The thousands-year search for Atlantis can come to an end.
It is – or soon could be – alive and well off Cayman Brac.
A proposal to build the Lost City of Atlantis in the waters off the north coast of Cayman Brac will go before Cabinet in the New Year, said Permanent Secretary for Tourism, Ms Gloria McField-Nixon.
The proposed project is the brainchild of a sculptor living on Cayman Brac, who wishes to be known simply as ‘Foots’.
The 51-year-old artist, who says he was born in Munich and ‘raised everywhere’, said constructing the underwater city has been a dream of his since he was nine years old.
Foots’ vision is to build the city in a series of phases, which will eventually number more than 100 pieces and weigh more than 300 tons. Every four to six months, another phase would be added, so tourists would keep returning to see how the city was progressing, he said.
The proposal is to place the city near a popular scuba and snorkel site, known as Radar Reef, on Cayman Brac’s north side. It would cover a sandy area about 100 yards west of the steps into the ocean at the Stake Bay Ramp, where it would be easily accessible to divers and snorkellers.
The entire city would consist of sculptures cast from moulds created by Foots. He claims that the blend of material used – a mixture of crushed rock, sand and cement – is impervious to water damage and would attract marine life, becoming an artificial reef within three to five years.
The artist explained that he would hand craft each piece of Cayman’s Lost City of Atlantis in his outdoor studio on Cayman Brac, where he has already built the first phase: eleven columns known as the ‘Inner Circle of Life’ and a huge 10,000-pound sundial. He said he hopes the first phase will be placed under water by the end of the first quarter of 2005.
Foots envisions this creation as an ongoing story, which progresses with each additional sculpture. His ambitious plans include an Archway to Atlantis, which is already under construction, and 11 human figures called Elders. Like an underwater waxworks museum, each of the elders would resemble a person living in the world today, and the identity of the first elder would be unveiled at a launching ceremony prior to the sinking of phase 1.
His vision of the completed project includes a 16ft high Pyramid of Atlantis, which he believes would be a great place for underwater weddings. The pyramid, weighing in at 30,000 pounds with its base, would have to be constructed at the Creek dock, since the crane would be needed to pick it up.
Foots says a plaque on a large base within the City would be dedicated to Tourism Minister McKeeva Bush and Minister of Communication, Planning, District Administration and IT, Ms Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, for their efforts to sustain tourism and re-energize the Cayman Islands.
The artist claims that, should a major hurricane hit Cayman Brac, his sculptures might shift a little in the sand but would not be destroyed. He has already spent $10,000 to $12,000 on equipment, shipping, moulds, duty and freight and is donating his time, he said.
Though many dismiss the story of Atlantis as pure myth, speculation over its location has raged for over 2,000 years. The earliest surviving written reference to the fabled city is by Plato who described it in 360BC as a utopian island-continent that vanished suddenly into the sea.
Foots believes that, with the continued interest in the legendary civilization, his one-of-a-kind underwater sculpture would make Cayman Brac an even more special place to visit. He thinks the project would be a more effective tourism attraction than the Russian Destroyer, a popular dive site on the North West coast.
Cayman’s Lost City of Atlantis would become a major reason why divers and snorkellers choose the Cayman Islands for their stay over or day visit, he believes.
If approved, Divi Tiara Beach Resort would become the staging area for these developments, where the pieces will be displayed prior to sinking.