Legends of Diving Articles


Stuart and Michelle Cove
Resort Dive Operators

Stuart and Michelle Cove were both born on the island of Nassau in the Bahamas. Stuart, the son of a local dentist, had roots on the Island of Abaco. Michelle’s parents haled from Scotland and Switzerland. It was assumed that Stuart would follow in his father’s Footsteps, but that was not to be.

His father remained a great influence on his life, however, along with Gardner Young, the first dive operator in Nassau. Gardner’s operation was

called Underwater Tours. Stuart's father was a great diver and boater, as well, and finally got Stuart certified through Gardner's dive shop. This move was a result of Stuart's mother's concern that her 12 year old son was doing night dives without being properly trained. The Bahamian instructor and stunt double, Fran Doyle, who worked with Gardner, certified Stuart and they went on later to work together in the movies as stunt divers.

Michelle and Stuart Cove

His father bought an air compressor for the boat he had. While in his teens, Stuart and his friends would go up an down the beach and teach the tourists how to dive. He would go home at night and fill the tanks which would take half the night.

Stuart's education was calling and his father and mother sent him to Canada to go to Western University. He came home after his second year and was asked by a friend to help set up a dive shop on Eluthera Island. He later left and started Coral Harbour Divers with one of his father's boats and a little bit of dive gear.

Stuart always bragged that he had the first answering machine on the Island. He would take his Volkswagon Van and run fliers off on a copy machine advertising his dive trips and hand them out to all the hotels up and down the Island. He would pick up the divers the next day...the humble beginnings of a now thriving diver operation today.

In 1979 Stuart's life changed when he accepted a job as a diver for the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only.” He became fascinated learning from the movie crew about wrangling sharks, working with fish, and learning the movie business. He and his father, who owned the dive boat, became partners. Needing the boat and their expertise, the movie producers contracted with Stuart and his father.

Stuart went on to teach the movie crew how to dive and use the equipment. He took care of the sharks for the scenes and helped build the largest aquarium in the world at that time. He and his father split the profits from their work on the movie.

When the filming ended, there were ten sets of scuba gear left over and Stuart was offered the equipment. He bought it from Al Giddings and his dive business was on its way.

In 1983 Stuart took over the Concession at the prestigious Lyford Cay Club. It was at Lyford that he met the Financial Officer's daughter and got

her involved in diving and water skiing. Stuart soon certified Michelle in diving. Michelle went on to Toronto to attend school and, after graduating, was getting ready to travel to Europe. Stuart asked that she stay and help him work with a student. This quickly led to her active involvement in his business. With his passion for the sport and her head for figures and marketing, his dive operation took off and soon he and Michelle

acquired the South Ocean Golf and Beach Resort Dive Center in 1992. This is where Stuart Cove's resides today and still ranks number one with tourists year after year.

Their business union finally went a step further and the couple went on to get married and raise a family. Michelle was able to hone her skills as a Hollywood stunt double and did work in some of the James Bond movies, as well as various commercials while raising their children.

Stuart Cove's was built with the help of Hollywood. Eventually the sets became dive sites for divers by attracting coral, which made some of the best man-made reefs in the Bahamas. Popular shows like Flipper used Stuart Cove's as the set. Through the years the Cove's dive center has developed into the top Bahamas site for commercials, TV shows, movies, and documentaries. This was in no small part due to Stuart and Michelle's knowledge and ability to meet the needs of the movie crews they worked with.

As a result of his shark wrangling in various movies, Stuart went on to develop the world famous Shark Dive that people travel from around the world to experience at their resort. Stuart discovered that Tonic Immobility was something that could be used to handle the sharks very easily. He developed shark feed techniques by working with the sharks himself. Cove went on to work with the company Neptunic and used their metal suits to protect the divers feeding the sharks. The success of this Shark Dive and Feeding program was a result of many hours of experimentation underwater, as well as years of knowledge gained from growing up as a boy in the Bahamas.

Stuart and Michelle have sunk over 20 derelict wrecks of the sea in cooperation with the government of the Bahamas. They continue to work in maintaining the quality of reefs in Nassau by instituting mooring lines for ships. Stuart and Michelle have maintained all the movie sets in their front yard, which still serve today as a draw for divers from around the world. The roster of famous divers who have dove at their resort is a Who's Who of Diving. Movie stars and famous research teams from around the world still make Stuart Cove's their first stop.

This has been a team effort and Stuart says it best when he says with pride, “Michelle is half of this operation.” Michelle has indeed kept their business at the cutting edge with photography, technology, and constantly updating their website to make Stuart Cove's one of the most modern and attractive dive resorts in the world. Guests truly appreciate their accessibility to the public, as they are known to regularly greet divers as they arrive at the resort. Despite their hands-on involvement with their world-renown dive operation, they have found time to become involved in the development of an underwater park in Nassau. They are passionate about protecting the reefs throughout the Bahamas and the Florida Keys, as well as the preservation and research of sharks.

In the past three years, Stuart has expanded his operation to four locations:

Blue Adventures at Atlantis Resort
Beach Watersport
Lyford Cay Watersports
Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas

More information on Stuart Cove's can be found at
www.stuartcove.com and toll free at 800-879-9832
and in the Bahamas 242-362-4171

Portage Quarry Recreation Club, Inc.
12701 South Dixie
Bowling Green OH, 43402

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