built for clients Champa-lars Holdings (PVT) Ltd this underwater restaurant (UWR) at HuraWalhi Island Resort, The Maldives, will become the largest and most spectacular UWR in the world.
Over the evening of 9th February, the latest big fabrication project to come out of Fitzroy Engineering made its way slowly to Port Taranaki. Following the usual 8km route from Fitzroy's fabrication yard to the port, the 410 tonne Underwater Restaurant was maneuvered alongside the crane ship "The Fairlane", using 3 trucks. Then on 11 Feb, the two giant 400 tonne cranes lifted the UWR onto the ship and readied for its 3 week trip to the Maldives.
Designed by MJ Murphy Ltd from Auckland, this underwater restaurant (UWR) will be the second only of its type to be deployed anywhere in the world. MJ Murphy Ltd were also the designers of the first UWR (now world famous, called Ithaa... also in the Maldives for a different resort).
This new UWR will be delivered to site in early March 2016 and lowered onto specially prepared piled foundations on the edge of a beautiful coral reef at Hurawalhi Island where the clients, Champa-Lars Holdings Pvt Ltd are building a complete new luxury resort.
As many scuba divers will attest, the water in the Maldives is especially clear and the corals and fish life astounding. The UWR will sit alongside the steeply descending coral reef so that all diners can view the corals and the fish they attract. For the deep open ocean side, special concrete platforms have been developed by MJ Murphy upon which the corals from under the UWR have been replanted, and are now waiting in the sea for the arrival of the UWR. These ‘coral garden’ platforms will be lifted off the seabed and bolted to the ocean-side of the UWR once in place, so that diners on the ocean side also get an amazing view of corals and attracted fish life.
The amazing 5m wide x 130mm thick acrylic arches covering the UWR have been designed by M.J. Murphy Ltd and fabricated in Japan, by world renowned acrylic company Nippura Co. The acrylic is optically perfect, so diners will feel ‘immersed’ and surrounded by the ocean and the fish life. A large and spectacular panoramic underwater acrylic window (190mm thick) in the end of the UWR will wow the lucky diners with amazing long views along the sloping coral reef.
The underwater dining room is accessed by foot down an impressive spiral staircase at one end, beautifully timber lined and complete with two smaller underwater acrylic windows to titivate the patrons as they descend down to the dining room, glass of sparkly wine in hand. There is also a dumb waiter lift for restaurant staff to bring down all food and drinks from the above-water kitchen, and there is a small kitchen - lobby at the bottom, where waiters can prepare food and drinks, ready to serve.
Fitzroy Engineering were successful in securing this project in the face of strong international competition, and their ability to fund and coordinate large work-scopes allowed them to manage the bulk of the work required. This included all of the steel fabrication, installation of the acrylic windows and roof, ballasting, installation of air conditioning and electrical systems and all of the internal fit out.
The restaurant is 18m long x 5.4m wide, and working with MJ Murphy Ltd, Fitzroy established that considerable efficiencies could be achieved by building the floor of the hull from 114mm thick steel in order to add very efficient ballast weight. Procedures to heat, weld and safely rotate the 80 tonne floor were developed and implemented and this proved to be very successful.
The Underwater Restaurant project has been extremely successful and exciting, and M J Murphy Ltd and Fitzroy Engineering are very grateful to the Clients for allowing them to be a part of their fantastic project. All parties are all looking forward to early March, when the UWR will arrive at Hurawalhi Island and be lowered into the water. This will be a very exciting few days. We will update the website again after the UWR is successfully installed on site, and the job is completed.