Scuba Diving the Underwater Museum (MUSA) Isla Mujeres
The Underwater Museum is a must for those who have never scuba dived this spot before. MUSA (Underwater Museum) was the brain child of English artist Jason DeCaires Taylor, the Director of the National park Jaime Gonzalez as well as Roberto Diaz, then President of the Nautical Association for Cancun and Isla Mujeres. The idea was to help salvage the dying reefs which had taken a beating in previous years due to Hurricanes, tropical storms and the general destruction by humans. The thought was to submerge concrete statues to provide a base for the coral life to attach to and hopefully flourish. Since first the first concrete statues were submerged in 2008, there is approximately 500 statues as of 2013.
For those who have scuba dived or snorkeled the Underwater Museum since its inception, there is a definite change that occurs each year, and new coral is constantly forming, creating an ever changing art installation. The Underwater Museum provides a surreal and magical experience. The best time to visit is in low season, as in high season there tends to be quite a bit of traffic and it can get pretty crowded. This is definitely worth the visit at least once in your life. Remember to bring your underwater camera as this is truly an experience to remember. All of the sculpture installations provide food for thought, and the silence and stillness of being underwater allows the viewers a chance to really take it all in.
Different installations at the Underwater Museum, Isla Mujeres:
The Resurrection statue represents rebirth. It shows a woman standing against the current with her arms spread open. Gorgonian fan coral was revived and attached to her outstretched arms, giving it new life. Her positioning against the current allows the Gorgonian fan coral to flow in the current and feed on nutrients.
The Speaker, 2013
The Speaker shows a statue of man standing at a podium. His eyes and mouth are missing, his hands and legs stuck to his side, useless. The Speaker statue is represented in conjunction with The Listener statue and has been covered in salvaged Elkhorn and Staghorn coral.
No Turning Back, 2013
The No Turning Back statue represents a woman hunched over and hugging her legs. This concrete structure represents the sadness that is felt about the human destruction of the coral reefs.
Vein Man, 2013
The Vein Man statue which was submerged in 2013 is different than the other sculptures as it was comprised of stainless steel. The hollowness of the sculpture is to allow for the formation of fire coral.
The Reclamation statue is similar to the Resurrection statue as it represents a woman on her knees with her arms spread open. Her arms as well have been transplanted with Gorgonian Fan Coral and represents the reclamation of Sea.
The Last Supper, 2012
The Last Supper installation depicts a lonely table with a bowl with two plates of half eaten fish. Inside the bowl are apples mixed with bombs. The representation of this piece is to showcase the sensitivity to over fishing and show that our destruction to the fish population is a ticking time bomb for us all.
The Listener, 2012
The Listener is unique in the sense that it has an integrated sound piece to allow people to listen to the sounds of the Ocean. The face of the statue is covered in molded ears of children, and is representative of the need for the younger generations to listen to the delicate balance of nature.
Holy Man, 2012
The Holy Man statue was created using Staghorn Coral salvaged from the Gardner of Hope installation.
The Silent Evolution, 2012
This sculpture installation is one of the most impressive as it is comprised of 450 human like statues. There is an eeriness to it as you float by and see the faces of life size humans covered in coral, all of their eyes closed. This part of the museum was finished in 2012.
The Bankers, 2012
The Bankers sculpture installation was also completed in 2012 and consists of 5 human like statues representing bankers with their heads in the sand. This piece represented the lack of transparency in the banking system as well as denial of economic times.
Urban Reef, 2012
The Urban Reef consists of suburban like structures that is still in the process of creation. These dollhouse concrete buildings will provide homes for different species of fish, creating a little underwater village of sorts.
Time Bomb, 2012
The time bomb installation is comprised of two bombs with fuses. It is symbolic in the sense that we have limited time to repair the damages that we are creating the irony of the installation is that the bomb itself is repairing the underwater damage, providing new homes for the coral.
The Void statue represents a lonely woman standing. There is a sadness to this statue as her arms are closed in. The bottom of her dress is hollow and was the first experiment from the artist using hollow structure and turned out to be a success for the propagation of coral.
Inertia statue represents one of the most poignant follies of mankind. The statue shows an overweight man sitting on the couch in front of a television, garbage and waste scattered around him. This is truly a powerful piece showcasing the worst of mankind. The details on this sculpture are truly remarkable and warrants extra time to take in all the details and symbolism.
Inheritance sculpture is another powerful piece, depicting a small child surrounded by garbage. Representing the legacy of mankind and the inheritance that we are leaving for our future generations. It is a symbol to awaken and take control of the state that we are leaving for our future generations.
Anthropocene depicts a Volkswagon Beetle and is a hollowed out sculpture. The size of the installation provides the perfect shelter for small fish and other species.
The Gardener of Hope, 2009
The Gardener of Hope is one of the first installations from the artist and one of the more optimistic sculptures. It represents the entire purpose of the underwater museum to become a nurtured environment beneficial to the regrowth of the coral and the ocean. The sculpture depicts a young woman surrounding by pots of growing coral and represents hopefulness in a dire situation.
Man on Fire, 2009
Man on Fire was also one of the original sculptures submerged in 2009. It depicts the casted mold of a local fisherman and represents the unknowing damage that is being created by the industry. The sculpture was filled with fast growing fire coral, hence the name Man on Fire.