US-based company Reef Worlds has been transforming the holiday experience at a number of resorts recently in a very unique way. Designed by divers and created by design teams who have worked on Hollywood blockbusters including Lord of the Rings, Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean, Reef Worlds’ unique green ‘ocean structures’ are giving beachfront resorts an added wow factor – underwater.
The company also creates imaginative underwater reefs for private homes and was commissioned recently by a fractional development to come with a design for its resort.
Reef World “Guardians” use ecological materials which are created to be havens for regional marine life. The intelligent ‘marine integration technology’ utilises local rock and ancient coral beds to build “made to order” underwater structures on site.
Dave Taylor, head of Development at Reef Worlds, says one of his most recent projects has been working with resorts in Phuket to create sustainable artificial reef systems.
“It’s something NGOs [non-government organizations] has been looking to do for years; engage developments to take stake of their oceans, and what we’re looking to do is build iconic forms underwater,” he said.
By using crushed rock sourced from ancient coral beds, together with low PH concrete for their structures Reef Worlds create a “super platform” for wildlife, including living coral, to adhere to. These underwater life forms then attract the charismatic mega fauna like sharks and manta rays that tourists want to see, explained Taylor.
Sometimes, however, the underwater environment is not suitable, in which case Reef Worlds will not undertake a project as Taylor believes it’s important to protect the ocean’s natural balance. Reef Worlds looks for white-sand bottoms or crushed coral flats that are “denuded of life” because it promotes “do no harm tourism” as Taylor explained. As part of this philosophy, Reef Worlds provides 10 years of follow-up analysis for their reefs.
One major example of how the new reefs can help the underwater ecological balance is the famous dive spot the Great Barrier Reef which is now under pressure because so much diving takes place around it. Taylor says that carefully placed five to ten acre Reef Worlds sites on the inshore sand bed areas off The Great Barrier Reef would relieve tourism pressure from the many thousands of non certified divers and snorkelers who “should not be on A Class reef habitats in the first place”.
Taylor also points out the eco benefits of cultivating the new reefs at resorts: “For resort and developments seeking to leave a smaller footprint, cut down on green house emissions, and keep their clients engaged on their properties Reef Worlds makes both economic and ecological sense.”
Last but not least, says Taylor, “Reef Worlds structures work not only as tourist draws or marine life aggregators, they can also act as wave attenuators in smaller and larger bays where seasonal storms often wash away prime beach front at the cost of many millions of dollars globally to resort and developments each and every year.”