MUSA – An Underwater Museum Off Isla Mujeres
We’ve been to plenty of strange museums during our travels around the world. An optical illusion museum in Busan. A bordello museum in Idaho. The Museum of Innocence in Istanbul and a phallological museum in Iceland. But there’s a new contender for the title of most unique museum we’ve seen: the MUSA, an underwater museum found off the coast of Isla Mujeres.
The MUSA, or Museo Subacuático de Arte, is the brainchild of Jason DeCaires Taylor, a British artist who was motivated to act after the devastation of 2008′s Hurricane Wilma. By designing sculptures and placing them on the sandy bottom of the sea, Taylor was fulfilling two purposes. First, he was creating an artificial reef onto which coral would grow and within which sea life might flourish. Second, he was diverting human attention away from the overtaxed natural reef.
Both of these aims have been met. Visiting the museum requires an easy dive of just 8 meters (24 feet), and the installations are fascinating. The sculptures include a miniature house, a Volkswagen Beetle and a haunting collection of human statues, frozen in time. If you look closely, each person in this group is different, from a pregnant woman to a kneeling priest, and they’re all slowly being claimed by the coral.
Our visit to the MUSA was the first of two dives we made this day. The second was to a nearby reef called Manchones. Another shallow dive, we swam along with an incredible array of big fish. Our most exciting discovery was a Stonefish. It was shifting a little as I passed over, otherwise I’d never have spotted it. I motioned to Jürgen, pointing right at the fish, but it was so well-camouflaged that he didn’t immediately see it, even though I was just a couple feet away, pointing frantically. I dared not get closer; these are among the most poisonous fish in the world, and a single sting can prove fatal.
More images from the underwater museum:
More photos from the Manchones Reef:
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January 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm