Nancy started diving in 1973, got the bug and diving became a passion. She moved with her 2 children Brandee & Walker to Grand Cayman in 1994 and started Divetech. She was a pioneer in technical diving, Rebreathers and the sport of breath-hold free diving in Cayman, including co-authoring training manuals for students to learn free diving. She founded Inner Space, celebrating its 9th year, which brings together CCR divers from around the world to share knowledge and friendship and loves to teach children how to dive. She has devoted the past 20 years to exploring all that diving has to offer and has championed many causes for environmental awareness in the marine and terrestrial environment. Her latest achievement was an 8-year project to bring the Kittiwake to Cayman as an artificial reef. She resides in Grand Cayman with her husband and partner Jay.
Gladys B. Howard bought Pirates Point Resort in Little Cayman in 1986. It had been a resort before she bought it, but it did not ever become anything, under the original owners. Gladys came onto the resort, with energy, enthusiasm, and a concept that was very unique. She catered to guests, and provided them with homemade breads and desserts done daily, with only fresh ingredients.
The resort had its own generator for power, has always made its own water, and of course found the supplies through boats from Cayman Brac, or by customers going and collecting conch or fishing to provide the evening meal. The guests have always felt a part of the experience at the resort. This created an atmosphere that folks wanted to book again for next year and over the years the clientele have become 80% repeat and with no advertising or marketing being done.
For the diving part of the resort, Gladys brought her original dive instructor Larry Smith with her, and he did all of the diving until 1988, which is when Gay and Ed Morse came to join Gladys, as the resort was starting to grow. The diving has always been about catering to guests. The boat leaves at 9:00 and she put as many guides in the water to make sure that everyone has a great experience.
Gladys donates "yellow rose”, the dive boat, for the weekly lionfish cull and this has gone on for 4 years. She has been given many other honors, including the Badge of Honor, and a National Trust Caymanite Octopus that was hand carved to honor her and her efforts in Little Cayman.
Dr. James Poulson (Posthumously)
The late Dr (Doc) James (Jimmie) Poulson started up the Cayman Clinic on Crewe Road. He is famous for helping set up the first hyperbaric chamber on Grand Cayman for the treatment of decompression sickness.
Originally the chamber was situated at the George Town Hospital and then when the hospital needed the space it was moved behind the Cayman Clinic. Since the early 70s the British Sub-Aqua Club ran it until 1996 when it was taken over by John and Ann Elliott.
Because of Doc Poulson’s contribution and the many, many free hours he put into helping the volunteers operate the hyperbaric chamber there is a dive site on Grand Cayman named after him – “The Doc Poulson”.
Whilst the purpose sunken USS Kittiwake gets most of the publicity, The Doc Poulson was first. It was originally a Japanese cable laying ship and was sunk in Grand Cayman in 1981 to create an artificial reef on Seven Mile Beach. The 70 ft. long wreck sits upright in about 50 to 60 feet of water and is a part of our Islands’ diving history.
Rodney McDowall, has been a resident of the Cayman Islands since 1982. He is married to Penny with two children, Jamie and Jessica. Rod has been actively involved in the Scuba Diving and Watersports sector since his arrival. After holding positions with Bob Soto's Diving and Surfside Watersports he joined Red Sail Sports in 1987, becoming the Operations Manager in 1989, a position he holds today. He has helped position Red Sail Sports, Grand Cayman as one of the world's premier and successful diving and water-sports companies. He has served as President of the Cayman Islands Watersports Operators Association, was one of the founding leaders in the formation of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association served as its President and sat on its Board for many years and a founding Board member of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.
Winston McDermot, was introduced to diving at the age of 23 before there was any official certification. He became a certified dive master at the age of 30 when he owned his own business, Brac Aquatics in Cayman Brac. With his career spanning 50 years, he has assisted with the creation of many dive operations and initiatives throughout his time. Winston has made approximately 6,000 - 7,000 dives and was played an intregal part in establishing the first permanent dive moorings in Little Cayman and Cayman Brae. In addition, he was a pioneer for encouraging the government to declare Bloody Bay and the Jackson Point as the first marine parks in Little Cayman. His favorite dive sites are the Anchor Wall, Bloody Bay and Jackson Point in Little Cayman. His love for diving also accompanies his love for boats he is well-known for the many live-aboard dive boats he has crafted from scratch over the years.
Captain Frank Ebanks, began his business Frank's watersports on April 7th, 1968. His diving career spans over 50 years. During the early days of the Holiday Inn hotel, he conducted dives for the hotel's first guests. During those humble beginnings, he would ride from his home in Boatswains Bay to South Sound in George Town to communicate with the tourists in order to book his dives and charters. As a result, he would have a whole week of charters by doing this. Considered a veteran of the sea, he has made over 100 voyages to the keys and was a pioneer in turtling industry. In addition, he was very instrumental in. setting up the turtle farm through financial investment. He was an important part of the tours for the first trips that went to the North So when visitors arrived in Sea Planes. He was a popular dive master and well-liked by his regular customers who continue to ask for him when they visit the island.
Capt. Glen Gleason Ebanks, affectionately known as Captain Gleason, was born 28 August 1928 to Mr. and Mrs. Elvin and Florence Ebanks. At the tender age of 14, he took his first sea voyage to Nicaragua on the turtling vessel, the Jemson. Due to his young age he was given the nickname "Young Captain" and embarked on numerous other fishing and turtling trips on board the Antaraus and the Wilson, amongst others. As a young adult he gained invaluable experience and joined the bigger fleet tanker companies such as the Southwell and Matyson.
As one can imagine these trips were very lengthy at times and Captain Gleason was away from Cayman for extended periods of time, however, he always maintained a close relationship with his family. Although Captain Gleason enjoyed his voyages, his heart was at home and therefore he returned to assist his wife, the late Mrs. Greta Ebanks, with the rearing of their children.
Being an ambitious and knowledgeable man he established his own boat business catering to the tourism industry by providing Northsound fishing charters and beach lunches. Captain Gleason was also one of the founders of the popular Stingray City which is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike!
At the age of 85, Captain Gleason still enjoys the open water and operates his 53 foot boat known as the "Seafire" offering Northsound charters.
Norbert Scott was introduced to diving at the age of 14 by Ken Martin in Little Cayman. He became a certified dive master at the age of 18 while working with Brae Aquatics. His diving career spans 20 years during which he assisted in setting up dive operations for Sam McCoy at Pirates Point and Craig Burns at Dive Tiara. He has made approximately 15,000 dives in his career.
Scott along with fellow dive masters, Ken Scott and Cornell Burke, and the Department of Environment Marine staff established the first permanent dive moorings in Cayman Brac.
Mr. Scott was a popular dive master and well-liked by his regular customers who continue to ask for him when they visit the island. His favorite dive sites include West Chute, Wilderness Wall, Greenhouse and Elkhorn Forest in Cayman Brac; Jackson Wall and Bloody Bay Wall in Little Cayman. He also has the distinction of having a popular dive site named after him in the Brae: Norbert's Reef.
Capt. Marvin Ebanks remembers fishing as a boy with his father and stopping by a shallow area in the North Sound to clean their catch. They, and the other fishermen, noticed that stingrays would congregate and eat the fish scraps that were being discarded overboard.
In 1951, Capt. Marvin Ebanks returned to Grand Cayman after serving in the Merchant Marine and started "Capt. Marvin's Watersports" by running tours on a borrowed sailboat from a dock in West Bay for visitors to see the Stingrays. He is now considered one of the founding members of Stingray City.
For 60+ years, Capt. Marvin's Watersports has provided thousands of tourists with an authentic Caymanian Stingray City experience and has truly paved the way in the watersports industry in the Cayman Islands. Now, at 96 years of age, it is his delight and honour to pass on a legacy for his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren - as well as many other locals that have been mentored by him - to emulate.
James Ebanks learned how to dive at the tender age of 10 with his father, Clinton Ebanks, and brother, Clinton Ebanks Jr. - both of whom are past honourees. It was during this time that he realised the ocean, and the dive industry, would become his greatest passions in life.Through this early acknowledgment of his desired career path, he joined his brother and father in running the family business - formerly known as Scuba Cayman Limited and did so until 1993. At that time, James acquired his own small craft and started Ebanks Divers, where he has since been providing priceless experiences to visitors of the Cayman Islands.
While James no longer dives as frequently as he did in the last 32 years, he still spends his time in the same place he has his entire life - the ocean. To this day, Ebanks Divers creates unforgettable memories with many returning visitors who have now come to consider Mr. Ebanks and his staff "one of the family". At 42 years old, Mr. Ebanks is incredibly grateful to be receiving this acknowledgment, which he considers to be a family honour and notes that he will always cherish this recognition.
Darby McNee Bodden's relatively short life (27 February 1956 -17 July 1983) belies the tremendous impact he had as a dive instructor, boat captain and a first-class service provider and friend to the many tourists who took his charters. Born and raised in East End, Grand Cayman he was the son of Mr. Arturo and Mrs. Coriel Bodden and the father of four children.
For over 10 years he operated a dive charter business, based at Morritts Tortuga, East End and was a much sought-after dive master. Long before he earned his certification as a dive master, Darby's prowess as a diver was recognized by Mr Frank Connolly, manager of the dive team at Morritts Tortuga Club back in 1968. It was Mr. Conolly who encouraged Darby to get certified and when he took the dive certification course in Florida, he passed with flying colours. Mr. Bodden also worked as dive master and boat operator on "Standing Tall", a boat owned by Mr. Burns Rutty.
Darby Bodden is recalled as the diver who would routinely free dive depths of 120 feet, walk around or lay on the ocean floor for minutes, just to delight in the environment in which he found so much pleasure.
By all accounts, he was not only an outstanding diver but was also avid and accomplished fisherman, boat captain and swimmer. He routinely swam for miles at a time off East End, one of his favorite swims being from Blakes to central East End.
His love for the ocean from which he made his living was evident to all who knew him and this love translated into extraordinary skills in every marine-related work he undertook.
The evolution of Stingray City as a world-renowned attraction in the Cayman Islands is said to owe its beginnings to the work of Captain Crosby Ebanks in feeding and taming the southern stingrays around the sandbar.
In 1960 Crosby Ebanks started Captain Crosby's Watersports to provide the growing number of tourists visiting Grand Cayman with opportunities to enjoy snorkeling and fishing trips around the island's pristine waters. He recalls that on frequent trips to the sandbar with visitors, he noticed that many would opt to stay on the boat, afraid of getting too close to the stingrays found in abundance in the shallow waters. Tired of constantly moving the boat to anchor away from the stingrays, Capt. Crosby told himself he had to do "something" that would enable people to feel comfortable around the stingrays.
That "something" was six and a half months of skin diving with the rays and feeding them until they eventually became friendly enough to interact with and eagerly accept food from humans. Today, the unique and enjoyable experience of swimming with and feeding stingrays at Stingray City is a must-do for the thousands of curious tourists and residents who visit each year.
A passion for the sea and boating skills learnt from a young age have enabled Captain Crosby to maintain his watersports business in continuous operation for over 50 years. Like most Caymanian young men of his day, he honed his skills fishing and boating on the waters around Grand Cayman and in fact recalls owning his first boat from around age 16 and working from age seven - making thatch rope and fishing - to assist his parents and six siblings.Born on 15 June 1931, Captain Crosby went to sea, in keeping with the traditional employment available after leaving school. He was a seaman from 1954 to 1956 and also found work as a turtle fisherman around the Nicaraguan coast, soon after leaving school.
Captain Crosby, father of six, is also known as one of the finest catboat builders on Grand Cayman. A member of the Catboat Club, he regularly participates in racing the elegant and traditional catboats in regattas around Grand Cayman.
Charles "Captain Chuckie" Ebanks was born in 1951 in West Bay, Grand Cayman to James and Christina Ebanks. Reared into a family of seafarers, he built his first boat at the age of fourteen... and has had a passion for boats ever since. As a young adult, he watched as new hotels were being built along Seven Mile Beach and anticipated the need for fishing and snorkelling expeditions that visitors would be interested in.
Captain Chuckle acted on his instinct and has run a successful fishing and snorkelling charter business for over two decades in his beautiful 40-foot "Black Princess".
A true ambassador for tourism in the Cayman Islands, he has also held jobs in the development of the airport runway and the construction - and later, guest services - of major hotels.
As well, he found himself working many positions - including driving a school bus, pumping gas and changing tires - to assist with the medical expenses of his son, Mark, who, at birth, experienced all of the symptoms of Sudden Infant Death syndrome but was miraculously revived. Mark has since become invaluable in assisting him with the running of Black Princess Charters. He enjoys taking customers on diving and snorkelling excursions, but especially takes pleasure in fishing charters in search of giant blue marlin and tuna.
Captain Chuckie is on the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame board and Marine Conservation board, is a President of the National Water Sports Association, and has held the position of Fisheries Officer.
For most of Patrick Noel Evans' adult life he and his brother, AtJee, not only opened up the undersea delights of the Cayman Islands to countless tourists but also brought them a distinctly Caymanian experience, promoting both a deep love of country and passion for diving.
Patrick was already a proficient snorkeller and spear fisherman when he learned to dive as a young man of 23. He was introduced to the sport by his brother, who was an instructor for dive pioneer Bob Soto. In 1978, he was certified as a YMCA Teachers' Assistant, and started his 19-year career in the dive industry in which he dove three of four times nearly every day. After becoming certified, Patrick worked with Bob Soto for 4 years.
In 1982, he and his brother came across a tourist, a lawyer from Chicago named Robert Barclay, who came to Bob Solo's to learn to dive but the dive operation was booked up. They offered to teach him and his grandson and he was so impressed with their professionalism and kindness that several days later Mr. Barclay gave them $50,000 to buy a boat, a compressor and tanks so they could start their own dive operation. All he wanted in return was to come to the Cayman Islands to dive whenever he wanted and for the Evans brothers to teach his family to dive. Two years later, Barclay bought into the company, Quabbin, investing enough to purchase two more boats.
Over the years, their business grew from word of mouth and professionals - doctors, lawyers and judges - would come from all over the United States to dive with them. After retiring from diving in 1999, Patrick operated The Great Escape - a 34 foot houseboat that was used to take guests of Treasure Island out snorkelling to Stingray City and other popular spots.
Now fully retired to Cayman Brac, he says what he misses most is the North Wall on Grand Cayman and Bloody Bay - the best diving he's ever seen.
Stuart Freeman has devoted 40 years to the sea and to the watersports industry. From the onset of" his adulthood through to present day. Mr. Freeman has stayed true to his calling and continually helps to protect, preserve and develop Cayman's diving industry. In 1969, as a young man in England. Mr. Freeman embarked on what became a lifelong dedication to the ocean and scuba diving. He started out working as a commercial diver on the Brighton Marina project and as an instructor for the Branch Diving Officer Club.
Then in 1973. he relocated to Grand Cayman and started working at the Sunset Divers Shop, where he became qualified as an instructor for the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and an advanced instructor of British Sub Aqua Club (BSCA).
In 1983. Mr. Freeman decided to turn his passion for diving into a business and alongside his wife, Magreta, the couple established "Eden Rock Diving Centre" on South Church Street. The driving force behind the company's creation was that Mr. Freeman considered the Cayman Islands to have the best diving in the world and he wanted to be able to offer visitors the opportunity to share in its magnificence.
Over the business's 26 year history. Eden Rock has become one of the most successful full-service dive shops on Grand Cayman and has become the highlight for many who have either ventured out on a shore dive or on a boat dive to the infamous "Eden Rock" dive site that the business was named after.
In addition to being a successful business owner, Mr. Freeman is a past chairman of the Cayman Islands Divers, the local Branch of the British Sub Aqua Club, a senior chamber operator and instructor, chairman of the Pirates Week Underwater Treasure Hunt Committee and a Royal Life Saving Society Instructor and Examiner.
James "Jim" Dailey's 40-plus years of experience in, and knowledge of, the watersports industry and Cayman's marine environment are an invaluable resource for this country.
Mr. Dailey is today a consultant to the dive industry, having sold Underwater Supply Ltd, his 10-year old wholesale dive equipment business in September 2007. Always willing to share his extensive knowledge with others. Mr. Dailey remains the man people call at any hour for advice on everything from how to prepare for bad weather to where to find equipment repairs.
Mr. Dailey moved to Grand Cayman in 1967 after buying what was to become Surfside Watersports on the beach at the Galleon Beach and Royal Palms Hotels. From the beginning, Mr. Dailey wanted to involve the whole family in snorkelling, diving and watersports. He brought in Cayman's first custom-built glass bottom boat from England and began offering sightseeing tours, along with waterskiing, rental sailboats, windsurfers, jet-skis and later, parasailing.
Mr. Dailey sold Surfside in 1980, but remained active in Cayman's diving and watersports industry. He helped draft the country's first marine conservation and marine parks laws; was a founding member of the Cayman Islands Watersports Operators Association; and has always been a strong proponent for safety, training and operating code for Cayman's diving and watersports operators.
Mr. Dailey was also part of the founding team of Mariculture Ltd, which became the Cayman Turtle Farm; built and managed Pure Air Ltd, Grand Cayman's first compressed air delivery service and the first Nitrox station in Cayman; and co-founded DiveTech Ltd, Cayman's first technical dive operation, with Nancy Easterbrook.
Mr. Dailey is married to Barbara Currie Dailey. His son, Timothy Dailey, resides in Grand Cayman with his wife Stephanie; and his three daughters: Julie Kirby, Barbara Chivers and Tanya Streeter live in the US with their families.
From seaman to dive master, treasure hunter to Vice President of the Catboat Association, Kem Jackson has devoted his life to the sea.
Mr. Jackson's marine adventures began as a child, growing up on the water and becoming a seaman at an early age with National Bulk Carriers. His diving career - and lifelong friendship with Bob Soto - began in 1965, when he became one of the island's first dive masters at Bob Soto's Diving. Mr. Jackson was Bob Soto's right hand man and chief engineer until the business was sold to Ron Kipp in 1980.
Together they pioneered the business of scuba diving in Grand Cayman, catering to small groups of divers, even running overnight trips to Little Cayman on small boats such as the "Cayman Pilot" and "Cayman Diver". Mr. Jackson has many "dives under his belt - too many to count, he says - but not quite the million dives as described in an article by a well known scuba publication some time back! After working for Bob Soto, Mr. Jackson continued as an engineer for Herbo Humphries, a well-known professional treasure hunter.
Today, this popular man continues his contribution to the Cayman Islands in another capacity - as Vice President of the Catboat Association. At one time, the Caymanian Catboat was the mainstay in transportation amongst the Cayman Islands, as well as serving a pivotal means of employment. The Catboat Association is dedicated to preserving this important piece of maritime heritage for future generations.
Mr. Jackson spends his time lovingly restoring cat boats (often singlehandedly) to their former glory, and making beautiful 18" replicas as gifts for family and friends.
Mr. Jackson lives in West Bay with his wife, Ola. His three children - Joey, Patricia and Priscilla - and seven grandchildren also reside in the Cayman Islands.
Cornell Lloyd Antony Burke
Cornell Burke started diving in his late twenties and continued diving for almost 25 years. He was a PADI assistant instructor and was awarded an SSI Platinum ProSOOO card in 1993; Individuals who hold this card can be defined as the world's most elite water explorers.
Burke dove with several dive operations on Cayman Brac and became a co-owner of Brae Aquatics. As a pioneer of diving in the Brae he has explored and named more than half of the dive sites on Cayman Brae and many on Little Cayman. He was also involved with sinking two wrecks - the Mariner and the Kissimmee - in Cayman Brae. Burke was a popular dive master and was well liked by his regular customers who still stop by to visit. He was, and still is, a good ambassador for the Sister Islands, attending many DEMA trade shows and assisting with Nikonos Shootout competitions, visiting handicapped diving groups such as Moray Wheels and helping visiting marine biologists from the University of Maryland with their research.
Darvin Ebanks is a well known underwater photographer who started diving in 1976. He was born in George Town and, like many other Caymanian men, went to sea at an early age. Upon his return he worked with CUC, and it was during this time that he became an assistant dive master, earning an SSI Platinum Pro500() card in 1993. He quickly became interested in underwater photography and after a few years started his own photography business. Ebanks' friendly way quickly made him a favourite with guests and also made him an excellent ambassador for the Cayman Islands. Ebanks assists many local non-profit organizations, serving on the Trust Council Board for the National Trust for the Cayman Islands.
However, Ebanks may be most frequently recognised today as one of Pirate's Weeks most famous pirates!