Vibrant colours have given added spark and personality to a popular mermaid statue recently unveiled at the Montego Bay Marine Park. There are also plans to install an information board near what is being dubbed the waterfront’s latest attraction.
The Park’s Executive Director, Hugh Shim, says a surprising number of people have been visiting the MBMP to see the mermaid statue and ask about the mythical creature.
Those who want a close up look, and to maybe take a selfie with the statue need to act quickly. The MBMP is currently awaiting approval from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to crane-lift it to the location identified as Jamaica’s first and Latin America’s fourth underwater sculpture park behind Mexico, Grenada, and The Bahamas.
While they wait, Shim and his team decided to enhance the appearance of the environmentally friendly figure.
“The statue was painted with water-based (nontoxic) paints, because we wanted to make it a little bit more attractive,” he says.
He added that there are plans to build out the underwater attraction with two additional statues in the coming year. Construction is set to begin in February.
With the establishment of the underwater features, the Montego Bay Marine Park is adding to its menu of points-of-interest for underwater adventure seekers, such as scuba divers and snorkelers, and those who would prefer experiencing the grandeur of the coral reefs from above on glass bottom boat tours.
Shim described the coral reefs condition as “pretty stable” and says it will improve once the sculpture is placed in the sea.
“It is also hoped that the Montego Bay Underwater Sculpture Park will take the strain off some of the popular reefs and dive sites,” he says. “We are not having it for recreational purposes (only), meaning people can snorkel and swim around (but) it is supposed to actually attract more small fish that can grow around it (and) can also attract coral growth.”
The mermaid statue was unveiled on Saturday, October 23, and is being touted as a symbol of hope for the rejuvenation of the Montego Bay Coral Reef, which is making a comeback from degradation.