Ever since I went to Disneyworld as a child and experienced the broad, sweeping drama of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (the ride), I have been obsessed with underwater construction. Give me turquoise waves and sunlight penetrating the depths. Give me Atlantis, the fantasy of an underwater world.
One of my favorite memories from Australia includes a sailboat and the Great Barrier Reef. We spent three days in blistering sunlight and whole afternoons underwater, our wetsuits guarding against box jellies and our flippers propelling us silently forward. I dove toward the coral again and again, feeling my snorkel bubble full of salt water as I listened to the crunch of parrotfish jaws, their neon flanks and blue backs clustered like birds beneath me.
Once I swam so far from my boat I lost sight of it. I was a bit nervous, paddling through the quiet, I began to tread water and broke the surface. The ocean was flat and perfect as a postcard; the sky, full of clouds, butted gently against it. I turned around and stretched in the direction from which I had come, and when I submerged this is what I saw.
The sea turtle was huge, at least half my size, and we swam side by side for several minutes, time stretching to infinity underwater. The magic and mystery is beyond my description, but something about Jason deCaires Taylor stirs it in me. His latest installation, The Silent Evolution, reveals 400 life-sized sculptures off the coast of Cancun. Several earlier works are much further along in their colonization. Here we see the work of marine life on human form, and we are left to dream of a wilder place, of what might wait for us if we paddle toward the horizon and choose to never look back.