NORMALLY, THE ONLY MAN-MADE STRUCTURES I come across under water (wrecks aside) are toilet bowls, collapsed piers and the odd computer screen.
So on a recent trip to Grenada, I was intrigued by the prospect of seeing the submarine art gallery at Moliniere Bay.
I was all set to sign up for a snorkelling trip with my other half when it was suggested that for our morning dive we could take in Dragon Bay in the marine park, then continue to Moliniere to complete the dive.
Its not every day that a dive ends exploring sculptures in 5-7m of water, so it was out with the snorkels and in with the scuba.
The worlds first underwater sculpture park was created by British artist and dive instructor Jason de Caires Taylor. Begun in May 2006, it includes 65 pieces made from materials such as concrete and steel that form a continually evolving artificial reef. Gradually colonised by marine life, the works are changing day by day.
It was a beautiful day as we set off from Pink Gin Beach, heading up the west coast of the island beyond the capital, St Georges, and towards the sheltered bays of the Marine Protected Area. Most dive-sites on this coast can be reached quickly from dive centres by boat, the trips giving excellent views of the convoluted coastline and hilly towns and villages.
Within 20 minutes we had reached Dragon Bay, where we were briefed on the gullies and channels we were to follow, and on the life we might see en route.
As promised, it was a nice easy drift, with plenty to see at depths up to 25m. Visibility was reasonable (15-20m) and there was an abundance of hard corals, big gorgonians, reef fish and moray eels.
After a 30-minute amble, however, we came to a sandy channel where visibility suddenly worsened significantly, the turbidity reducing our view ahead to only a few metres.
Then, from the gloom, the first sculpture emerged - The Fall From Grace, a life-sized piece depicting a man riding a bicycle into the reef.
I wasnt that blown away by it, but this was mainly because I had to be so close to see it that its impact was a bit lost. Undeterred, however, I followed the guide.
The next piece pointed out to us was La Diablesse, which I had been looking forward to seeing. The She-Devil is a character in Grenadian folklore who enchants men before leading them to their deaths. In the dive briefing, we had been told that the statues face also had the look of Michael Jackson!
Alas, when we came upon La Diablesse she had been toppled over (presumably by the current and surge) and lay face down in the sand. We were not, therefore, able to look into the eyes of the concrete corpse. Nonetheless, the prostrate figure did have a certain je ne sais quoi.
As we turned into another gully, the water became clearer and visibility improved. We saw the next sculpture before bumping into it!
The Lost Correspondent is a realistic figure of a man sitting at a desk typing. Enveloped in a covering of silt, algae beginning to take hold and hands poised, the figure seemed frozen in time.
Yet at the same time, here was a moment of visual history slowly deteriorating. In a nice, now hidden, touch, underneath the silt of The Lost Correspondents desk are laminated newspapers that feature articles of note about Grenada.
This sculpture had extra interest for me, as it was a life-cast of the manager of the dive centre with which I was diving. How he came to be the model, I dont know.

ON WE WENT, AND CAME UPON The Un-Still Life, a small table set in the sand with a jug and bowl of fruit atop, another appealing piece and
a traditional subject given a not-so-traditional treatment. Tempting as it was to pick up the bowl, dust it off and select an apple, we left the feasting to small reef fish and a rather fine featherduster worm that had taken up residence.
The most celebrated sculpture in the underwater gallery is probably Vicissitudes, a circle of 26 life-sized figures holding hands on a sandy bottom at 4.5m. By the time we reached it, visibility had deteriorated once again to just a few metres. However, this in itself created an eerie atmosphere around the sculpture, and gave it quite a powerful impact.
In the gloom the figures, their bodies beginning to be colonised by sessile marine life, had a much more realistic, if unsettling, presence than they might have had in bright, clear water.
Our safety stop hovering in the middle of Vicissitudes gave us three minutes in which to reflect on life, art and the undersea world. By the time we surfaced, I was beginning to get this unique project. Its about anything you want it to be about - art is subjective, after all!
The underwater sculpture park was unusual, interesting and, at times, thought-provoking. It was memorable for various reasons, including the poorest vis I have seen in the Caribbean.
But I would still recommend that if you visit Grenada you leave room in your dive schedule for this unique experience. The Bianca C it aint, but it is very worthwhile nonetheless.