during the year that he spent at Tobago Aqua Sports, he spent more time spear fishing than teaching diving, as it was more enjoyable and more profitable for the young man.
In his position at the camp, Peter taught the kids spear fishing (boys only), scuba diving(or “aqua lunging” as it was called), and rowing. The children were not certified in scuba diving, but were introduced to the basics. Though the camp principals were certified by the YMCA,
Hughes was not. So in 1969 Bill Petry informed him that he would be sent to Atlanta, GA to attend a YMCA Instructor Institute to become certified. Since he was not even a certified diver when he attended, Peter had to jump through some hoops to prove his ability. That he did so remains one of the accomplishments Hughes is most proud of even to this day. His YMCA cert number was 000-00-0003, indicating that he was only the 3rd foreign instructor to be certified at the institute.
1975 Bonaire--Alice and Peter Hughes
Hughes became Waterfront Director in 1969 and Co-Director of Camp Crusoe from 1970/1971. This was a result of the political unrest that Trinidad and Tobago underwent from 1969-1970. Due to the volatile political climate, Bill and Ann Petry were deported permanently in 1970. Because of his status as a permanent resident, Peter was able to remain in Tobago and run the camp until he shut the place down. Peter recalls that at this stage in his life, his greatest desire and motivation was to simply teach other kids to scuba dive, free dive, and spear fish...everything else took second place to this goal.
After closing down the camp, Hughes joined the Perry's in Atlanta where they discussed possible new locations for Camp Crusoe. After exploring several options, they tried, to no avail, to convince Paul Adams, owner of Anthony's Key Resort in Roatan, to convert his resort from sailing to diving. However, Adams did offer him temporary employment at the resort in December of 1971, handling a group of divers who had booked rooms. This project was a great success and Adams offered to keep Peter on for room and board only. He eagerly accepted the offer and, much to his relief, was soon making real money.
It was at Anthony's Key Resort that Peter met some of the diving pioneers that would greatly influence his life and career. Among these were Stan Waterman, Paul Tzimoulis, Carl Rossler, Dewi Bergman, to name a few. Hughes still recognizes and honors Paul Humann, with the M/V Cayman Diver (mid 60's-late 70's) and John Gaffney, with the M/V Good Neighbor(same time frame), as the true “Grandfathers of Live-Aboard Diving.”
One of Hughes’ proudest achievements over the years took place in 1973 when he organized the first YMCA Scuba Instructor Institute to be held outside of the United States, at Anthony's Key Resort in Roatan. Peter was in charge of the in-water matters, while others handled the instruction/testing of the students.
In December of 1972, Peter's life would change forever when a lovely young woman named Alice, traveling with a dive shop in Kansas City, KS, arrived at the resort with a group of divers. Sparks flew and Alice would again visit the resort (and Peter) a few months later before returning to Kansas where she was teaching school. After school let out for the summer, Alice returned to Roatan, working as F & B Manager with Peter, but informed him in late 1974 that she 'hadn't put herself through college to be working in the jungle for meager wages' and returned to Kansas, but not before reminding Peter that he knew where he could find her. Peter managed without her until the end of March 1975 when he decided to resign and pursue the woman he couldn't live without. The couple married shortly thereafter in September of 1975 in Kansas City.
Sometime between his arrival in the States in the spring of 1975 and his marriage to Alice in September of that same year, Peter was in contact with Ray Morrow, of Pennsylvania. Morrow had a successful dive shop in Tobago and wished to expand further into the Caribbean.