Diving inductees named

Although no venue has yet been confirmed for the 2007 induction ceremony for the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, a date is set and the honourees chosen.

The ceremony is to take place on 11 January, 2007 with the following chosen to be celebrated and inducted:

Of notable interest to Cayman is Paul Humann, who, in the 1970s left the practice of law in Kansas and came to Grand Cayman where he bought the M.V Cayman Diver, remodelled it and captained it for one-week live-aboard dive cruises. He offered cruises from Cayman to Roatan. He has also published many reef and fish guides on many areas including in the Caribbean;

Neville Coleman, marine life expert and multi-award winning photographic environmentalist has travelled with and led expeditions all of the Indo/Pacific, documenting over 12,000 species; He has also personally discovered over 450 species, written over 1000 articles and authored sixty marine life natural history books;

World authority on the Great White Shark, Rodney Fox, who, through surviving a shark attack he became a powerful voice to efforts to protect the predators and arranged many white shark expeditions; He arranged and hosted the very first white shark expedition to welcome sport divers, and has run hundreds of expeditions in the 30 years since;

Next is Carl Roessler, (an ISDHF Board member) who led the first diving expeditions to many of today’s most famous remote diving sites. He spent his career popularizing the idea of diving remote, pristine reefs using live-aboard diving cruisers.

He is also the author of seven books and many magazine articles on marine life;

Ralph Erickson, who was co-founder of PADI, the largest dive training and certification organisation in the world, passed away on 25 May 2006 at home with his family in Lago Vista, TX.

He created and implemented the training programme used by PADI as well as writing the first PADI instructional guidelines. Erickson also launched PADI’s instructor publication, the Undersea Journal. He has received numerous awards for his contribution to the Scuba diving industry.

Dolphin controversy

Although a venue has not been decided for the ceremony yet, a majority of the Board of Directors of the annual event have decided that the event will not be hosted at Boatswain’s Beach, which had been a possibility. This is because of plans for a captive dolphin facility to be housed there.

Executive Director Cathy Church confirmed that agreement was made on this at a Board meeting held at Beneath the Sea, America’s largest scuba and dive travel show back in March.

However, board member and Minister for Tourism Charles Clifford was not at the meeting and therefore, did not voice an opinion on this matter or have input into the decision.

Ms Church said, ‘They (the Board) felt that it would not be a good public relations event for the ISDHF to be associated with a business that has broken our bond with the dolphins by confining them in small enclosures.

‘As an organisation, they (the ISDHF) honour those people who protect and care for our environment and confining wild dolphins does not fit that standard,’ she said.

Ms Church noted that this was not an official type of pronouncement, and was not recorded in the minutes. It was simply a statement of opinion that was agreed upon by the board.

Dolphin Discovery (Cayman) Ltd. has a lease agreement with Cayman Turtle Farm for the site of the old holding tanks for turtles, destroyed during Hurricane Michelle in 2002.

The dolphinarium, although it will be run independently, is to operate as part of new tourist attraction Boatswain’s Beach.