Legends of Diving Articles
Stuart and Michelle Cove
Resort Dive Operators
Stuart and Michelle Cove were both born on the island of
Nassau in the Bahamas. Stuart, the son of a local dentist, had
roots on the Island of Abaco. Michelle’s parents haled from
Scotland and Switzerland. It was assumed that Stuart would
follow in his father’s Footsteps, but that was not to be.
His father remained a great influence on his life, however,
along with Gardner Young, the first dive operator in Nassau.
Gardner’s operation was
called Underwater Tours. Stuart's father was a great diver and
boater, as well, and finally got Stuart certified through
Gardner's dive shop. This move was a result of Stuart's mother's
concern that her 12 year old son was doing night dives without
being properly trained. The Bahamian instructor and stunt
double, Fran Doyle, who worked with Gardner, certified Stuart
and they went on later to work together in the movies as stunt
His father bought an air compressor for the boat he had. While
in his teens, Stuart and his friends would go up an down the
beach and teach the tourists how to dive. He would go home at
night and fill the tanks which would take half the night.
Stuart's education was calling and his father and mother sent
him to Canada to go to Western University. He came home after
his second year and was asked by a friend to help set up a dive
shop on Eluthera Island. He later left and started Coral Harbour
Divers with one of his father's boats and a little bit of dive
Stuart always bragged that he had the first answering machine on
the Island. He would take his Volkswagon Van and run fliers off
on a copy machine advertising his dive trips and hand them out
to all the hotels up and down the Island. He would pick up the
divers the next day...the humble beginnings of a now thriving
diver operation today.
In 1979 Stuart's life changed when he accepted a job as a diver
for the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only.” He became
fascinated learning from the movie crew about wrangling sharks,
working with fish, and learning the movie business. He and his
father, who owned the dive boat, became partners. Needing the
boat and their expertise, the movie producers contracted with
Stuart and his father.
Stuart went on to teach the movie crew how to dive and use the
equipment. He took care of the sharks for the scenes and helped
build the largest aquarium in the world at that time. He and his
father split the profits from their work on the movie.
When the filming ended, there were ten sets of scuba gear left
over and Stuart was offered the equipment. He bought it from Al
Giddings and his dive business was on its way.
In 1983 Stuart took over the Concession at the prestigious
Lyford Cay Club. It was at Lyford that he met the Financial
Officer's daughter and got
her involved in diving and water
skiing. Stuart soon certified Michelle in diving. Michelle went
on to Toronto to attend school and, after graduating, was
getting ready to travel to Europe. Stuart asked that she stay
and help him work with a student. This quickly led to her active
involvement in his business. With his passion for the sport and
her head for figures and marketing, his dive operation took off
and soon he and Michelle
acquired the South Ocean Golf and Beach Resort Dive
Center in 1992. This is where Stuart Cove's resides today and
still ranks number one with tourists year after year.
Their business union finally went a step further and the couple
went on to get married and raise a family. Michelle was able to
hone her skills as a Hollywood stunt double and did work in some
of the James Bond movies, as well as various commercials while
raising their children.
Stuart Cove's was built with the help of Hollywood. Eventually
the sets became dive sites for divers by attracting coral, which
made some of the best man-made reefs in the Bahamas. Popular
shows like Flipper used Stuart Cove's as the set. Through the
years the Cove's dive center has developed into the top Bahamas
site for commercials, TV shows, movies, and documentaries. This
was in no small part due to Stuart and Michelle's knowledge and
ability to meet the needs of the movie crews they worked with.
As a result of his shark wrangling in various movies, Stuart
went on to develop the world famous Shark Dive that people
travel from around the world to experience at their resort.
Stuart discovered that Tonic Immobility was something that could
be used to handle the sharks very easily. He developed shark
feed techniques by working with the sharks himself. Cove went on
to work with the company Neptunic and used their metal suits to
protect the divers feeding the sharks. The success of this Shark
Dive and Feeding program was a result of many hours of
experimentation underwater, as well as years of knowledge gained
from growing up as a boy in the Bahamas.
Stuart and Michelle have sunk over 20 derelict wrecks of the sea
in cooperation with the government of the Bahamas. They continue
to work in maintaining the quality of reefs in Nassau by
instituting mooring lines for ships. Stuart and Michelle have
maintained all the movie sets in their front yard, which still
serve today as a draw for divers from around the world. The
roster of famous divers who have dove at their resort is a Who's
Who of Diving. Movie stars and famous research teams from around
the world still make Stuart Cove's their first stop.
This has been a team effort and Stuart says it best when he says
with pride, “Michelle is half of this operation.” Michelle has
indeed kept their business at the cutting edge with photography,
technology, and constantly updating their website to make Stuart
Cove's one of the most modern and attractive dive resorts in the
world. Guests truly appreciate their accessibility to the
public, as they are known to regularly greet divers as they
arrive at the resort. Despite their hands-on involvement with
their world-renown dive operation, they have found time to
become involved in the development of an underwater park in
Nassau. They are passionate about protecting the reefs
throughout the Bahamas and the Florida Keys, as well as the
preservation and research of sharks.
In the past three years,
Stuart has expanded his operation to four locations:
Blue Adventures at Atlantis Resort
Lyford Cay Watersports
Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas
More information on Stuart Cove's can be found at
www.stuartcove.com and toll free at 800-879-9832
and in the Bahamas 242-362-4171
Portage Quarry Recreation Club, Inc.
12701 South Dixie
Bowling Green OH, 43402
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