Scuba diving pioneer Bob Soto dies age 88
Mr. Soto, who opened one of the world’s first diving resorts in Grand Cayman in 1957, is revered as a pioneer of the sport and one of the founders of the Cayman Islands tourism industry.
Though there are nearly 50 operators on Grand Cayman now, Bob Soto was the first. He ran the business for 20 years before selling it to Ron Kipp who called it Ron Kipp’s Bob Soto’s Diving and spent the next 22 years expanding it further. Ron retired in 2003 and sold the business to Dan Tibbetts of Reef Divers who called the new company Bob Soto’s Reef Divers.
Soto created his own equipment and promotional diving videos to assist the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and diving clubs throughout the United States, as well as
I built my own backpacks out of bits of plywood and aluminum metal, and made my own weights,” he recalled. “I would break up batteries, get the lead out and melt them down to make lead weights.”
Sculptor Simon Morris states: "I am truly saddened by Bob's passing. He was a foundation of the industry both in Cayman and beyond. He and Suzy were instrumental in the project to place my sculpture "Tradition" at Fort George and then Heroes Square in Georgetown. Boby and Suzy always greeted me as an old friend whenever I went to Cayman. I'll miss you Bob, and my heart goes out to Suzy and family.
Soto was made a Member of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for his various life long contributions.
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