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FOLLOW-UP: Reef donated by Joe Patti family sunk in Gulf of Mexico
PENSACOLA PASS -- A new, man made reef is now sitting at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola Pass.
A 175 foot barge was sunk there today.
It was donated by the Patti family of Joe Patti's Seafood.
The Patti family has been making a living off the gulf for about 80 years.
For them, this was an opportunity to give something back.
The barge sank without a hitch.
The water filling its bowels as onlookers in nearby vessels sounded off air horns and cheered loudly.
Despite a little rain early in the day the weather cooperated with the operation, which has been attempted a couple times.
High seas forced the cancellation of a planned sinking in June.
And bad weather shut down a second deployment date earlier this month.
The makeshift reef is loaded with 120 stainless steel memorials and sculptures created by Artist Kevin Marchetti who built them to be appreciated underwater.
Kevin Marchetti, Artist: "When you get down there it's like elements of discovery. Oh, look at this. Look at that crab and, 'oh, look the fish are movin' and there's a bar. Just tryin' to make it fun for the humans and the dolphins."
Frank Patti Jr., Owner, Patti Marine Enterprises: "We are very happy!"
Frank Patti, Junior, who spearheaded the project, was ecstatic to vessel sink successfully.
He was joined at sea by five generations of the Patti family and several of their friends.
Frank Patti Jr., Owner, Patti Marine Enterprises: "How appropriate can it be to have the Joe Patti Memorial now as a monument at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico for everyone to enjoy."
The barge is resting 60 feet below water four miles southeast of Pensacola Pass.
It's now a habitat for sea life and an underwater art gallery for scuba divers.