Reflecting On The Weight Of Water When You Snorkel The “Ocean Atlas” Sculpture
Guest Blog by David Holland (retired Canadian Navy Lieutenant)
Over coffee one morning during our month in Bahamas, we found something to do that nobody had talked about yet. Hidden in the Bahamas Clifton Heritage National Park is a place like no other …
“Ocean Atlas” is an underwater sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor. It stands 5 metres off the seafloor and weighs more than 60 tons. It was installed in the BREEF Sir Nichollas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden. There are many man-made reef balls and statues situated beside the natural reef located in that spot.
You may become one of the lucky ones that have seen this huge underwater art piece. Go to the west end of New Providence Island from Nassau, to the Bahamas Clifton Heritage National Park on Southwest Road. There is a parking lot closer to Nassau at the Jaws Beach end. But continue towards the “Stone Steps” end of the park. Turn into the main parking lot (before the fuel storage facility). We hope you will find these directions a little better than what we found before we arrived!
Park and walk into the Clifton Heritage National Park Gift Shop & Museum (open 9 am – 5 pm). Pay the $10 required to snorkel the statue. If you need to, you can rent snorkelling gear (it was $10).
Head To The Coral Reef Sculpture Garden
After you are banded like a resort guest, walk down the roadway a few minutes towards the beach area. The site is well marked by the BREEF Sir Nichollas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden sign at a nice raised platform hut structure.
Look out to the water. The ring of surface buoys marks the area where the 60 ton 5 metre high “Ocean Atlas” statue has been assembled underwater by artist Jason deCaires Taylor. (http://www.underwatersculpture.com/sculptures/overview/).
From the sandy beach, snorkel past the shoreline rocks. Follow the reef balls out to the Ocean Atlas sculpture area. But watch out for the big face on your swim out.
Even before you hit the major statue attraction, the snorkelling was interesting. Fish bowls guide you to the statue. You will also find a good reef with both fish and coral on display.
Snorkel Around The Ocean Atlas Underwater Sculpture
The huge Ocean Atlas statue is impressive to snorkel out to. Take a big breath and dive down to the bottom (look up, then around). Or just stay on the surface and look down at the statue. There are small fish swimming around the big statue. Much had yet taken root on the new artificial reef when we visited.
During low tide the Bahamian face appears to be reflecting on the weight of water above her.
After visiting “Ocean Atlas”, relax on the beach and explore the Clifton Heritage National Park site. There are several interesting and informative display areas that help educate the visitors about the island’s history. Plan on spending a good part of the day to walk the entire grounds with snorkelling and relaxing on the beach as part of your day.
Don’t Miss A Visit To Snorkel the Ocean Atlas Underwater Sculpture
The trip to Bahamas Clifton Heritage National Park is very educational and well worth the trip to the west end of New Providence Island. Enjoy the snorkelling!
Take note – if the Gift Shop is NOT renting snorkelling gear or say there is an oil slick DO NOT go snorkelling. If you do, you will spend too much time cleaning yourself and any gear!!! It was not a small simple gas slick when we snorkelled. It was a major film of very messy fuels on the surface. And it took hours to clean our snorkelling equipment, clothes and hair.
This was an interesting adventure away from snorkelling in the waters outside our condo along the new eco reef being established on Cable Beach!
Did you snorkel Ocean Atlas in Nassau Bahamas? Have you been to other Jason deCaires Taylor underwater sculptures? Are there any other hidden gems that should be on our snorkelling list in Nassau?
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I’m planning my trip to Bahamas in December and I just wanted to tell you THANK YOU for sharing this post. I can’t wait to discover this spot and take pictures. Keep going what you did that’s awesome !
Yelen, a french girl who loves to travel around the world
Yelen, Thanks for the feedback. We hope you will enjoy this underwater sculpture. Make sure to check on the state of the water when you go. We had an oil slick and it made it very uncomfortable. Enjoy! Linda and David
Thank you very much for your advice ! Do you know how is it possible to check the state of the water ? (name of the website if you have?). Also, it is difficult to find the sport or it is directly on Clifton Heritage beach ? We will take a cab so I want to make sure that we will find it easily.
Sorry to bother you and thank you very much for your help !! I really appreciate it. I’m looking forward to go there 🙂
Yelen, We did not find a web site to check in advance. You may want to see if there is a phone number somewhere and call in advance. If they are not renting snorkelling gear, that would be a good signal that the water is bad and you might not want to go that day. I really don’t remember whether it was well signed or not and we have not been back on subsequent trips to Nassau. If you call them, you can ask them for better instructions for the taxi. Linda
Wow I never knew those sculptures existed. It reminds me of the lost city of Atlantis
Donna, We were amazed at the sculptures we found underwater in Nassau. A fun way to spend an afternoon. Linda
This is so cool. I had seen many pictures of the different Underwater sculpture gardens in and around the Bahamas Clifton Heritage National Park. But every pic I ever saw showed people scuba diving around them. So this makes me so happy that you can simply snorkel the waters and still see all that there is within the Ocean Atlas Sculpture. I bet the fish that now live in the sculpture are so beautiful as well.
Eric, We were happy when we found we could snorkel around the Ocean Atlas statue. David can dive when he snorkels so he got quite close. I do tend to bob a bit! We have loved scuba diving and snorkelling on other underwater art pieces. Linda
It’s been ages since I’ve been scuba diving, although I have been snorkelling! Seeing the sculptures underwater adds a new depth to scuba diving though, looks beautiful. I love the fact that Bahamas Clifton Heritage National Park make the day an educational trip learning about the history. It is a shame to see the pollution with the fuels floating to the surface, however, it sounds like there are some awesome dive spots in Nassau… it’s on the list!
Vanessa, We were certainly glad we found the underwater sculptures at Cliftons National Park. It was great to follow the path out over the other sculptures to find the main attraction. Linda
I always want to travel to Bahamas but the ocean Atlas sculptures took my breath away. This is like an experience of life time, where one can get to see coral reefs along with these nice sculptures down in the ocean. I liked the practical tips offered by you regarding the washing of snorkeling suits.
Ramya, We were certainly happy we discovered the Ocean Atlas site. Even if we did need to clean our gear afterwards. Love when we find great underwater discoveries like this. Linda
I saw these underwater pictures of sculptures, and they always make an amazing impression on me. Snorkeling, there must be a great experience. I had no idea that it is a 60 ton weigh 5 meter high. Impressive!
Agnes, We love to head underwater whenever we can. And always extra special when we find underwater treats like the Ocean Atlas. Linda