Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the pinnacle of underwater discovery, where charter guests flock year on year to immerse themselves in the most diverse reef ecosystem in the world. In Townsville, the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) offers guests a completely unique experience of the reef.
Designed and sculpted by world-renowned British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, this is Australia’s very own Atlantis and the first ever underwater art installation in the southern hemisphere. Jason deCaires Taylor is the world’s leading underwater sculptor, and his MUSA underwater museum in Mexico has read over 1 billion people. MUSA has been the inspiration for this Australian project, and aims to inspire visitors by telling visual stories that highlight the importance of reef conservation through visual storytelling.
The vision of MOUA is to “provide an underwater experience which inspires reef conversation”, which the aim of achieving “positive environmental outcomes” by engaging the community in cultural stories of land and sea.
The first of four installations was completed in November 2019 at John Brewer Reef, 80 kilometres off the Queensland coast, with a second located at The Strand. Two further installations are planned at Magnetic and Palm Islands, completing a majestic underwater offering to enhance superyacht charters and experiences of the Great Barrier Reef.
Within the heart of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park at the John Brewer Reef is the largest MOUA installation, named the ‘Coral Greenhouse’. Weighing more than 58 tonnes, the Coral Greenhouse is the first ever underwater building created by Jason deCaires Taylor, and is filled with 20 ‘reef guardians’ who spread the message of reef conservation.
Giving an insight into this mesmerising underwater project, Jason said: “The Coral Greenhouse sculpture brings into focus diverse fields of study – marine science, coral gardening, underwater and environmental art and architecture – providing a starting point and new perspective for an understanding of the Great Barrier Reef and its ecology.
“Positioned within a natural inlet of John Brewer Reef, the Greenhouse features surrounding gardens and paving. These lead to a variety of large-scale planter boxes of coral and a series of floating trees supported by buoyancy devices. The trees are all based on local terrestrial species such as eucalyptus and umbrella palm.”
The sculptures in the Greenhouse have been cast from children of local and international schools, who are captured studying planted coral cuttings. The powerful message that these children are tending to the future, and that there is an urgent need to protect our fragile marine ecosystems, resonates with visitors, leaving a lasting impression.
The naturally formed John Brewer Reef is a magnificent diving experience, with 10-15 metre visibility, natural coral walls and a flat sandy base. The MOUA installation pays homage to the Wulgurukaba people, the natural custodians of the area who for thousands of years explored and traded along this coastal stretch.
The underwater museum is an enlightening experience which applies unique action-based learning to teach guests about the wonder of the Great Barrier Reef and the cultural story of the indigenous connection to land and sea.
For superyachts, this is a remarkable activity to include in a luxury charter itinerary. The nearby Orpheus Island Resort can be a base for superyachts to explore the surrounding reefs, and exclusive tours can be booked for this exhilarating underwater exhibition. Many of the jewels of the Ocean Alliance charter fleet operate in the area, including M/Y Beluga, M/Y Settlement and M/Y De Lisle III , all ready and waiting to deliver unforgettable entertainment on the water.
To curate your own bespoke charter itinerary and explore the possibilities of superyacht escapes in the Great Barrier Reef, contact one of the trusted Ocean Alliance team.