Years after their father died and a year after the death of their mother two brothers managed to give them the burial they desired.
In a boat along with three generations, the brothers put on their scuba diving equipment, verify that they are working properly and jump in the water. They are carrying a concrete funeral marker to a memorial artificial reef built 3 miles away from the shore.
The strange burial place is what the parents wanted, according to the brothers. The father, Buel Payne was a former Coast Guard Member and Linda Payne was a boating enthusiast. The monument were the ashes were placed is modeled after the enigmatic city of Atlantis and features impressive decorations such as marine life sculptures.
It took over four years to obtain permits and signatures from multiple government agencies in order to create the underwater mausoleum which was built with a healthy ecosystem in mind. Ten years later, the Neptune Memorial Reef houses the remains of more than 1,500 people and any scuba diver can visit the place.
The Payne couple is the first to be placed in the new expansion area, which will offer up to 4,000 additional places on a space over 16 acres. The starting price is around $1,500 but it quickly rises to $8,000 for the priciest options such as premium placement and extra options.
Reefs worldwide are endangered by coral bleaching and the mausoleum offers corals a foundation from which to flourish, by having an attractive high pH level. Interesting animals have been observed while visiting the monuments, including species that were considered to be extinct like the long spine sea urchin. It is hoped that a large coral reef will develop in time, offering a not only a beautiful resting place, but also a chance to contribute to the formation of a wonderful natural wonder.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.