Posted on August 18 2017, by Els Kraakman.
Experience a one of a kind dive: The Kodiak Queen. A historical World War II ship converted to an artificial reef with a sea monster sculpture.
The Kodiak Queen, a ship originally wrecked at Pearl Harbor during WWII that’s now sunk off of Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda, has gained new life as an art installation and it’s perhaps the most exciting addition to the Caribbean underwater scene in years: the “BVI Art Reef”, the brainchild of a group of conservationists led by BVI resident Sir Richard Branson.
Far too often we see old ships and rigs languishing on beaches and junkyards, creating waste and eyesores
Before she was submerged in March 2017, artists created a kraken sculpture (a sea monster with 80-foot tentacles) out of mesh and rebar and attached it to the ship’s deck. .
The project—a collaboration among Sir Richard Branson, nonprofits, and various groups of artists and entrepreneurs—is meant to rehabilitate marine life while acting as a lab for scientists to monitor the area’s fish population.
HISTORY OF THE KODIAK QUEEN
The Kodiak Queen was first called YO-40 and was a US Navy Fuel Barge, launched in September of 1940. She was like thousands of other anonymous Navy vessels which served in peace and in war, performing the everyday mundane tasks to keep a fleet afloat.
But the humble YO-44 was there on one important day, in a battle which changed the course of American history: the YO-44 was in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the YO-44 lived to tell the tale.
According to one web account the YO-44 is one of 5 surviving ships which were at Pearl Harbor.
In 1967 she was converted to an Alaska king crab vessel and salmon tender and worked out of Kodiak Alaska. She fished and tendered in Alaska till the early 2000s when she was taken out of the fishery in what was called the “crab buyback program.”
As a condition of the buyback program she could no longer fish anywhere in the world. Now, in her final resting place, the Kodiak Queen will create even more history, serving as a permanent eco-friendly underwater art installation – giving enormous pleasure to divers for many decades to come.
The beautiful Kodiak Queen sits in a maximum depth of 57ft and has been a main attraction for scuba divers. Better still? You can snorkel the site, too, making it accessible for even more travelers.