Local dive pioneers to be honoured too

| 26/01/2009

(CNS):  Some of Cayman’s own divers will also get a moment in the spotlight next week during the annual International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame (ISDHF) Dinner and Induction Ceremony. Stuart Freeman (right) owner of Eden Rock and Ollen Miller (left) owner of Sundivers, will both be honoured for their achievements and outstanding contributions to the sport on Thursday. 

The Department of Tourism said that 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 Cayman into the premier dive destination that it is today. All awards will be presented by the Minister of Tourism, Environment, Investment & Commerce, Hon. Charles E. Clifford. "Both individuals have been trailblazers in Cayman’s dive industry," said Clifford.  "I congratulate them for having passion and foresight and for dedicating their lives to the sport of scuba diving."

Since he was born Ollen Miller has always had an instinctual love of the sea and has been diving since he was13 years old as a young teenager he dedicated his days to the ocean and became a certified dive instructor by the age of 15.Miller’s diving career officially began in 1979 as an instructor at Bob Soto’s followed by Don Foster’s. During this time period he was one of only three Caymanian scuba instructors on the island, despite there being some of the world’s best dive sites located just offshore. By the late 1980s Miller recognized a need for more personalized one-on-one dive operations in Grand Cayman and he decided to open his own dive shop, affectionately dubbed "Sundivers".

Miller has always placed a strong emphasis on customer service, which is why he chose to be at the helm for all aspects of his dive organization. For several years, he acted as both dive tour leader and boat captain, allowing him to get to know each of his guests and ensuring that they had an overall cherished experience while diving with him. Miller has lived in Grand Cayman his entire life and his nomination applauds his love of country and personal thirty year commitment to diving. "This is the first honour that I have received and I am truly thankful for the recognition," he stated.

Stuart Freeman has dedicated 40 years to the sea and to the watersports industry. In 1969, as a young man in England, Freeman started out working as a commercial diver on the Brighton Marina project and as an instructor for the Branch Diving Officer Club. In 1973, he relocated to Grand Cayman and started working at the Sunset Divers Shop, where he became an instructor for the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and an advanced instructor for the British Sub Aqua Club (BSCA).

Ten years later he turned his passion for diving into a business and, alongside his wife Magreta, established "Eden Rock Diving Centre" on SouthChurch Street. Over the business’ 26 year history, Eden Rock has become one of the most successful full-service dive shops on Grand Cayman and a highlight for many who have ventured out on a dive to the famous "Eden Rock" dive site that the business is named after.

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