British Columbia, Canada - Simon Morris, sculptor of the well known bronze mermaids placed underwater in Grand Cayman and British Columbia, has just completed the clay original for a new underwater sculptural project promoting diving tourism and environmental stewardship.
Guardian of the Reef is a new sculpture 13 feet tall, representing a mythological creature comprising the top half of a warrior-guardsman wearing ancient Greco-Roman armour & decorated breastplate, carrying a circular shield and a trident made from a conch shell. At waist level, the sculpture morphs into a Sea Horse, the same way a mermaid is a morph between a human female and a fish. The guardian’s helmet is a stylized sea horse head, and a dorsal fin protrudes from the back of the breastplate. The tail is coiled around a heavy bronze ring embedded in a Roman column which acts as his sentry post. The column is aged, and shattered, with many open spaces revealing a “Reef Ball” style perforated inner cement column that actually becomes part of the natural reef over time. The symbolism reflects that the oceans need our protection, but are being neglected.
The project calls for six of these sculptures to be placed around the world at locations where resorts and dive operators meet stringent environmental stewardship guidelines. The Reef Ball Foundation, an international non-profit charity known around the world for its work in restoring oceanic ecosystems endorses this project and will automatically accept any “Reef Ball” installations placed in conjunction with the sculpture into the Reefs Around the World Grant Program (see details at www.reefball.org).
The integration of this sculpture into a “Reef Ball” installation will provide excellent habitat enhancement and a place of interest for divers to hone their buoyancy skills before venturing onto the sensitive natural reefs in the area. In many heavily dived areas, the reefs are suffering from the pressure of too many diver impacts.
A testimonial from Dr. Joe MacInnis:
"Simon Morris is one of those rare individuals
who use art to capture the spirit of the sea and to help conserve the
ocean. His magnificent underwater sculptures have been seen by thousands
of divers who have been moved by the experience.
Simon is now embarking on an ambitious project placing large scale bronze sculptures at diving destinations around the world. The project is designed to help replace lost habitat, repopulate dwindling marine life stocks, and promote the beauty of the marine world. I support Simon and the other members of his team who are helping him rebuild the vitality of the seas."
- Dr. Joseph MacInnis -a medical doctor - is a noted deep-sea explorer, environmentalist, and best-selling author. Among his books are Saving the Oceans and Titanic: In a New Light. His most recent book is Fitzgerald's Storm, released by MacMillan in the fall of 1997. Dr. MacInnis was an advisor to the Titanic discovery team. His work has earned him a number of distinctions, including three honorary doctorates, the Queen's Anniversary Medal, the Admiral's Medal and his country's highest honor, the Order of Canada.
The bronze mermaid Amphitrite has been phenomenally successful in attracting dive tourism to Grand Cayman. The Diving Industry Association of British Columbia www.diveindustrybc.com has committed to purchase the first casting of the Guardian of the Reef, to be placed near Horseshoe Bay, just outside of Vancouver, B.C. Other tourism groups around the world are racing to raise funds to be one of the five remaining sites knowing that a large number of scuba divers will be flocking to the locations selected.
Some locations actively considering the placement of the Guardian are the British Isles, The Caribbean, The Sea of Cortez, Australia, and the eastern Seaboard of the United States. Operators around the world are invited to contact the sculptor to discuss participation.
Each sinking will become a widely publicized “event” drawing crowds of enthusiastic divers and spectators eager to be among the first to dive the new attraction. At Powell River, BC in 1989, 1,000 people came to witness the sinking, which was accompanied by members of three level of government, two marching bands, and an aerial fly by of precision flying jets from the nearby air force base. The sinking of the mermaid “Ampihtrite” in Grand Cayman was held during PADI Total Submersion Week at Sunset house, October 2000.
The Volunteer Services Division of the Reef Ball Foundation has offered to host coral propagation and transplanting clinics for schools and local volunteers whenever the locations are in areas suitable for tropical coral reef restoration.
Simon Morris lives on Saltspring Island British Columbia Canada. He is a recipient of the “Canadian National Diving Achievement Award” from Underwater Canada for the mermaid’s contribution to the raised public awareness of the fragile nature of British Columbia’s unique marine ecosystem. An avid diver for nearly 30 years, he suffered a case of the bends during a diving accident on March, 2000. No longer able to dive, Simon remains committed to the oceans environment, and still enjoys free-diving to his underwater sculptures.
“It is my pleasure to write this letter about Powell River’s famous underwater sculpture “The Emerald Princess.” Simon Morris’ beautifully crafted 9’ bronze mermaid has been attracting tourists from all over the world to our Province to spend their vacations diving in this well known area. Our Dive Shop’s Guest Book is filled with comments written by divers who have come from as far away as Germany, Australia, France, England and The Netherlands to dive the Mermaid.”
- Don Cardo, Owner, Don’s Dive Shop, Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
“The Mermaid has virtually become the symbol of diving on the West Coast of British Columbia. It is difficult to find a publication about diving in our emerald seas without finding the Emerald Princess featured on the cover.”
- Glen McRae, Economic Development Officer, Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
For more information contact
125 Woodland Drive
Saltspring Island, British Columbia
Canada, V8K 1K1
250 537 2511