Historical WWII ship converted to an artificial reef with a sea monster sculpture


Experience a one of a kind dive: The Kodiak Queen. A historical World War II ship converted to an artificial reef with a sea monster sculpture.

The Kodiak Queen, a ship originally wrecked at Pearl Harbor during WWII that’s now sunk off of Mountain Point, Virgin Gorda, has gained new life as an art installation and it’s perhaps the most exciting addition to the Caribbean underwater scene in years: the “BVI Art Reef”, the brainchild of a group of conservationists led by BVI resident Sir Richard Branson.

Far too often we see old ships and rigs languishing on beaches and junkyards, creating waste and eyesores.

The Kodiak Queen will show the world just how useful these disused vessels can be for capturing people’s attention on the importance of addressing climate change, protecting coral reefs, and rehabilitating vulnerable marine species.

Before she was submerged in March 2017, artists created a kraken sculpture (a sea monster with 80-foot tentacles) out of mesh and rebar and attached it to the ship’s deck.

The beautiful Kodiak Queen sits in a maximum depth of 57ft and has been a main attraction for scuba divers. Better still? You can snorkel the site, too, making it accessible for even more travelers.

The project—a collaboration among Sir Richard Branson, nonprofits, and various groups of artists and entrepreneurs—is meant to rehabilitate marine life while acting as a lab for scientists to monitor the area’s fish population.

The Kodiak Queen – Documentary

In 2017, Rob documented the groundbreaking transformation of a decorated WWII warship (one of a handful of boats that survived the attack on Pearl Harbor) into an underwater art installation and marine life habitat. Rob captured Richard Branson and a global network of philanthropists and artists bringing the Kodiak Queen from Tortola to her final resting place on the ocean floor of Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands.

The Kodiak Queen is about the ground-breaking transformation of a decorated WWII warship that survived Pearl Harbour, into an artificial reef and dive site by Richard Branson in the British Virgin Islands.

The essence of the project was to inspire a generation of ocean lovers. But it soon revealed itself to be about something much bigger.

On the 6th of September 2017, Hurricane Irma released its ferocious power across the Caribbean and Florida Keys. Irma left behind a trail of unimaginable destruction, devastating the lives of thousands of people.

In this haunting film, Academy Award winner Kate Winslet and award winning filmmaker Rob Sorrenti remind us of the momentous task ahead restoring the British Virgin Islands.

Proceeds from the documentary benefit the Unite BVI Foundation.


The Kodiak Queen was first called YO-40 and was a US Navy Fuel Barge, launched in September of 1940. She was like thousands of other anonymous Navy vessels which served in peace and in war, performing the everyday mundane tasks to keep a fleet afloat.

But the humble YO-44 was there on one important day, in a battle which changed the course of American history: the YO-44 was in the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the YO-44 lived to tell the tale.

According to one web account the YO-44 is one of 5 surviving ships which were at Pearl Harbor.

In 1967 she was converted to an Alaska king crab vessel and salmon tender and worked out of Kodiak Alaska. She fished and tendered in Alaska till the early 2000s when she was taken out of the fishery in what was called the “crab buyback program.”

As a condition of the buyback program she could no longer fish anywhere in the world. Now, in her final resting place, the Kodiak Queen will create even more history, serving as a permanent eco-friendly underwater art installation – giving enormous pleasure to divers for many decades to come.

Source BVI Yacht Charters

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January 14, 2019 |

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