CCMI invites friends of all ages to join us for a virtual World Oceans Day Celebration
CCMI celebrates World Oceans Day every year as part of our Healthy Reefs outreach efforts, and despite global lock down, we still celebrated the occasion – just in a virtual format this year. On Saturday 6th June, we shared news of hope, resiliency and a clear pathway for corals reefs.
With the help of our Royal Patron, HRH The Earl of Wessex, and Dr Sylvia Earle of Mission Blue, CCMI announced that we have successfully championed Little Cayman as a Mission Blue Hope Spot! The island is now recognized as a Hope Spot because of the high abundance of threatened and endemic species found there – both on land and underwater. Just off the western point of Little Cayman is a site protected by the Cayman Islands Government that is one of the last remaining large spawning aggregation sites for the endangered Nassau grouper. Green, hawksbill and loggerhead sea turtles nest on Little Cayman’s beaches every year, and the coast is abundant with marine life, including seven species of sharks. Little Cayman’s coral reefs are also a vibrant contributor to the Island’s rich biodiversity.
Chris Alpers was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and he graduated from Colorado State University with degree in natural resource management. In 1995, Chris became a PADI dive instructor and moved to Grand Cayman where he has been guiding dives for the last 25 years. In 2004, Chris and his wife Katie started Indigo Divers. Believing less is more, Indigo Divers only takes six divers out at a time.
Born and raised in Albany NY, Julie always dreamed of living the life of an island girl. After traveling the world and learning to scuba dive, Julie fell in love the the underwater world. She moved to Grand Cayman in 1994, and took a job as an underwater photographer and dive instructor. Julie still lives in Cayman, inspired by the beauty of the land and sea.
Ellen Cuylaerts is an ocean advocate, underwater & wildlife photographer, explorer, public speaker. Inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2019, Ellen’s work has been exhibited worldwide, from New York to St. Petersburg. Ellen loves the Arctic and telling stories about animals that need the ice for hunting and breeding, but she also loves the darkness and silence of cave diving. www.ellencuylaerts.com
Jacqui lived and worked in Cayman for 16 years before returning to South Africa, where she now works in a dive shop in Simons Town, Cape Town as a front office and bookings manager. In her spare time, she does photography and photo editing, and she is currently putting a portfolio together to start selling prints of landscape, underwater and animals.
Amanda lives in Grand Cayman where she works as an underwater photo pro. She loves to travel and has been to some amazing diving destinations worldwide. She has won numerous awards and recognition for her photos. She hopes her viewers will see what an amazing world it is under the sea and will help protect it with her, for our future.
Originally from Portugal, Tiago has lived in Little Cayman since 2016. He bought his first underwater photo setup in 2009, when he was a teenager.
After traveling Africa, Europe, Central and South America, his journey lead him to Little Cayman. He worked as a dive instructor and boat captain for three years before joining Reef Divers Photo Center as a photo pro.
It is hard to explain to a non-diver the passion to go underwater and see marine life eat, fight, mate and die, sometimes all in the span of an hour. An avid scuba diver, Diana is obsessed with recording marine life through photography and sharing her images to spread the word about the beauty, colour and detail of the ocean.
Diana has been part of CCMI for 20 years as a Board member and a Navigator. She is proud of the work they have done to further research on the future of coral reefs.
Jeff Varga grew up in Canada and fell in love with scuba diving on the west Coast of British Columbia.
He became an instructor in 2001 and moved to the Caribbean in 2002.
He took up underwater photography early in his instructing career and has been practicing ever since.
We appreciate the support of our sponsors and partners who are making this World Oceans Day celebration possible: