Bali reef sculptures

Underwater art gallery

Metal structures designed to promote reef growth have turned the sea around Bali into an underwater art gallery.

Off the coast of Bali, Indonesia, the azure blue sea is full of more than 60 strange metallic sculptures in the shape of dolphins, whales, waves, tigers and lotus flowers.

The metal structures were designed to encourage coral to grow on them and boost the local fish population.

British diver Lisa Collins, 48, explored the bizarre underwater art gallery made up of several artificial reefs.

Mrs Collins, of Surrey, said: “This was one of the most beautiful dive sites I have ever been to. Not only is the sea crystal clear and bright blue – but the sculptures are stunning.

“It is a very peaceful and surreal place – a lovely, quiet corner of the globe.”

The project, the brainchild of marine conservation company Biorock, was designed in response to the dwindling fish population in Pemuteran Bay off the northwest coast of Bali.

Fisherman in the area had destroyed 80 per cent of the coral reef by using dynamite to kill the local aquatic wildlife.

This explosive approach meant the coral in the area was almost completely destroyed and unable to support life.

The Biorock method was developed by Tom Goreau and Wolf Hilbertz in 1979.

The innovative technique involves running an electrical current through a metallic structure – this causes calcium carbonate to form. Natural coral can then be attached to the structure.

Since the first structure was placed in the water in 2001 the project has been judged a great success and the area is again a haven for aquatic life.

Mrs Collins said: “The area is teeming with wildlife so the system obviously works.”

Karang Lestari Pemuteran, of Biorock, said: “The Biorock Center is run by local men who oversee and maintain the site and educate tourists, villagers, researching students and officials about this project, which is the largest of its kind in the world. They are available to help other communities make similar projects.”

More high resolution pictures are available on request. To discuss rates for buying pictures and copy, contact news editor Tom Knight on 07815 004413 or tom@medavia.co.uk.

 

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