Underwater Peace Pole
This page was made as a summary for the customer at one point in the progression of this work. It covers the first three stages of the development of this underwater peace pole. What's on this page is history now. Click Stage Four to read about its current state of development.
The request was for a stainless steel peace pole to set in the floor of the ocean 30 to 40 feet underwater. Part of the problem would be getting it there. I designed a stainless steel post to set in a 4 inch thick pad of cement that is 3 feet by 3 feet. 9 inches of the post protrudes through the bottom of the pad and into the sea floor to anchor it in place. So it is a pole, rooted in the earth, like on land.
Click pics to enlarge
It is built by welding stainless steel rebar to the post to form a frame around the base. A wooden form is built around the rebar frame to receive the cement.
Delivery to the ocean floor
In calm water the post with the rebar and the wood form (all fabricated by me and shipped as a unit ready-to-go) is set on a large inner tube* in calm water floating. Cement is mixed and poured into the wood form as it floats, eliminating the need for a crane to move the completed piece. It is allowed to set for a day and then is towed out to sea. The inner tube is punctured allowing it to sink.
To make sure that the post lands upright on the ocean floor, a smaller tube is tied to its top. A long rope with a slip knot will release it when pulled from the boat. The post at first will sit on the bottom at an angle. Eventually the motion of the sea will set it in the bottom like an anchor.
*This inner tube would need to be something like the 5 feet in diameter inner tubes used on earth moving equipment. Or it might be an assemblage of smaller ones. Or, on timbers spanning them, the post could be set between two Zodiacs off of which it could be shoved.
As sketches were detailed, quotes on material gathered and work-time estimated, it became apparent that reproducing a land peace pole underwater is expensive and cumbersome. Hours were consumed figuring out how to make text survive on stainless steel underwater without becoming hidden by algae and barnacles. The process to do that required eleven or twelve steps and expensive materials and needed maintenance every year or two.
The request had been for a stainless steel peace pole set in the bottom. But the original goal had been to procure a peace pole that it would make sense to put underwater. The decision to use stainless steel might not have been the best one. Making a peace pole out of stainless steel regards the water as an obstacle. I began wondering if it wouldn't be possible to create a peace pole designed to make being underwater an advantage. So I created one that is buoyant. The peace pole at right is fiberglass wrapped around Styrofoam. To keep it from floating away, it is chained to an anchor. To make it possible to read the message, a scrub brush could be hung on a cable for anyone swimming by who wants to see what it says under the algae. The problem is that if too many years passed without anyone's scrubbing off the growth, it could become too heavy to be buoyant and sink.
Another option would be to wrap the Styrofoam with a very thin sheet of copper instead of vinyl. Algae and barnacles will not grow on copper. The scrub brush would not be necessary.