Some people are happy being cremated and spending eternity in an urn on the fireplace mantel that the grandkids get all freaked out about. Others are happy with a traditional burial 6 feet under -- but some, some take it a step further and want to rest 45 feet under. Enter the Neptune Memorial Reef, near Miami. The artificial reef opened this last fall, and is an underwater cemetery. The first phase consists of gates, pathways, plaques, and benches, and can hold up to 850 people's remains.
The ashes are mixed with cement designed for underwater use and fitted into a mold, which a diver then places and secures into the reef. A copper and bronze plaque is installed with the person's name, date of birth and death. There is also a line for a message.
The cement mixer treatment starts at $995 for their most modestly priced receptacle, and goes all the way to $6,495 if you want to be incorporated into something wicked like a lion statue. The hope is that eventually the reef will cover 16 acres and hold the burnt remains of up to 125,000 people.
"This is simply as good as it gets," said Gary Levine, a diver who conceived the reef and is now a shareholder in the company that owns it.
Whoa there Gary, whoa there. First off, that is not as good as it gets. Having your remains shot into outerspace in a rocketship is as good as it gets. And secondly, it's a little hard to trust anyone who has "conceived a reef". Now I've conceived children before, but never a reef. As a rule I keep my conceiver away from anything sharp like coral. Cut up your junk real bad.
Several more pictures (including a lion) after the jump.
Thanks to Heather, whose initials I once carved into a sidewalk before the concrete dried