine life. The project serves as both a lasting memorial and living art space, breathing life into new diving adventures.
Scientists have created a biome within the ship structure to attract endangered grouper fish and spark new reef life. The introduction of marine life, will be steadily tracked by DNA studies, closely monitoring marine growth. Non profit Beneath the Waves cites eDNA as an inexpensive non intrusive way to measure the impact of reef repair the DNA sequencing is used to “detect the presence, absence and relative abundance of sharks and groupers in the given area over time.” The Yoko Project is a pioneering step in terms of coral reef preservation, native fish protection and recording the unique ecosystem of the ship.
The ship itself is a work of art with artists adding underwater installations designed for the marine environment. Part of the installation features a metallic, octopus-like 80 foot decorative piece with a surface that doubles as a place to plant coral nurseries.
The BVI art reef is an epic experience seamlessly blending our urge to adventure with the basic human instinct to nurture – all to the backdrop of scientific innovation.