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Underwater Cancun Holidays with New Submarine Museum

Visitors to The National Park in Cancun are now able to witness an amazing collection of underwater sculptures and figures that have been purposely submerged undersea for the formation of new coral and to encourage more marine life in these waters

Underwater Cancun Holidays with New Submarine Museum
In order to attract most of the tourism that comes to Cancun holidays for wonderful scuba diving opportunities in the area’s beautiful natural corals (and for the preservation of these) a new underwater museum is being unveiled to offer worldwide divers with a new and unique submarine world to explore as well as contributing to the formation of new marine life, driving divers away from the already existing corals which are suffering from the excessive human interaction.
Last 19th November 2009 four new sculptures were submerged in these Caribbean waters. These were the first of as many as 400 figures already planned, which will be positioned dotting the area of the region’s National Park.
Made of PH-neutral concrete, which, it is hoped, will attract algae and marine life and give the local ecosystem a boost, one of the main aims that these figures will serve is “to reduce the pressure on the natural habitat in other areas of the park by luring tourists away from existing coral reef, which has suffered damage from hurricanes and human activity” explained the park's director Jaime Gonzalez.
Around 750,000 people on Cancun holidays currently visit the park a year, according to Mr Gonzalez, with about 450,000 of them visiting Punta Nizuc, an area of just 4 hectares. Fewer visitors could allow the coral in the area to regenerate, giving it a greater chance of withstanding hurricane damage, he added.
One of the first sculptures to be installed was called La Jardinera de la Esperanza, ("The Gardener of Hope") which features a young girl lying on garden patio steps, cultivating pot plants. Situated just 4 metres below the surface, it includes propagated coral that is expected to prosper in its new environment.
"It all happens rather quickly - within two weeks, we will see green algae," says artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who is in charge of the project. "Then within a few months, juvenile algae will appear and the project will progress from there."
The sculptures have been designed to be durable and, according to Mr deCaires Taylor, will have no detrimental effect on the local ecosystem.
"We carried out an environmental survey beforehand," he said.
The conservation of coral is at the forefront of many environmentalists' minds, especially so for the preservation of Cancun holidays and its marine habitat. Coral reefs make up less than a quarter of 1% of the ocean's floor. Yet they are a key source of food, income and coastal protection for around 500 million people worldwide.
The project has an initial budget of $350,000 (£210,000), with a significant proportion of the funding being provided by the Mexican government to further promote and protect Cancun holidays. The rest has been donated by individuals and organisations with an interest in promoting the area.
"We already have $160,000 but if this is successful, then who knows when the project will end." - added Mr Gonzalez.
Artists should get involved in environmental matters so it is not just scientists getting the message out there. "Conservationists need to find different ways of engaging with the world. Artists should get involved in environmental matters so it is not just scientists trying to get the message out there," said Dr Paul Jepson, a lecturer in conservation at the UK's University of Oxford, who welcomed the idea of the museum.
The idea of underwater museums is not new. A few holiday destinations around the world already feature some examples. For scuba diving Egypt holidays for example, UNESCO has voiced its support for a planned underwater museum in Alexandria, which would host treasures belonging to Queen Cleopatra. And in May this year China's Baiheliang Underwater Museum in Chongqing also opened to the public. Made from a natural ridge in the Yangtze River, visitors here can see inscriptions by poets and writers, some of which are thousands of years old.
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