A museum like no other has found a permanent home at Yacht Haven Quay in Plymouth. Monty Halls, BBC TV presenter and marine biologist, officially swung open the doors of ‘Ray’s Plaice’ on the 22nd August 2013, offering visitors a slice of nautical history through a salvaged collection of 19th Century bottles, propellers, coins, swords, musket guns, potholes, ammunition boxes, tools, bayonets, cannonballs, memorabilia and dive gear which chart and celebrate the adventurous life of Ray Ives.
Garnered from the seabed over 50 years by expert diver and enthusiast Ray Ives, the story of seventy-seven year old Ray’s collection of curiosities is so intriguing it has been the subject of an award-winning short documentary by Amanda Bluglass, commissioned by Dylan Kalis, Managing Director of Yacht Havens Group, and screened last year at the Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim.
‘Ray: A Life Underwater” notched up over 100,000 views in 92 countries on its launch last year, has won numerous short film awards and is available to watch online and to buy on DVD. The stunning cinematography and ethereal atmosphere of the piece make it an experience not to be missed.
The story of the collection of seabed treasures and Ray’s search for a home for them first reached the ears of Kalis in 2005. Amazed by what he saw when he met up with Ray, Kalis offered to house Ray’s collection in a 40ft container at Yacht Haven Quay. In return Ray shares his stories with interested customers. The museum has now been permanently relocated to a central location at Yacht Haven Quay where everyone who passes through the Dry Stack marina can enjoy the collection.
Entry is free and Ray is often on hand to talk through the vast array of curios and the story that each one has to tell. “Everything here has a little bit of me in it but if people don’t get to see it, what’s the point?” says Ives.
“Ray loves meeting new people and has a really good way of bringing his collection alive,” says Kalis. Ives describes himself as “an old codger who should have scales instead of skin”. He’s worked as a diver for the past 47 years, as a Royal Marine, as part of a salvage crew and as a diving instructor at Fort Bovis. He has fought oil fires in the Gulf of Mexico, avoided horny dolphins and swum with penguins. And now his extraordinary collection has found an affectionate home in a place where it can inspire others to discover just what treasures coastal Britain is hiding in her waters.
The museum is free to visit but opening hours are ad hoc, so please call the Office at Yacht Haven Quay on 01752 481190 if you’re planning to make a special visit.