Fiirst artefact has been placed 14 metres down in the Underwater Curiosity Park
After three years of planning and obtaining the necessary licences from various authorities, the first artefact has been placed 14 metres down on the seabed in Balaclava Bay - just outside and to the south of Portland Harbour's southerly (Hood) entrance.
The brainchild of Derek Luckhurst and another element of his Castletown Regeneration initiative, the Underwater Curiosity Park (UCP) will be a 5,000 square metre (just over the size of a football pitch) area of seabed containing up to 25 artefacts or curiosities. The first artefact is an eight feet high deep-sea diver made from stone and cement and this will be followed by an 10 feet long shark. Other objects to follow include a number of large Admiralty anchors, a canon or two, a length of six feet wide tube and a large concrete model of a crab.This Curiosity Park in Balaclava Bay will offer an interesting dive with multiple attractions in a relatively shallow safe and weather protected area which will be particularly attractive to trainee and novice divers.
Derek explained: "Castletown used to have a thriving tourist industry from scuba divers who came to the area to take advantage of the exciting wreck diving opportunities and natural underwater attractions. However, many moved on to other locations where attractions have been created and investment made in the dive facilities and infrastructure. As part of the drive to enhance the facilities of Castletown, I have also built a Scuba Dive Centre designed to accommodate a shop and training school. I am currently looking for anyone who might be interested in taking on this building as a business opportunity".
Derek is also looking for additional items to be deposited on the seabed in the UCP and is inviting members of the public who have anything to contribute to contact him. "Artefacts should be reasonably large and heavy so they don't wash away and, of course, should be environmentally friendly. I am particularly interested in anything with a Weymouth and Portland connection, such as a sculpture out of Portland stone, a piece of old quarrying equipment or even an old tractor which has been cleared of oil and grease."
If you are interested in the Dive Centre business or have an item to offer, please contact Derek by calling the Portland Tourist Information Centre on 01305 443333 and speaking to Sarah Newman. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Portland Tourist Information Centre, Crabber's Wharf, Castletown, Portland, DT5 1BD.