His­tory Reimag­ined

BVI’S new­est wreck wit­nessed an in­fa­mous, his­toric event be­fore tak­ing on a new life

Sport Diver - - Dive Briefs -

One of only five sur­viv­ing ships from the at­tack on Pearl Har­bor, YO- 44 was not in line to be con­verted to a mu­seum or stud­ied for his­tory-book fod­der. In­stead, the for­mer Navy fuel barge was wast­ing away in a Tor­tola ship­yard, wait­ing to be scrapped for metal.

That was be­fore a for­ward-think­ing group found it. Now, the 158-foot ves­sel has been re­pur­posed as an eye-catch­ing ar­ti­fi­cial reef, com­plete with a mas­sive kraken-like sculp­ture — made of mesh and re­bar, with 80-foot ten­ta­cles — guard­ing its deck. The wreck, to be sunk at 65 feet in a site south of Vir­gin Gorda’s Moun­tain Point in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, was sched­uled to be scut­tled in April. Co­ral restora­tion, go­liath grouper re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and con­ser­va­tion ed­u­ca­tion are among the project’s goals. It’s a joint ef­fort be­tween sev­eral groups that traces its ori­gin to a think-tank chal­lenge on Richard Bran­son’s Necker Is­land.

“This project pro­vides an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity to cap­ture peo­ple’s at­ten­tion and then to re­fo­cus it on im­por­tant is­sues fac­ing our oceans,” says Bran­son. “Per­haps most im­por­tant, this project will hope­fully ex­cite our youth here in the BVI to put a mask on and to ex­plore the magic of our un­der­wa­ter world and be in­spired to spend their adult years ad­vo­cat­ing for how im­por­tant it is to pro­tect our reefs.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.