International Legends of Diving presents GIANT STRIDE AWARD
(DiverWire) 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 of divers.
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 at www.legendsofdiving.com