Since the sinking of the Scylla artificial reef near Plymouth, it has attracted many divers. The ten year estimated income generated, was £63m for Plymouth. It almost killed off the Cornish diving industry. Since then, many Cornish diving businesses have failed. Falmouth does still support three recreational diving businesses, partly due to the university, partly to do with it’s location in relation to the sea.
I have an idea for an artificial reef, near Falmouth. I choose Falmouth, as it is the only area that could support the potential arrival of more divers, for both diving and non diving wise. It would be pointless putting it in Penzance, the closest place to get air for the divers, is our shop, Atlantic Scuba, in Mabe.
The reef itself will not be a ship to sink, it is quite different from that. The idea is to construct something that resembles a ship, from 3m cubed hollow concrete blocks. Each concrete block will be made up from different aggregates and recycled materials. Different materials for each block could include:
- Standard aggregates like Granite and limestone
- Added materials like crushed glass (of different colours) or rubber beads
- Sand from different parts of the country
- Cement would be restricted to a sulphate resisting cement, due tothe harsh environment
Each block would then attract different life. Some blocks would have pipes, recesses etc. as habitats. Cornwall College or Falmouth Uni, could design and experiment with the aggregates. Cornwall College could actually make the blocks. Once made, someone like Fugro or Fal Divers could maybe place the blocks in situ. Keeping the costs to a minimum, wherever possible. My idea is NOT to construct it in one go. It would be to construct it over several years, even decades. Always evolving, always generating interest. The base blocks could be solid, to help anchor the site,the rest would be hollow. The use of hollow blocks would allow cameras to be installed, away from souvenir collectors. The images could be relayed to land and available on-line, to be connected to any screen, anywhere in the world. Potentially, live underwater images in every premises in Falmouth, or anywhere. The blocks could be filled with various items to attract life, with letterbox viewers to see inside.
The finished article would be somewhere between sixty and a hundred metres long, twenty metres wide and around the top of the bridge, would be at around fifteen metres in depth. Maximum depth would be thirty metres at high water, so something for almost every level.
The potential for studying wildlife would be endless, the life of the structure would be the potential length of the wildlife study.
So that’s the idea.