Marine Artist Guy Harvey Plans to Support Rapa Nui Reef with Science and Research

Wednesday, 03 June 2015

When 15 cast concrete sculptures slip beneath the waves this Sunday off Deerfield Beach, Florida, the Rapa Nui Reef will not only begin its life as underwater public art and dive site, but, according to marine scientist and artist Guy Harvey, it will be a new location for marine biologists to plant a flag for research.

“Creating an artificial reef using replicas of the iconic art from Easter Island is simply a superb idea, one that not only will prove to be a major attraction for divers but an attraction for many forms of underwater life” said Harvey, who lent his name, support and iconic signature to the sinking in 1997 of the Guy Harvey, a wreck that sits in 140 feet as an artificial reef in nearby Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

Harvey, who holds a PhD in marine fisheries science, has through his foundation, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), funded numerous marine research projects over the last several years, including an ongoing study of the effects of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  GHOF has also collaborated with Florida Key¹s based REEF and the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, which houses the Guy Harvey Research Institute and the National Coral Reef Institute for research and training on coral reef assessment, monitoring and restoration.

“We are currently looking at ways to invest science into the launch of this new reef project, which is currently described as just a desert, only sand,” he said.  “The sinking of the barge and sculptures is a great start.”

Expected to quickly become an international dive sensation, The Rapa Nui Reef is a tribute to the stone figures (Moai) of the remote Polynesian Easter Island.  The large, iconic stone figures were erected between 1250 and 1500.

The Moai, ranging from heights of six to 22 feet, are displayed over concrete structures organized to facilitate the growth of marine life.  The entire sculpture is affixed to a 150¹ by 45¹ by 9¹ steel barge to allow for stability, transportation and sinking.  The new reef will be sunk in 70 feet of water between the second and third reef directly off the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier.

Boca Raton philanthropist Margaret Blume, through a primary sponsorship with the Deerfield Beach Woman¹s Club, funded $500,000 for the project.  As Founder and Project Director Blume met with Dixie Divers owner Arilton Pavan and then commissioned artist Dennis MacDonald of Zibitz Studios to create the sculptures.

About The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funds inspired scientific research and innovative educational programs to encourage conservation and best management practices for sustainable marine environments.  The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation will help ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced marine ecosystem where fish and other wildlife flourish.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 03 June 2015 )