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  • Writer's pictureMagnetic Community News

MOUA ‘Ocean Sentinels’ prepare for installation

The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) creator, and internationally renowned underwater sculptor – Jason deCaires Taylor has arrived in Townsville this week, ahead of the long-anticipated installation of the Ocean Sentinels snorkel trail on John Brewer Reef.

Announcing the final Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority permit approvals last month, the MOUA team are preparing to take the eight green-concrete sculptures to John Brewer Reef where they will be installed as a marine science snorkel trail, adjacent to the existing Coral Greenhouse dive attraction.

Working with local marine contracting company, Pacific Marine Group, local engineers and contractors, the MOUA sculptures - onboard a custom-fitted barge - will embark on the 74km journey to their final location in early May, with the installation expected to take up to four days.

International sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor says the artworks are more than ready to enter their forever home, having been created using new high grade, low carbon Earth Friendly Concrete which is specially designed to take on the form of their environment.

“Although completely submerged their shallow depth will be ideal for snorkellers to view them. The surfaces and forms of the artworks are designed to be colonised by marine life. It is hoped that in years to come a variety of endemic species such as corals, sponges and hydroids will change the sculptures’ appearance in vibrant and unexpected ways. Like the Great Barrier Reef itself, they will become a living and evolving part of the ecosystem, emphasising both its fragility and its endurance.”

Deputy Chair of MOUA and renown marine scientist, Dr Adam Smith said MOUA’s exhibition is attracting global science interest ahead of the next stage’s official launch on 8 June, creating new scientific opportunities, and contributing to the global marine science story.

“Our monitoring program and reef restoration activities are providing results that indicate strong aggregation of a diverse range of fish and coral species on site, and to be able to align the official launch with World Ocean Day – bringing together the muse on the site and the science, is very exciting.”

Destination Management Organisation for the Townsville North Queensland region – Townsville Enterprise, Director Visitor Economy and Marketing Lisa Woolfe says the current dive site – being the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere has become known as a must-see attraction, and it is anticipated that this new snorkel product will only go to enhance the region’s reef experience.

“As the headquarters of the Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Greenhouse has been a game-changer for Townsville, and what we know is that snorkel products – which is what the Ocean Sentinel trail will be is something that will be very attractive to trade and cruise companies right across the globe, enhancing our domestic and global appeal, and generating the exposure and visitor economy that this beautiful part of the world rightly deserves.”

Ocean Sentinel muse and ‘Plant-a-Million Coral’ advocate (based out of Florida), David Vaughn is set to join the installation team in early May.

  • • Funded by major partner Queensland Government

  • • Each sculpture is standing 2.2 meters tall and will be in around 5 metres of water.

  • • Each sculpture weighs in at 2.8 tonne, and is crafted from a new high grade, low carbon earth friendly concrete and reinforced marine stainless steel.

  • • The sculptures will be placed on barren stretches of sand and fixed to the seabed of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Townsville North Queensland.

  • • Commercial Tourism Operators (CTOs) in Townsville North Queensland will begin offering limited tours from Townsville and Magnetic Island from May 2023.

  • • The Ocean Sentinel snorkel trail will be officially opened on 8 June 2023 – to coincide with World Ocean’s Day.

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