FROM WRECK TO REEF
THE SHIP IS UNDOUBTEDLY one of mankind’s engineering marvels – it represents innovation, application of physics, complex architecture, culture, history, trade, geographies, and migration. Every ship carries stories with it, and those that sink continue to gather stories and support lives long after their years of sailing. After traversing oceans and intimately knowing their character on the surface, these ships now witness the oceans’ depth and dynamics. Like everything that enters the ocean – they become a part of it, interact and react with it.
The ever-vital ocean yields an alchemic power – it conjures habitats and niches from what it is given. For centuries, humans have been tapping on this power by using sunken ships and other objects to create and enhance fish habitats in areas of low fish abundance or high fishing pressure. Quite like a rocky reef, these objects begin to house animals that require hard surfaces to attach to – tubeworms, oysters, scallops, snails and tunicates that weren’t able to live on the muddy seafloor now have a substrate that is critical to their existence.
Shipwrecks are essentially new habitats with distinct communities living on and within them. The first organisms to arrive are usually algae and larvae. Over time, the wreck will tend to mimic adjacent and sometimes seemingly distant natural reef systems. This reveals an incredible amount of information about the movement and connectivity
For man to act upon a call to save the ocean, and for the ocean to accept man’s offering – morphing it into a habitable home for its creatures – is a beautiful act of harmony between man and sea
LEFT A diver swimming through the bridge of the found off Mt. Lavinia in Sri lanka