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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bonaire’s Dee Scarr Receives Coveted NOGI Award at DEMA Show 2008

Last Thursday evening at the 49th Annual NOGI Awards Gala, held in conjunction with DEMA Show 2008, Bonaire’s Dee Scarr of Touch the Sea was honored with the presentation of the 2008 NOGI Award for Distinguished Service by the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences (AUAS).  The “NOGI” is the oldest and most prestigious award in the diving industry, and is given to four divers and undersea luminaries who rank at the top of their fields in Arts, Science, Sports/Education, and Distinguished Service. 

Accepting the Award from Bonaire’s Director of Tourism, Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes and Cathy Church, a long time friend Scarr commented, “When I came to Bonaire as a dive instructor in 1980, I learned the joys of guiding divers on protected reefs.  It’s a real privilege for me to work in the Bonaire National Marine Park and to be able to discuss the wonderful residents of our Marine Park--and how they’re protected--in my presentations.”

Since her arrival in Bonaire in 1980 and founding of Touch the Sea in 1982, Scarr has logged thousands of dives and introduced hundreds of divers to dozens of marine animals. The significance of this is great: once introduced to Scarr’s very personal perspective on marine animals, divers feel a sense of belonging in the sea rather than simply visiting. Their instinct to protect marine ecosystems is enhanced.

Scarr’s current project is her first that is primarily educational rather than hands-on. She created Action in Behalf of Coral in 2005, when she realized that dive training agencies don’t provide critical information about living coral to their students: the information that explains why coral is fragile. Dee’s website, www.touchthesea.com, provides more information about the ABC Project, as well as the Living with a Razor Sharp Skeleton sticker. 

Between 1988 and 1991, Scarr and her buddies tied more than 600 sponges back onto pilings beneath Bonaire’s Old Pier (aka North or Town Pier) in Touch the Sea’s Sponge Reattachment Project. In the mid-90’s she surveyed Bonaire’s harbor area (from the marina to the piers), removing recent trash, establishing which areas were being misused, and communicating this information to the Bonaire Marine Park for the education of the mis-users. She promotes the carrying of a small net bag she calls a Pocket Cleaner Station, so on the occasions divers see trash, they can bring it up right away rather than waiting for a dedicated cleanup dive.

Scarr has written three books: Touch the Sea, about interactions with marine animals, The Gentle Sea, a personalized look at the undersea creatures divers are likely to encounter, and a children’s book, Coral’s Reef, about two children and what they learn from snorkeling – and from an octopus named Oliver. Dee wrote monthly articles about marine animals and their behaviors for Dive Training magazine for more than a decade, and currently writes about marine animals for The Bonaire Reporter. Dee was the photographer for the original Guide to the Bonaire Marine Park and contributed to the second edition of the guide. Her work has appeared in numerous publications.

The first major recognition of Scarr’s work was in 1991, when she was the second recipient (after Jacques Yves Cousteau) of the PADI/SeaSpace Environmental Awareness Award.  She’s received the Boston Sea Rovers Diver of the Year Award, the Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year Award, and the Underwater Club of Boston’s Paul Revere Spike (2007.) Dee was an inaugural member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame and SSI’s Platinum Pro Divers (those with more than 5000 dives; Scarr has logged over 7000 dives). She received Captain Don Stewart’s Accolade Award in 2006 for “making knowledge of the sea fun and spreading desire in others to learn and become themselves part of our sea.”

Scarr’s presentations teach about marine animals in an entertaining way. She speaks weekly on Bonaire at Captain Don’s Habitat; she has spoken before dive clubs, dive symposiums, and even non-diving audiences – including school groups – in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Curacao, and Antigua, to name a few.

Scarr received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English and Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Florida. She taught high school English, public speaking, and debate before beginning her diving career on the Bahamian island of San Salvador. Dee became a SCUBA instructor in 1974. In 1985, she married David Batalsky; they adopted Sweetie Pie, a very special Bichon Frise, in 2005.  (Source:  TCB-NY)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 28, 2008 at 5:00pm AST
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bonaire Recognizes Industry Partners with Golden Flamingo Awards

Honoring select industry partners that have contributed positively to Bonaire, the island recently presented its Second Annual Golden Flamingo Awards on November 1st, 2007 at the DEMA trade show in Orlando, Florida, USA. 

The recipients of the Golden Flamingo Awards 2007 were:

Airline of the Year:  American Eagle

Media Partner of the Year:  DiveNewswire

Tour Operator of the Year:  PADI Travel Network

Person of the Year:  Timothy Webb

Evette Negron and Tracey Hoo from American Eagle, Christine Grange from PADI Travel Network, and Scott Jones from DiveNewswire, as well as “Person of the Year” Tim Webb were on hand to personally receive the Awards.  The 2007 recipients were determined by a vote of the public and private sector tourism stakeholders.  (Source:  TCB-North America)

Posted by Susan Davis on November 07, 2007 at 9:55am AST
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Toucan Diving Announces Pre-DEMA Special

Located at DEMA booths 2118 and 2120, Plaza Resort Bonaire and Toucan Diving announce an “Early Bird” special--"Toucan Dive For One” (2for1 Diving) in low season December 2007 and January 2008.

The Plaza Resort Bonaire and Toucan Diving are pleased to announce a Pre-DEMA special or “Early Bird” Toucan Dive for One offer.  This special offer is valid for travel between December 1-21, 2007 and January 5 - February 2, 2008 in both Standard Suite or Grand Suite Oceanview categories where the first diver pays the full diver price and the second diver sharing in the same room pays only the non-diver price and gets the identical dive package free. This is a limited time offer, only valid on new bookings made now through October 26, 2007.

For groups of ten or more paying guests during this sale, the group leader is guaranteed his or her own Standard Suite for the duration of the stay.

For additional information about this special, contact Plaza Resort Bonaire(Source:  Plaza Resort Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 25, 2007 at 8:49am AST
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Monday, September 24, 2007

Solar Management Announces DEMA Specials for its Three Bonaire Properties

Solar Management, the management firm for Buddy Dive Resort, Belmar Oceanfront Apartments, and Caribbean Club Bonaire, has just announced their DEMA specials.

To view the specials for these properties, click here (in PDF format).  (Source:  Solar Management Release)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 24, 2007 at 9:35am AST
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Monday, September 04, 2006

Buddy Dive Announces DEMA and 2007 Specials

With the DEMA diving trade show fast approaching, Buddy Dive on Bonaire announces their show special for groups, as well as a 2007 special for individual travelers.

The DEMA special is for groups and is perfect for either small or large groups since every eighth diver is free.  Also, guests receive a complimentary upgrade to unlimited nitrox and, on top of that, 50% discount on every group member’s restaurant and bar bill (maximum USD $75.00 per person per week). To make it even better, all group members receive a free upgrade to unlimited boat dives (when booking the 6-boat dive package) if the reservation is booked and deposited prior to the DEMA show. This offer is valid for travel, stay and departure between April 15th and December 14th, 2007. Reservations need to be made prior to January 31st, 2007.

If you’re traveling with a smaller group or your family, there’s no need to feel left out as because Buddy Dive has decided to continue Buddy’s Super Spring Saving--giving you free unlimited nitrox and a 50% discount on food and beverages (maximum USD $75.00 per person per week) when staying between April 15th and May 31st, 2007.

For more information, please contact your favorite travel partner, call 1-866-GO-BUDDY or mail to .

Please note these specials are for new bookings only and cannot be combined with other special offers. Food and beverage credit cannot be used at Lions Den Restaurant.  (Source:  Buddy Dive)

Posted by Susan Davis on September 04, 2006 at 10:59am AST
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