Heading to Cancun Thursday. Time to mark the spot for ZOE’s ocean home at Nizuc Resort and Spa. Here’s one visitor’s view.
From DNA-Dividing at Club Med to ZOE at Nizuc Resort and Spa, transformation is on. To get you up to speed – see the Living Sea Sculpture cover photo above? That is ZOE awaiting installation in Punta Nizuc from 2011. We were going to install off the beach of Club Med. Since Nizuc Resort and Spa only opened in 2013, they were not an option back in 2011. Timing!!
Roberto Diaz of both MUSA and Aquaworld (he’s a major doer) has been making things happen, and the government is being towed along with approving grace. Cheers to Roberto!
And big thanks to María Antonia Gonzáles Valeria who I met here in NY at a Genspace event. She went back to Mexico City to see how she could help through her university, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She introduced me to a recent marine biology graduate focusing on corals in Pueto Morelos, Serguei Rico, who is ready to meet and see how we can work to appropriately appropriate enough coral transplants for installation with his department. This is a big deal in Mexico – making sure we have the approvals since it is in a National Park protected area; corals are only available for projects after hurricanes, damage by boats, and through lab propagation. I look forward to working with Serguei and Jaime, Director of the Marine Park, to ensure ZOE becomes a Living Sea Sculpture with endangered corals colonizing.
"ZOE" at Puerto Cancun 2011. Photo by Mike Gerzevitz.
I was recently in Mexico again. From Cancun to Akumal to Isla Mujeres, I was working on clearing our way to install the DNA-inspired sculpture into the ocean. I brought a friend and technical adviser, Jennifer Indovina of Tenrehte, along to help me scout out the best locations for wifi and power sources since we are now going to be adding webcams to this coral, fish, and biodiversity refuge. She is building a custom website so you will be able to watch the evolution of the coral reef ecosystem as a virtual aquarium.
I rented a camera to capture some of the underwater life and to document potential sites for this sculpture or possibly future ones. We were swimming out from shore to look at the set up for the TurtleCams they have in Akumal Bay,
TurtleCams power supply - A View into the Blue and teens4Oceans project in collaboration with Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA)
and that’s when green turtles began to appear right below us. They were grazing on the sea grasses. I didn’t know what to expect of their behavior. They had a very casual easygoing style. From my short experience observing, I’d say they are calm, mildly curious, and like to socialize with their other grazing companions. When they swam up to the surface for gulps of air, they glided like graceful, slow-flying birds. They seem like gentle beasts that have become trusting from so many tourists, yet are not interested in interacting in any way.
Busy finding food under the butts of each other and saddled with scavenging fish on their backs and bellies, the turtles brought peaceful inspiration as I admired their beautiful shells and daily activities.
Swimming in Akumal Bay. Photo by Colleen Flanigan.
The area needs a new sewage treatment plant, which is one of the reasons the water gets so murky. If you visit the Yucatan Peninsula and stay at a hotel, ask the managers if they deep inject their sewage. Long story, but water treatment is a huge issue in Mexico. Corals are much more sensitive to certain pollutants than humans. The movie, Angel Azul by Marcy Cravat, does a beautiful job sharing about the pollution through the intersection of art and science working for the environment in the underwater museum, MUSA. She started with the story of artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, and like any good detective, she followed emerging clues, piecing together a puzzling and illuminating truth about our unsustainable systems and areas ripe for transformation.
It has been almost 3 years since we made the DNA sculpture in Cancun, so it was slightly bittersweet (chocolate) to see the steel sculpture making cameos in the background at Puerto Cancun as Jason’s and other cement sculptures were being deployed by boat. More sweet than bitter, actually, since I was so moved by the excellent filmmaking and knowing all the people and places in it. It made things even more real. I’m committed to completing this project and to growing relationships in the region through this journey. The sculpture is not in the water yet because of complications with land permits for the power source, but the ecosystem of diverse, caring people involved in this important ecological story is evolving, and so are our visions. A few years isn’t that long in geological and bureaucratic time. BUT, since I’m a human trying to help save corals dying at rapid rates~ IN THE WATER IN 2014!
I just returned from a visit to Cancun to clear the way for installation of the DNA Dividing sculpture into Punta Nizuc asap. It was a fabulous trip. Cleansing and liberating to feel the weight of waiting, some sort of peripheral crunching burden, dissolving and leaving light water vapors in its wake.
To follow the story, please visit here for the beginning. And here is today’s latest update on kickstarter.