Brac opens for tourists with disabled group

| 18/06/2009

(CNS): The Dive Pirates Foundation (DPF), a group based in Texas that trains disabled people to dive, will be visiting Cayman Brac for a week, 20 to 27 June, the first tourist group to travel to the Brac since Hurricane Paloma hit the island in November 2008. Once a year, the non-profit organization of scuba diving enthusiasts sponsors those with disabilities with training, gear, plus a paid trip to the Brac to complete their certification. This year DPF is bringing the largest group so far, with 63 travelling to the Brac, comprising the recipients (including those who have suffered combat injuries, car accidents or illness), their support teams and Dive Pirates enthusiasts.

“Neither a massive hurricane nor the current recession could hold back the Dive Pirates, now gearing up for its largest trip to date, with 12 recently-trained adaptive scuba divers, two returning adaptive divers, along with other certified divers as diving buddies, family members and supporters,” said Barbara Thompson, who co-founded DPF with Sophie Wimberley.

Among the group arriving this weekend will be two paraplegic divers, four quadriplegics, a double leg amputee, four leg amputees, and arm amputee and a diver with incompletely formed hands and feet.

“We were devastated after the hurricane, and feared we could not accommodate the foundation, which has become part of the Brac family,” said Mary Tibbetts Brandes, owner of the Brac Reef Beach Resort that in the past retrofitted some of its rooms to accommodate disabled guests. “Though we are on the mend, we are very excited to say we will be co-hosting the adaptive divers this year with The Breaker’s Condos and the new The Alexander Hotel, and the divers will continue to use Reef Divers II with its staff of specially-trained dive masters.”

“We can’t say thank you enough for the Brac business community pulling together to make this year’s travel event possible. And we in turn want to continue to come here with adaptive divers as Reef Divers II is now a universal referral destination for adaptive dive training,” said Wimberley.

This year’s trip, coined “Out Brac – Pirates Down Under”, with an uniquely designed t-shirt by artist Rogest, is possible due to generous donations of those attending the 5th Annual Pirates Ball, the foundations’ key fundraiser, and a generous grant from ABB. Also very important to the trip this year is the continued support of SSI and the newly formed chapters across the country. Fundraisers in Dallas, Texas (Adventure Scuba), Corpus Christi, Texas (Adventure Scuba), Albuquerque, and New Mexico (New Mexico Scuba Center) have also contributed to this year’s recipients making the expansion of Dive Pirates across the country possible.

The Dive Pirates Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing Scuba Diving to persons with disabilities and joining them with the mainstream of divers. Its vision is to create a community of adaptive divers that will dive and travel in the mainstream world of scuba diving through education and overcoming obstacles.

For more information about the foundation or the trip to Cayman Brac go to

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Business

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. iiyy this is a dive pirate.. says:

     hey there.. this was my first trip with dive pirates.. i just got certified too. this was the best trip of my life.. i wasnt to sure what to expect, but i walked away with something amazing.. now only were the dives breathtaking, but the interation with the other divers and staff was something that i cant explain.. its sooooo odd how a group of complete strangers who share the same passion for diving can become so close in only one weeks time. we call each other pirates, but we r the nices pirates the world has ever sean.. it amazin me how all of us went out of our way 2 help each other, but also just 2 share so many laughs and good times.. we did, on th other hand, act like pirates every once and  a while.. lol we each had our own flags, but my boat managed to steal the other boat flag and then we hang it upside down.. great fun.. i liked how we stole the flippers from the other boats and strung them up hahaaa.. or how we had water balloon fights whenever the other boats got 2 close 4 comfort lol.. so if u can call that pirate like then yes ill admit.. we r a bunch of pirates.. our piracy is all in good fun and the only thing that might have been hurt is the pride of the opposing boats.. lol i loved this trip and im already looking forward to go on the next one..

  2. Hatty Tudor says:

    But will these Dive Pirates corrupt the youth of the Brac?  Should they not now be calling themselves Dive Culturalists or Dive Heritagists?  What about the chldren?

  3. Pete G. says:

    As a disabled Navy Vet myself, I have to say that this group is one of the best scuba groups out there. When you get out on the dive boat with this crew, you know you will be safe and have lots of fun. They are diverse, knowledgable and easy to get along with. I can’t speak highly enough about them. You won’t have to worry about the dives, the boat crew, the dive shop or any of the staff. Plus, every one of the other divers you will be with will all be pretty terriffic people with great stories to tell. In this short time we have together, it’s good to spend it with people we can look up to. That’s who Dive Pirates are. If you are disabled and you want to learn how to dive, Veteran or not, you can be sure that there will be plenty of people ready and willing to help you get qualified. They have the experience to know how to help and you won’t feel like they are going out of their way to make special accommodations. Best wishes Dive Pirates until I can get back out there with you again, hopefully next year!

  4. Barbara Thompson says:


    Thanks for your support and for mentioning the good work that Craig performs.  Many groups have in fact been diving with Craig, but the island has not "officially" been open to tourism until June 4th, which is the point of the article.  We all want to see the Brac return to prosperity and flourish


  5. Ken Morris & Family says:

    Awesome group of divers they are ! We were on the Brac a few years ago when the Dive Pirate’s were there diving. We got to meet some of them and to hear there story’s of how much they liked diving on the Brac. We hope to be able to come down to the Brac again this year.

     I just wanted to set something straight regarding the first group to travel to the Brac, We dove this year with Indepth Watersports in March with a group of divers from Texas. I know Craig and his crew dont care about the exposure but I thought they should get some credit for working so hard to keep diving while trying to build the Brac back. The Diving was awesome and despite some bad weather we had some of the most stunning dives we have ever had on the Brac.

     Kudos to the Dive Pirate’s and to Cayman Brac.

     Sorry Craig I just felt you guys should get some credit where credit is due…


  6. Swashbuckler says:

    Pirates! Arrr, say it aint so! Next thing you know we will be having a Festival named after them or something! These must be horrible people to associate themselves with pirates!

    Seriously though, good news for the Brac. Hopefully this will help with the recovery efforts while at the same time be an enjoyable experience for this group.