Offbeat Swim With a Pineapple Under the Sea at America's First Museum for Scuba Divers

09:35  11 may  2018
09:35  11 may  2018 Source:   mentalfloss.com

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At the first underwater museum in the U. S ., you’ll find a motley crew of characters. There' s an oversized skull, a deer, a pineapple , and a model of undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau' s scuba mask. "It' s the Gulf of Mexico. Anything could swim by you," McAlexander says.

Real estate deal gone bad led to three Brampton, Ont. men being viciously beaten: police. Swim With a Pineapple Under the Sea at America ' s First Museum for Scuba Divers .

  Swim With a Pineapple Under the Sea at America's First Museum for Scuba Divers © iStock At the first underwater museum in the U.S., you’ll find a motley crew of characters. There's an oversized skull, a deer, a pineapple, and a model of undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau's scuba mask.

Seven sculptures in total are coming to the Underwater Museum of Art—UMA for short, pronounced like the actress—which will make its debut off the coast of South Walton, Florida, in late June.

a close up of a tree: A skull sculpture© Provided by The Week Publications A skull sculpture

Unlike most museums, visitors don't need to buy tickets. But they will need their own scuba or freediving gear, plus a boat to get to the diving spot, which is located less than a mile off the coast of Grayton Beach.

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1500 s - Leonardo da Vinci designs the first known scuba . 1828 - Lemaire d'Augerville patents a " swimming belt" designed to enable divers to swim in mid-water and ascend or descend as needed for their 1869: Jules Verne popularizes the concept of scuba in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea .

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The sculptures lie at a depth of 60 feet in an area containing an artificial reef, which has grown over the years in an effort to encourage marine life. And statues certainly aren't the only thing to admire underwater—divers have a good chance of spotting turtles, snappers, groupers, and all types of reef fish, according to Andy McAlexander, president of the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA), which founded the museum in collaboration with the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA).

"It's the Gulf of Mexico. Anything could swim by you," McAlexander says.

underwater view of a swimming pool: A turtle reef© Provided by The Week Publications A turtle reef

McAlexander played a key role in helping UMA get off the ground, and organizers plan to continue expanding their underwater art collection. "We plan on doing it every year, so we'll select between five and seven [artworks] a year from now on," he tells Mental Floss.

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Museum in Florida opens the first under the sea museum for scuba divers . The museum contains several art pieces including a pineapple under the sea . To enter the museum , visitors don’t need to purchase tickets.

Welcome to the scuba museum . This site is a personal museum of my greatest passion. Divers fighting in Silver Springs during the 50th anniversary of SEA HUNT. Frogwoman swimming below the glass Bottom boat at Sea Hunt Forever 2017.

When the CAA put out the call for artists who wanted to submit (and submerge) their artwork, they received about 20 entries. Above all else, the sculptures had to be environmentally-friendly and toxin-free, so materials were limited to steel, concrete, and aluminum. That was no problem for artist Rachel Herring, whose father owns a metal fabricating shop. She had taken a few welding lessons from him in the past and put that knowledge to use to construct a large, metal pineapple.

a person standing in front of a tree: A pineapple sculpture© Provided by The Week Publications A pineapple sculpture

"The pineapple is the symbol of friendship and welcoming, and what better way to welcome wildlife and tourists alike to the Underwater Museum of Art?" Herring writes on her website. "It is intentionally hollow to shelter small fish and wildlife. From above, the leaves splay out to create the view of a sun from above, which is the symbol of life."

Another sculpture mimicking Aqua Lung, a scuba mask invented in the '40s by Cousteau and Émile Gagnan, was created with help from local school students.

The museum may be the first permanent underwater sculpture exhibit in the U.S., but there are other places to see submerged art. In Key Largo, Florida, an underwater sculpture dubbed "Christ of the Abyss" depicts Jesus with outstretched arms.

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