Along with our yearly inductees, we also award a number of respected people who serve the local Caymanian diving community, as honourees. The stories behind the names on this list are all quite something to read.
Nakai is a true Ambassador of the Cayman Islands. He has snorkeled and dived Grand Cayman waters since a very young age. He became Certified Divemaster in 2012 and a Dive Instructor soon after. He has Introduced many people to Scuba Diving and guided hundreds of dives showing the beautiful Grand Cayman.
Dr. Manfrino founded CCMI in 1998 and developed the organisation with a strong focus on protecting the biodiversity of coral reefs through research, education and conservation. As a professor of oceanography, Dr. Manfrino has dedicated over 20 years to marine research in the Cayman Islands.
With over four decades diving the coral reefs of the Cayman Islands, Croy witnessed many changes during that period on his native reefs. Cognizant of these changes, including global climatic changes that were impacting them, further prompted his enthusiasm to try to do something about it.
Steve Tippetts has been a diving professional since 2003. He has been teaching technical diving on both open Circuit and Closed Circuit Rebreathers since 2008. He is an Instructor Trainer on many of these units. He is also an Instructor Trainer for all levels up to and including Open Circuit Trimix, and also serving on the Board Of Advisors for IANTD.
Wayne Hasson has been leading divers to the sea for most of his life, and has probably spent more time underwater than above.
Dan grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida but he cherished his Caymanian heritage from a young age and when he wasn't living in the Islands, he visited often. In the early 1990s, Dan began focusing his efforts on developing a dive resort in Little Cayman.
Darryl Bud Walton Jr (BJ), was born at Faith Hospital, Cayman Brac on December 7th, 1987. During his years at the latter, he fell in love with the Watersports. He used the opportunity to become certified and went on to gain employment at Divi Tiara Beach Resort climbing to the qualification of Dive Master.
A founding member and past President of the Cayman Islands National Watersports Association, Kent has contributed to the watersports industry in the Cayman Islands for over 30 years.
For over 20 years, Jason has helped to grow and protect the watersports industry through his work in the creation of iDive and his work with the Cayman United Lionfish League (CULL), the organization in charge of the local lionfish tournaments held four times per year.
Steve has served to promote the dive industry with contributions made through multi years on the CITA Watersports Sector, CITA Board and as CITA President.
Mr. Wallace was one for the first Caymanians to work in the dive industry. Mr. Wallace became a dive master in 1975. Mr. Wallace began his diving career working with Mr. Jim Daley at Surfside from 1975-1977.
Anthony Scott grew up in Cayman Brac next to the water and has always loved all types of water sports – swimming, free diving, (no mask), belly board surfing and of course fishing. In 1964 at the age of 17, he finished school and worked for a few months in Little Cayman at Southern Cross Club taking care of and repairing fishing reels, spear guns and taking guests on snorkeling trips. After this he went to work at Buccaneers Inn in Cayman Brac, also operating snorkeling trips for the guests.
Gerry, as he was known, was an early pioneer in the diving field having arrived in the Cayman Islands around 1965 at which time he established a dive business opposite the old Seaview Hotel on South Church Street. In July 1969 with thirteen enthusiastic residents formed Cayman Islands Divers which was admitted as a branch no 360 of the British Sub Aqua Club.
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.
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 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.
Captain Frank Ebanks, began his business Frank's watersports on April 7th, 1968. His diving career spans over 50 years.
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.
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.
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.
Ken Martin in Little Cayman introduced Norbert Scott to diving at the age of 14. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From seaman to dive master, treasure hunter to Vice President of the Catboat Association, Kem Jackson has devoted his life to the sea.
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 Pro 5000 card in 1993; Individuals who hold this card can be defined as the world's most elite water explorers.
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 Pro 5000 card in 1993.