International Legends of Diving
Ramon Nunez of San Pedro, Ambergris
Caye, Belize was chosen to be the recipient of the Giant Stride Award
by the International Legends of Diving. The presentation was held
at Ramon's Village Resort in San Pedro on Saturday December 3, 2011.
Dr. Jose Jones, a Legend himself and previous recipient of the Giant
Stride Award, presented the award to Ramon for his contributions to
the world of diving.
Dr. Jones is well known as a marine
biologist, environmental scientist, and scuba instructor who has certified
hundreds of divers at no charge. He founded the first African
American dive club, the Underwater Adventure Seekers, based in Washington
D.C. in 1959. He co-founded N.A.B.S. (the National Association of Black
Scuba Divers) in 1991, a thriving organization with dive clubs all over
the world. His work includes underwater archeology, which involves
preserving and mapping out historic shipwrecks, such as the Henrietta
Marie, a slave ship discovered off the coast of Key West.
Dr. Jones has been featured on both the History and Discovery Channels.
A frequent visitor to San Pedro and Ramon's Village Resort in particular,
Jones has a longstanding friendship with Ramon and was a natural choice
to present the award.
Einer Gomez, General Manager of Ramon's
Village Resort, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event and
Jeff Rice, Founder & Director of International Legends of Diving,
shared the significance of the Giant Stride Award. He pointed out that
there are many who have earned a place among the Legends of Diving,
but only ten of those Legends had received the Giant Stride Award for
a significant contribution to the sport, a special honor reserved for
a very few. Ramon would be only the 11th to join this elite group
In his remarks, Dr. Jones pointed out
that Ramon qualified for the special award not only for being the first
native of Belize to become a certified diver, but for his role in the
famous Cousteau trip into the Blue Hole. Nunez was chosen by his
government to serve as a guide for Cousteau and his crew on the Calypso
and enjoyed the privilege of diving alongside that world-class team.
That iconic picture of the Calypso in the Blue Hole, and Ramon's role
on that journey, served to bring worldwide attention to Belize and advanced
diving considerably in that area of the world. In addition to
his role as a scuba diver, Ramon's work at Ramon's Village Resort has
made him the "face of Belize" to divers visiting from around
the globe. His role in promoting dive tourism in Belize cannot
be underestimated, Dr. Jones emphasized.
The event was covered by the San Pedro
Sun newspaper, as well as by Love TV out of Belize City. They
interviewed both Dr. Jones and Ramon. Nunez movingly expressed
that although he had already received so many awards for diving and
tourism over the years, none meant as much to him as the Giant Stride
Award because of what it signified, as well as its artistic value.
Each award, shaped in the figure of a diver performing a giant stride,
is hand made by Sydney Pratt, an artist based on Grand Bahama Island.
Ramon's award was no exception and the statue's shades of blue were
quite symbolic of his defining expedition into the Blue Hole. Rice
made a point that each of the recipients is a distinct individual with
a singular contribution and therefore the award reflects that uniqueness.
The event concluded with a heartfelt
tribute from Ramon's cousin, Angel Nunez, who announced the upcoming
March 2012 release of Ramon's autobiography "Nature and the Maya
Boy." The event was well attended by lifelong friends and associates
of Mr. Nunez and had the intimate feel of a family reunion that Ramon
desired. It was a joint effort by International Legends of Diving along
with Ramon's Village Resort to honor a man who gave so much, not only
to his island community, but to a diving community the world over.
For more information and pictures from
the event, please visit the International Legends of Diving website
© 2011 International Legends of Diving
All Rights Reserved