Dive industry to recognise key players

| 12/11/2008

(CNS): The International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF) has announced that it will induct six extraordinary new members this coming January. Joining the ranks of famous divers such as Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Gustav Dalla Valle, and Bob Soto will be an important historical contributor, an avid photographer turned manufacturer, the “World’s Greatest Divemaster”, a photographer who named Stingray City, and two brothers with an invention that gave underwater film a face.

 The Ceremony will be held on January 29, 2009, where these pioneers, artists and entrepreneurs will be formally inducted for their outstanding contributions to the sport. The Department of Tourism has worked in conjunction with ISDHF to develop a virtual museum and display select rare artefacts including, the Boutan housing replica from 1893 and his attempts at incredible underwater photography, a home-made Montgomery Ward, circa 1950, made from a Montgomery Ward pressure cooker, this an example of the ingenuity of early underwater photographers and film makers, Nikonos II, a camera that hit the market in 1963 after Nikon bought the popular French made Calypso camera from La Spiroteqhnique.

The honorees are…… Kimiuo Aisek who was raised on the island of Truk in Micronesia and a first-hand witness to the American attack on the Japanese fleet at Truk Lagoon in 1944. After diving the location for years and discovering all of the wrecks, Kimiuo finally opened Truk Lagoon’s first dive facility in 1973 that would enable visitors to dive the Japanese wrecks. Thousands of divers and dozens of film crews have experienced the majestic sunken wrecks because of Kimiuo’s hard work and dedication. This world-renowned dive shop still welcomes divers under the management of Kimiuo’s son – Gradvin Aisek.

Dive industry to recognise key players who at the age of 19had his first sight of the Red Sea and opened his first dive centre in 1970 followed by a series of diving stations along the Sinai Coast. Then in 1973 he opened the Red Sea Divers Centre in Sharm el Sheikh, which would later host countless divers and film crews from across the globe. Soon after, his live-aboard vessels explored the entire Red Sea and Indian Ocean atolls. Also a passionate photographer, he now is the owner of the Fantasea Line, manufacturing and distributing underwater photo equipment.

Larry Smith began a diving career that would span 3 ½ decades and more than 20,000 dives. He had a hand in developing operations in Cayman and Jamaica; however, he is most noted for his time spent at Kungkungan Bay Resort in his adopted home, Indonesia. There he combined a keen eye for small critters with his world-famous personality, to become a larger-than-life figure that popularized an entire subculture of scuba: muck diving. The “World’s Greatest Divemaster”, Larry inspired a generation of underwater naturalists ranging from the Indonesian dive guides  he trained to recreational divers and world-class underwater photographers and writers.

Geri Murphy is the most published female underwater photo journalist with an impressive record of more than 200 magazine cover shots and thousands of published articles, photos and books. With a contribution to the film industry, she has spent the last 30 years travelling around the world. Geri was the first photo journalist to photograph and document Stingray City – which she named in the first story ever written about this now world famous dive site in the Cayman Islands. She continues to shoot underwater photos in exotic locations around the world.

 George and J. Earnest Williamson will be the first to receive an award in a new category of inductees called Early Pioneers. In the early part of the last century the Williamson brothers developed an underwater salvage viewing sphere invented by their father into an underwater film platform. Consisting of two distinct parts, it was known as the Williamson Submarine Tube coupled with the Photosphere, which was the film platform at the end of it. In 1915, they created a movie version of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on location in the Bahamas. After opening in 1916, it broke box office records across America, likely because it was the world’s first underwater movie and included several special effects. The Williamson’s went on to make more underwater movies and one brother was later involved in recovering coral to build a reef inside a Chicago Museum. Later, J.E. Williamson converted it into an underwater post office where collectible letters were sold, then stamped and franked as posted from Sea Floor, Bahamas.

 The International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame is designed to honour individuals whose contribution to the sport of scuba diving has been immeasurable. Coming from diverse backgrounds and fields, all inductees possess a track record of offerings to the development, growth and/or promotion of the sport of recreational scuba diving around the world. The honour bestowed upon them commemorates the achievements and contributions of the champions of diving.

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