Between the 7th and 8th of December, a Guinness Book World Record will be on view at the Turbine Hotel in Knysna. This incredible event will be aimed towards the world’s largest underwater sculpture to date: the iconic Knysna Seahorse. The sculpture was designed by visionary artist and passionate environmentalist Charl Frank and his assistant Themba Charlie, who successfully completed the plasticine clay seahorse – named Anoeschka – in mid-October. Weighing in at 312kg, and a massive 1,21m by 1,63m, it was designed and modelled entirely underwater, in the Turbine Hotel’s swimming pool.
“I loved working under water because you are weightless and can move around effortlessly to get to every nook and cranny,” said Frank. “The only thing I missed was listening to Mozart. Mozart accentuates the creative zone.”
This record-breaking event will coincide with, and is a prelude to, the launch of the Knysna Estuary being proclaimed an official international Hope Spot, placing it on the international marine conservation map.
A Hope Spot can be defined as a special marine conservation area that is critical to the health of the ocean, and that promotes conservation of marine biodiversity and human activities that are totally inclusive. Hope Spots are also important for maintaining biodiversity and endangered habitats. They are people-orientated; areas in which individuals and communities are given opportunities to make a positive difference to their own coastal and marine environment.
Referring back to the seahorse sculpture, Vernon Gibbs-Halls, of Eden District Municipality, said “the sculpture will bear testimony to conservation in perpetuity of the rich biodiversity of the Knysna Estuary.”
While around 12% of the land around the world is now under some form of protection, less than 3% of the ocean is protected in any way. Mission Blue, a global conservation initiative and ocean community hub, are committed to changing these statistics.
As such, on the 7th of December, the founder of Mission Blue – Dr Sylvia Earle – will be in Knysna to launch the Hope Spot; one of only six international Hope Spots in South Africa.
The Knysna Hope Spot is a collaborative initiative between Eden District Municipality, SANParks, the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs, the Knysna Municipality, the Garden Route Initiative, the Knysna Basin Project, Thesen Home Owners Association, Biowise, CapeNature, Naturally Knysna and Blue Pebble.
The Knysna Lagoon, which the town is primarily built along the shore of, enjoys the only sustained population of Knysna Seahorses – small delicate creatures that only grow up to 12cm long. On land, Knysna is already protected as a National Park, but will the support of Mission Blue, this protection will spread to the waters.
Tickets to this exciting, once-in-a-lifetime event at the Turbine Hotel are R150, and includes a finger dinner. To book your tickets, contact the Knysna Tourism Office on 044 382 5510, or contact The Turbine directly at 044 302 5746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.