Eight people will be recognized next month when the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame celebrates its 2015 inductees and honorees in a ceremony at the Marriott Beach Resort.
This year’s inductees are Bill High, Dr. Albert José Jones, Peter Hughes, Wally Muller and Dimitri Rebikoff. The local honorees for 2015 are Nancy Easterbrook, Gladys Howard and Dr. James Polson, the latter who is being honored posthumously at the event on Oct. 2.
The hall of fame, started in 2000 by the Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism, recognizes those who have influenced scuba diving in a range of fields, including education, exploration or diving adventures, dive travel, equipment design and development, entertainment and art. Previous inductees include Guy Harvey, Cathy Church, Jacque-Yves Cousteau and Clive Cussler.
“These individuals have devoted much of their lives to the diving industry in the Cayman Islands and to ensuring that our magnificent underwater environment is accessible to ever increasing numbers of avid water sports and dive enthusiasts,” tourism director Rosa Harris said of the local honorees, in a press release.
“Their respective contributions have solidified that the Cayman Islands retain its reputation as one of the best diving locations in the world, and for their efforts the destination is extremely grateful,” she said. “It is a proud moment when we can recognize the local honorees to not only honor them for their role in the development of dive, but also for the contributions to tourism.”
Many visitors from overseas will be partaking of dive packages offered by local dive operators in the run-up to the induction ceremony, with dive excursions, seminars, social events and the chance to gain lionfish culling certificates.
Tickets for the induction event are $50, which includes dinner with wine, and are available from the Cayman Islands Tourism Association or the Department of Tourism during regular work hours. Emcee will be past inductee Leslie Leaney, and entertainment will be provided by Bona Fide. For more ticket information, contact Monyque Brooks at [email protected] or call 244-1276.
Bill High Bill High is notable for his contribution to the areas of underwater science, dive equipment, education and training. A major contributor to the NOAA Diving Manual and founder of Professional Scuba Inspectors. He published “Inspecting Cylinders,” the authority on high-pressure cylinder inspection.
Albert José Jones Recognized for his promotion of the sport worldwide, Albert José Jones has used his passion for marine and environmental science to develop many dive clubs, including the National Association of Black Scuba Divers, and the Underwater Adventure Seekers. He has undertaken more than 6,000 dives.
Peter Hughes Integral to the development of live-aboard diving, Peter Hughes started Dancer fleet, a group of luxury live-aboard yachts, and more recently The DivEncounters Alliance. He also helped to develop pioneering diving resorts such as Anthony’s Key and Dive Bonaire.
Capt. Wally Muller Wally Muller established the live-aboard industry in Australia’s outer Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea and contributed to the careers of numerous underwater cameramen through his expertise in remote shark habitats.
Dimitri Rebikoff Developed and manufactured the first portable electronic underwater flash and the first underwater scooters and remotely operated vehicle. He continued to develop underwater cameras before working on secret projects for the U.S. Navy.
NANCY EASTERBROOK Founder of Divetech and Inner Space, Nancy Easterbrook also spearheaded the project to bring the Kittiwake to Cayman. An ardent supporter of environmental awareness, Easterbrook has co-authored free-diving manuals and was a pioneer in the breath-hold free-diving field in Cayman, as well as technical diving and rebreathers.
GLADYS HOWARD Gladys Howard bought Pirates Point Resort in Little Cayman in 1986 and turned it into a successful and popular dive resort. The island’s National Trust Visitors Centre has recently been renamed in her honor due to her environmental and community efforts.
JAMES POLSON The late Dr. James Polson started Cayman Clinic on Crewe Road and helped set up Cayman’s first hyperbaric chamber to treat decompression sickness and was integral to its functioning.
A Japanese cable ship purposefully sunk to create an artificial reef in 1981 was also named after him.