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BENEATH THE SEA ANNOUNCES THEIR DIVERS OF THE YEAR
Monday 4th April 2011

Left to right - Michael and Howard Hall - Divers of the Year / Arts, Armand Zigahn - Founder of Beneath the Sea, Martha Watkins Gilkes - Diver of the year / Environment, Joann Zigahn - President of Beneath the Sea, Dr. Alex Brylske - Diver of the year / Education.

The Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year award has, for the past thirty-years, been honoring those men and women whose presence has made significant and lasting contributions to the past, present, and future of  scuba diving by selecting for honor those divers who rank at the top of their field in Arts, Science, Service, Environment,  and Education. It is with pride that Beneath the Sea presents the Divers of the Year, Class of 2011.

The awards were presented in a VIP Black tie Dinner March 26th, 2011 at the annual BENEATH THE SEA CONVENTION held at the Meadowlands Convention Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Martha Watkins Gilkes entering the Fish and Famous Reception.


 

Martha Watkins Gilkes received the Diver of the year/Environment and
Jean Michel Cousteau received the Pioneer of the sea award for the significent contributions he has made to protection of the marine environment.

Martha Watkins Gilkes named as Diver of the Year / Environmental.

Antiguan and owner of FANTA-Sea Island Ltd. Martha Watkins Gilkes was recently  honored as  DIVER OF THE YEAR at BENEATH THE SEA CONVENTION.  Martha is a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Master Instructor, teaching scuba diving for 30 years. She is a Platinum Pro 5000 hour diver, member of the American Society of Media Photographers, and author of  three  books, A Diving Guide to the Eastern Caribbean, Shipwrecks of the Caribbean and an InSITE TRAVEL GUIDE TO ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA. As 10-year president of the Eastern Caribbean Safe Diving Association based in Barbados, she was instrumental in obtaining the first Recompression chamber for the Eastern Caribbean. She has served as diving officer for the Antigua and Barbuda Historical Society since 1990, is a member of The New York based Explorers Club and has worked on underwater film and photograph assignments with Stan Waterman for over 30 years. Martha served as President of the Women Divers Hall of Fame from 2005- 2008. Today she serves as the Women Divers Hall of Fame Fundraising Chairperson.  On several occasion she has partnered with the Antigua Department of Tourism to do joint promotions of Antigua and Barbuda and the Women Divers Hall of Fame in New York, Las Vegas and Florida.   Gilkes was presented the prestigious WYLAND Icon Award by internationally acclaimed marine artist WYLAND in 2010 for her environmental work and was recognized by the United Nations Environment Program for outstanding women in the Environment.  As head of Antigua Barbuda Independent Tourism Authority (ABITPC), a local Antigua non profit company, she fought for the protection of 12 dolphins held in an inferior pen and helped rescind a license issued to a foreign company to capture 12 wild dolphins annually. During that fight she commented, “Those in the captive dolphin trade like to refer to us as “animal activists” as if it is something negative to be concerned about nature and the creatures of the sea. I consider myself, instead, a conservationist and an environmentalist. In my mind there can be no greater calling in this world than to protect nature and our precious environment.”

Martha Watkins Gilkes with Celine Cousteau, grand daughter of famous underwater explorer, Jacques Cousteau, at Beneath the Sea celebrating Jacques Cousteau's 100th birthday.

Locally in Antigua, Gilkes has been involved in Nation wide Clean up campaigns to “Make Antigua Shine”, taking her environmental concerns top side as well as underwater.

Martha Watkins Gilkes with diving legend Nick Icorn and Captain Tony Gilkes at Beneath the Sea.


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