Beyond the Reef British Virgin Islands with the Kodiak Queen.

If you have not heard about this fascinating new NGO artistically creating underwater ecosystems, let’s start by introducing you to the first project, the sinking of the Kodiak Queen which is spearheaded by Unite BVI.

All artificial reefs, from old airplanes to Pirate and World War Two Ships that are now pristine SCUBA diving and snorkeling spots.

1) Kodiak Queen (Formerly YO-44 in WWII) 2) Willy T’s Pirate Ship. Sunk off Key Cay, Peter Island in 2019

3) Shark Planeo- Three planes turned into various sharks and sunk off Great Dog Island.

Beyond The Reef British Virgin Islands, H2O Luxury Yachts
Beyond the Reef Art Reef Projects

Kodiak Queen, Long Bay, Virgin Gorda

Kodiak Queen is legendary! She is made even more famous as her original logbook while preparing it to sink.  It was initially named YO-44. The Kodiak Queen thought to be one of only five ships that survived Pearl Harbor.

During Pearl Harbor, she was an oil tanker filled with aviation fuel. When the carnage was all over, YO-44 was still standing. The YO- 44 then made her way to Kodiak, Alaska, where she trawled for crab commercially for the next forty years. And at that time, renamed the Kodiak Queen.

Beyond the Reef Reef Art Kodiak Queen
Beyond the Reef Reef Art Kodiak Queen

When did the Kodiak Queen arrive in the British Virgin Islands?

In the 1980s, the Kodiak Queen went to the British Virgin Islands to live out her days trawling for fish. At least that was the plan until hurricane Earl hit in 2010, and she was no longer seaworthy and abandoned at Tortola.

She tossed up on the seawall in Baughers Bay, with several overships rotting over the next six years. NB: I have two stories about WHY it was in the Virgin Islands.  

The second story was that the Kodiak Queen was taken out of the Commercial Fishing Fleet around 2000 and was never allowed to be used for commercial fishing again to follow the buyback program rules. It was used for cargo until being anchored in Road Harbour, Tortola, for hurricane Earl when it fetched up on shore, and there she remained for almost six years.

The Kodiak Queen was in the process of being scrapped for her metal when a group that meets on Richard Branson’s Necker Island once a year (Unite BVI) decided with local urging to take it on—combining it into a Conservation and Art Reef Project.

Coral Reefs worldwide are at risk, and artificial reefs for marine life are popping up worldwide. Beyond The Reef Art British Virgin Islands brings everyone together: Ocean Conservation, SCUBA Divers, Tourist Boards, and Forward-Thinking Visionaries.

Beyond the Reef BVI Kodiak Queen, H2O Luxury Yachts
Kodiak Queen before being sunk for reef art

Kodiak Queen Kraken

A massive Kraken was fabricated out of metal to create over the Ship and to create a legendary SCUBA dive. An International team came together for the building process over many months of hot, back-breaking work. After battling strong winds, she eventually sunk in April of 2017 and available for scuba diving in June. In September of 2017, two powerful category five hurricanes ran over the British Virgin Islands. However, the Kraken and Kodiak Queen survived these readily, only moving about 30′. The Metal structure of the Kraken was ripped away by the most massive North Swells seen since 1990 afterward. The coral growth and the marine life on this wreck are particularly impressive already.

Kodiak Queen
Beyond The Reef Kodiak Queen Kraken- Owen Buggy Picture

Where is the Kodiak Queen located?

The Kodiak Queen landed off Mountain Point at Long Bay on the Island of Virgin Gorda. She sets in 45′ of water, with mooring balls above it for yachts to tie up to. It is possible to see it while snorkeling, but it is better under SCUBA. There is a nominal charge of $5.00 per person, which your Captain on your yacht charter will collect from you, or you can donate directly to Beyond The Reef online.

Kraken Kodiak Queen

How Can I visit these Beyond the Reef British Virgin Islands SCUBA sites?

We at H2O Luxury Yachts are happy to set you up with charter yachts that also offer SCUBA diving on board.  We are uniquely qualified as SCUBA Instructors ourselves. It is also possible to dive the wrecks with Rendez-vous diving and one of the local dive stores. They will pick you up from your yacht at anchor, take you to the wreck site, and then back to your boat.

Kodiak Queen Project