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St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Homage to the legendary Bill Tewes

Bill Tewes (pronounced too-ess) had the life of which many divers can only dream. After being coerced into finishing his diving certification course while working as an engineer for an oil company in Grand Bahama Island, the Bahamas, he fell in love with the underwater world on his first open water dive. He continued his training, began leading divers and eventually in 1979, accepted a position as divemaster on the Yankee Trader for a 300 day, 31,500 mile, around-the-world cruise.

This job took him on an adventure scuba diving all over the world. Now with over 10,000 dives in 30 countries, Bill had over 7,000 dives in St.Vincent alone, where he had settled for decades. At the end of the trip Bill did go to Papua New Guinea to start a dive operation that is now Jais Aben Resort near Madang. Bill trained the local men to be divemasters and some of them still work there and remember Bill fondly, even today.

After Papua New Guinea, Bill returned to his home town of Corsicana, Texas where he searched for a new place to open a dive shop. He learned of a shop for sale in the small island country St. Vincent, and in 1984, bought it, with its entire six sets of scuba gear. He continued his habit of hiring local people and training them to be the divemasters. Today, many of his staff have been with the operation for 25 years or more. Lots of loyalty!

People who dived with Bill become better divers. It never fails as you could always learn something new from him. Bill was one of the first operations to use a dive computer, and some of his staff still use their original Edge computers today. He taught buoyancy control before it was fashionable. He taught his divers about the creatures and about protecting the underwater world. At the end of a dive his slate used to be full. Then, with the magnetic slates that can easily be erased you couldn't stop him!

Bill's dry wit was definitely an asset to his operation -- keeping his customers well entertained. Bill was also something of a famous underwater photographer, he had had the distinction of having five of his underwater photos used on special collectors government issue stamps. Bill was also on the local postage stamp (since 1988), a bit unusual at the time for a "living" person in most countries.

One of his hobbies was teaching young people to dive. He taught many junior divers from ages 7 and up. He loved it and considered it a challenge to explain the concepts of diving to those who have not yet mastered some of the basic concepts of life.

You would often find Bill working in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines booth at most major dive retail shows all over the world. If you never had a chance to meet Bill - you'll undoubtedly would have made a new friend!

Press Release, October 2, 2012
Born in 1941, Bill Tewes has spent over half his life diving around the world. In the early 1980’s he purchased a small dive shop on an obscure island in the Caribbean. He soon realized that there were no “big fish” to attract divers, so he had to find another draw. Instead of big fish, he concentrated on small
critters. Over the years, he turned the island of St. Vincent, in the Grenadines, into the “Critter Capital of the Caribbean.”

He earned two titles, “The Critter King,” and the “Curmudgeon” and he is equally proud of both of them. The country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines honored him by issuing a postage stamp with his picture on it.

After 28 years of pointing out “critters” and over 30 years as a dive instructor, Bill has decided to hang up his flippers, put his pointer away, recline in his hammock with a rum and coke and enjoy the life of retirement. His shop will continue to show the healthy reefs, fish and, of course, the “critters” that have made Dive St. Vincent famous.

Full PRESS RELEASE in PDF format (42 k)

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Bill Tewes' Dive St. Vincent
The Critter Capital of the Caribbean!

P.O. Box 864
St. Vincent, West Indies

Main Office: 784 457 4948
Dive Shop: 784-457-4714
Fax: 784-457-4948
VHF 16/68


PADI's oldest facility
in St. Vincent
since January 24, 1978
Dive St. Vincent is the
only dive shop in the country
that does critters

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