What happens when you purposely sink an historic WWII ship with a large scale sculpture of a giant octopus? A new fascinating marine experiment blending art and coral reef planting dubbed The Maverick BVI Art Reef.

The unique project started when British Virgin Islands marine mechanic and photographer Owen Buggy discovered a ship called the Kodiak Queen in a local scrap metal yard. A few years earlier historian Mike Cochran had spied the same ship and assembled a webpage dedicated to its history.

The Kodiak Queen turned out to be one of the few surviving ships from the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Commissioned in 1941 as the USS YO-44, the ship searched for survivors in the wake of the horrific attack in WWII.

Buggy formed a collaborative team with the goal of sinking the ship and using it as a foundation to create an artificial coral reef. Billionaire Richard Branson then stepped in to help fund the project through his not-for-profit foundation called Unite BVI.

In classic Branson fashion he told the group during a brainstorming session: "Don't think what's the cheapest way to do it or what's the fastest way to do it ... think, 'What's the most AMAZING way to do it?'"

Artists Mike Cline and Aydika James heard Branson's call for something amazing and pitched the idea of incorporating a giant octopus into the wreckage, turning the artificial reef into a spectacular art project that would grow and change as it becomes enveloped by the marine ecosystem.

The giant, strange experiment reached fruition in April 2017 and was successfully sunk in the British Virgin Islands. Months later the artificial reef is now open to the diving public and showing early signs of a burgeoning young reef ecosystem. As coral inevitably grows on the huge kraken-like octopus mould, this will surely develop into a spectacular underwater eco-art piece.

Take a look through the photo gallery to get a closer look at this spectacle.

Source: BVI Art Reef

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