Underwater restaurant venture leads to new possibilities
A New Plymouth engineering company is exploring further sites for potential underwater restaurants while it builds one for a resort in the Maldives Islands in the Indian Ocean.
Fitzroy Engineering has spent the best part of the past year building the 450 tonne, 18m by 5m steel structure which will sit on a coral reef.
One side of the restaurant will face the coral reef and the other side the ocean.
Coral has been removed to concrete slabs that will be placed on one side of the structure to attract fish.
But the food will actually be prepared onshore and brought down in a lift.
The restaurant has been transported to Port Taranaki for shipment to the Maldives and installation.
Business development manager Mark Arnold says Fitzroy had been looking for new structural projects as an alternative to the oil and gas industry it had been involved in.
The company was approached by Auckland engineering designer Mike Murphy who has previous experience with the establishment of Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World.
Mr Arnold likens the structure to a bubble with a thick 114mm thick mild steel to give it a weight of 80 tonnes. It was rotated at the Fitzroy manufacturing site to allow welding on both sides.
The structure will sit about 6m underwater. Guests enter a reception area from a boardwalk on the shore and descend down a spiral staircase.
Mr Arnold says there is only one other underwater restaurant in the world, also in the Maldives, and designed by Mike Murphy.
(There is a similar structure at Milford Sound but it is not used as a restaurant).
Mr Arnold tells NBR Radio the venture has led to an exploration of other projects and he is talking with Mr Murphy about the next one.