50 years ago: Missouri divers love Little Cayman

In the Aug. 9, 1967 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following article appeared:

“Forty-one divers from Missouri, recently spent an active week of scuba diving in the Cayman Islands.

“They were based on Little Cayman at the site of the Southern Cross Club. The object of their visit to the Caymans was to take underwater pictures for which they were well prepared, carrying over 24 underwater still and movie cameras. The diving men and women were most impressed with Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay, famed for its pirate history. They also engaged in an interesting dive along the coast of Cayman Brac.

“During the last days of their dives at Bloody Bay, they were joined by a group with Bob Soto on the Cayman Pilot.

“This was the second year that this group of Missouri divers visited the Cayman Islands. Last year, they headquartered at the Tortuga Club of Grand Cayman.

“Over 36 diving expeditions were conducted by them and they were up early at 7 a.m. each morning, diving till 6 p.m. each night. The group was well supervised by six certified scuba instructors, six senior lifesavers and three water safety instructors. They caught practically all of their own meals by fishing for grouper, hogsnapper, triggerfish and conch. Their prize catch was a rockfish, weighing slightly over 86 lbs. At first the catch was thought to be a jewfish but the identifying red markings were missing, so it was declared a prize rockfish instead.

“The divers were sponsored by the Associated Researchers of Geography, Oceanography, Nautics and Aquatics Using Techniques of Scuba (ARGONAUTS), a group which recently received top billing along with Captain Cousteau’s ‘Oceanauts’ on television.

“The Argonauts have left their mark on many an ocean expedition. They have partaken in sailing expeditions, porpoise dives and undersea sound studies in Atlantic and Caribbean waters and are famed for many a major dive. The Argonauts publish their own news bulletin ‘Splashdown’ named for the re-entry tactics of their counterparts in outer space, the Astronauts. Most of all, the Argonauts are known for their establishment of Sea Schools. These sea schools are conducted for teenagers during the summer months in the Caribbean area. Here, youngsters are taught about the oceans and to learn to respect the sea and its inhabitants. A vacation combining learning with recreation, sea schools have become popular with teenagers.

“The Missouri diving group was the first adult project of its kind conducted by the Argonauts.”

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