There is no shortage of beautiful sights in the Caribbean, but there is one that only so many can see… because it is in 55 feet of water off Grand Cayman Island. It is this magnificent mermaid statue named Amphitrite. Thousands of divers flock to Grand Cayman to see Amphitrite every year.
Amphitrite is a 9 foot tall, 600-pound bronze mermaid statue located off the beach of Sunset House Resort. Created by Canadian sculptor and avid SCUBA enthusiast, Simon Morris, and installed in 2000, Amphitrite is actually the second of her kind. In 1989, the first statue, named the Emerald Princess, was placed in the waters of Powell River, British Columbia, Canada. These two statues are virtually identical.
While BC’s Emerald Princess is a great attraction with dive enthusiasts, it is Amphitrite who attracts even more attention due to her location in the glorious warm waters of idyllic Grand Cayman.
Who Was Amphitrite?
In Greek mythology, Amphitrite was the wife of Poseidon, the great god and protector of the sea. She was the eldest of the Nereids, a group of 50 sea nymphs who were all daughters of Nereus (‘the old man of the sea) and Doris the Oceanid. Considered to be the personification of the entire sea, Amphitrite is also known as the mother of seals and dolphins.
The tale tells that Poseidon saw Amphitrite dancing in the water and fell desperately in love with her. He asked for her hand in marriage, but Amphitrite refused and swam away to hide with Atlas near the ends of the earth and protect her virginity. Never one to give up, Poseidon enlisted the help of his loyal friend Delphin, a dolphin sea god and leader of all dolphins, to find her and convince her to marry him. Thankfully for the god of the sea, Delphin was persuasive and Amphitrite eventually agreed to the proposal. So grateful was Poseidon for Delphin’s help, he placed the image of the dolphin among the stars as the constellation Delphinus.
Between them, Poseidon and Amphitrite had 3 children, including the sea god Triton, a merman in appearance. It is believed that this depiction of Triton – human above the waist and fish below – is the source of much of the western world’s typical image of a merman (and mermaid).
Legend has it Amphitrite was even present at the birth of Apollo.
Today, the name Amphitrite is still recognized as being synonymous with the sea. Several ships of the British and US navies were named after her over the centuries.
Grand Cayman Island
In 2000, after a year of planning, Simon Morris’s gorgeous sculpture of Amphitrite was lovingly given its resting place 55 feet below the waters of Sunset Reef, about 130 yards off the shore of Grand Cayman. Her official name is Amphitrite, Siren of Sunset Reef. She is a Mecca for divers from across the globe and inspires awe in all who see her up close.
A New Companion!
In 2015, Amphitrite was given a male companion a short distance away on a reef at Light House Point, Grand Cayman Island. The half-human, half-seahorse Guardian of the Reef stands an imposing 13 feet tall, with shield and staff in hand to symbolize the quest to protect the marine environment.
Together, Amphitrite and the Guardian of the Reef make Grand Cayman Island an even more attractive destination and a source of great wonder and joy for thousands of diving and mermaid enthusiasts.
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