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Message Icon Event: Hnours for scuba divers - Event Date: 16 Jan 2008 Post Reply Post New Topic
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Quote scubazine Replybullet Calendar Event: Hnours for scuba divers
    Posted: 16 Jan 2008 at 11:57

Three well-known Caymanians will be honoured for their achievements and outstanding contributions to the sport of scuba diving on Thursday, 17 January at the Grand Cayman Beach Resort, when the industry gathers together for the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony.

Expert underwater photographer Cathy Church will be inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame along with five other dive pioneers, while Jim Dailey and Kem Jackson will receive Ministry of Tourism Local Honouree Awards at the event, which begins at 6:00 pm.

Every year, in addition to the international inductees, the Ministry of Tourism honours Caymanians and pays tribute to the invaluable role they have played in the process, which has transformed the local dive industry into the premier dive destination that it is today. Tourism Minister Hon Charles Clifford will present the award.

“All three individuals have contributed in very different ways to further the sport of diving in the Cayman Islands and internationally,” Mr Clifford said.

“Without their enthusiasm, entrepreneurship, expertise and passion, the dive industry would most certainly not be what it is today.”

Cathy Church, Robert “Bob” Halstead, Daniel Mercier, Drew Richardson and Ron “Rogest” Steven will join past inductees that include Bob Soto, Jacques Yves Cousteau, Dewey Bergman, John Cronin, Chuck Blakeslee and Lloyd Bridges.

Meanwhile, the International Underwater Film Festival takes place on Friday, 18 January.

Information on these events is available at the Department of Tourism with the contact person being Bridgit Amos – phone (345) 949-0623 or email

Cathy Church – International Scuba Hall of Fame inductee

As a child, Cathy Church was an avid biologist. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Michigan where she also learned to scuba dive.

She was studying marine biology at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine biology station in Monterey, California when she met Jim Church, a scuba diver who was pioneering underwater photography.

Mrs Church wanted to document her underwater work and spent many dives with her husband exploring ways to use the Calypso camera and flashbulb systems with homemade accessories.

She continued on to the University of Hawaii where her partner joined her and they were married.
She earned her Master of Science in Marine Biology but in the late 1960s, in Hawaii, she was not able to break the barricades against women divers and quit pursuing a career as a scientist. Instead, she turned to two other activities – underwater photography and teaching 7th and 8th grade science.

The couple continued pioneering underwater photo techniques. Mrs Church co-authored hundreds of magazine articles and four books on underwater photo techniques, and offered seminars throughout the USA. Her first weeklong photo courses were taught in Grand Cayman in 1972.

She developed the first franchised photo courses for dive shops through NASDS. She has photographed for Kodak, Nikon, the US Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. Her poster “Wonderland” earned a Certificate of Distinction from Creativity Magazine for best travel poster of the year in 1991.

Forty years later, she is still developing new twists and turns to her photography, adding fine art of black and white to her style in 1995. In the early 2000s, she moved on to digital.

She has taught thousands of divers how to enjoy their photography. She still offers seminars throughout the USA and teaches regularly at her underwater photo centre in Grand Cayman.

Her latest book “My Underwater Photo Journey” is a collection of her favourite images from the first 40 years of her career.

Mrs Church received the prestigious NOGI award for the arts from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences in 1985, the “Reaching Out Award” from the DEMA Hall of Fame in 2000, was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2000, was voted into the Explorers’ Club in 2001, received the “Paul Revere Spike Award” from the Underwater Club of Boston in 2001, and was a charter recipient of the Platinum Pro 5000 Card in 1993.

James “Jim” Dailey – Ministry of Tourism Local Honouree

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, a Cayman Net News columnist. His son, Timothy Dailey, resides in Grand Cayman with his wife Stephanie; his three daughters: Julie Kirby, Barbara Chivers and Tanya Streeter live in the US with their families.

Kem Jackson – Ministry of Tourism Local Honouree

From seaman to dive master, treasure hunter toVice President of the Catboat Association, Kem Jackson has devoted his life to the sea. His marine adventures began as a child, growing up on the water and becoming a seaman at an early age with National Bulk Carriers.

Mr Jackson’s 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. He 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 one of the well known scuba publications 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, and the Catboat Association is dedicated to preserving this important piece of maritime heritage for future generations.

Mr Jackson spends his time lovingly restoring catboats (often single-handedly) to their former glory, and making beautiful 18” replicas as gifts for family and friends.

He lives in West Bay with his wife, Ola. His three children – Joey, Patricia and Priscilla – and his seven grandchildren also reside in the Cayman Islands.

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