Friday, March 1, 2013

Neptune Society Memorial Reef – A City of the Dead

Archways in the City
Just three miles off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida, lay a mystical underwater world – A recreation of Atlantis, the Lost City.  But this Atlantis is a destination for marine life, scuba divers, and the dead. 

One of Two Lions
Also known as the Atlantis Memorial Reef, or the Atlantis Reef, the Memorial Reef began in 2007 when the Neptune Society decided to create a ‘replica’ of the Lost City of Atlantis.  The Reef is located 40 feet below the ocean’s surface and was originally designed as an artistic project.  The focus of the venture soon changed and it was developed into the world’s first underwater “cemetery”, actually a cremation memorial park.

Diagram of Finished Reef
Entrance Gates
Although technically not a cemetery, the Memorial Reef does contain the cremains of over 200 people, with room for another 600 during the first phase.  The goal of the society is to eventually provide a resting place for over 125,000 remains that will spread over 16 acres of ocean floor.

Diver Places Cremains on Reef
Ashes Mixed with Cement in a Mold
The Neptune Society, the largest cremation-only provider in the U.S., takes cremated remains and mixes them with cement before placing them in a mold. Once the mold is formed, the shaped piece is then taken down to the City and placed on the Reef with a memorial plaque.  There, the molds become a permanent part of the ever-changing man-made reef.

A Diver Visits
A Stairway
The Memorial Reef opened in 2007.  It is the largest man-made reef in the world.  Statues, gates, columns, benches, and roads make up the underwater city. Divers, researchers, marine biologists, and students are encouraged to visit the area, but fishing and lobstering are not allowed here.

A marine study conducted in the area reports that the Memorial Reef is developing faster than originally expected, and is attracting a multitude of marine life.

Molded Memorials
The Memorial Reef is a natural green burial option, certified by the Green Burial Council.  The Reef promotes coral and marine organism growth, thus allowing you to become part of the underwater ecosystem.  Placement on the Reef begins around $2,000.

To learn more about the Neptune Society Memorial Reef, visit their web page @

To visit the Reef in person, the GPS coordinates are N25º 42.036', W80º 05.409'The Memorial Reef is free and open to the public.

~ Joy
*Photos from the Neptune Society Memorial Reef webpage and Facebook page


  1. That would be on my to do list if I had kept up my skuba diving, a great idea that.

    1. I am not a "water person," but I would love to see this. Something so hauntingly romantic about a city under the sea.....

  2. Wow, that makes me want to learn to scuba! I so want to see this!