AQUA QUEST INTERNATIONAL INC, specializes in archaeological recovery, research and ocean exploration, archaeological diving education, and construction of the humanitarian community.
Respect the environment and humanity is a priority at Aqua Quest International Inc. Our project has been based on compliance with the legal framework of Nicaragua in accordance with the rules and laws in the country and its regulations as the law 462 and 445 Law of Autonomy and Indigenous Communities.
Giving back to local communities is part of our business model. Profit sharing with the local communities, creating work programs for disabled divers and providing community assistance to disabled divers, single mothers, orphans, the homeless, elderly and children are company priorities.
Providing fresh water wells to these communities that are surrounded by water, yet lack clean drinking water is also a priority for us.
Aqua Quest International, a Florida based company specializing in locating, preserving and documenting historical shipwrecks of the world became involved in this incredible opportunity quite by chance when we were contacted by Dr. Steve Foster from Georgia who had become deeply involved in helping the Indigenous people of the Miskito Coast of Honduras. Over the years, many hundreds of young men and boys became permanently disabled and many perished by diving for spiny lobsters in over 100’ of water without proper training or equipment. Countless numbers ended up in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives by way of decompression sickness also known as “the Bends”. Dr. Foster tried reaching out to many over the years to help provide an alternative choice for these residents to provide a living for their impoverished families. Captain Bob Mayne, a diver since the age of 13, heard this story and it immediately resonated with him. He wanted to help somehow and with the firm belief that every problem is simply an opportunity for a solution, he got on a small airplane with Dr. foster and made the trip down to the Miskito Coast of Honduras. Captain Bob and Dr. Foster met with the residents to draft a plan to alter the course and end this tragic and unnecessary practice that has devastated these communities for generations.
The idea was to use our film division, Aqua Quest Films, to create a documentary film showing these tragic conditions and the positive change that would occur by providing the proper training and equipment to dive safely and eliminate this dangerous practice of “Russian Roulette” with a scuba tank. Dr. Foster and Captain Bob also discussed opening up a wood carving workshop and school that would teach the already wheelchair bound for life former divers to use their hands to carve wooden toys, souvenirs and furniture using the plentiful Honduran Mahogany wood in their rivers.
The project morphed a plan to reclaim, process and market these logs. In addition to removing these logs that are clogging the rivers and creating navigation hazards, lower fish counts and flooding in the villages, this amazing project would provide desperately needed jobs. The proceeds from sales would be shared with the communities providing much needed funds to drill desperately needed fresh water wells, build the disabled diver wood carving shop and a women’s shelter, create organic farms and build and repair roads and infrastructure. For a business team with a deep commitment to making the world we all share a better place, we were honored and humbled by the chance to be a part of this positive transformation. Captain Bob and his group of new found Miskito Indian brothers and sisters, went village to village in small boats and canoes and signed agreements with the local communities to get this project underway.
With agreements in hand, Captain Bob and a crew of 5 loaded our 65’ steel vessel, the Aqua Quest, and set out from the safe waters of Florida to the unknown and dangerous waters of the Honduran coast. Armed with 5 firearms for personal protection in accordance with all laws, regulations and treaties, they arrived and declared their firearms to the Honduran Navy and they were allowed to proceed to be processed into the country the next morning. Long story short, a corrupt group of local officials with less than true moral compasses, arrested and jailed the crew on false and unfounded weapons charges. After 52 days in a ramshackle jungle prison, Captain Bob and the crew were declared innocent of all charges and ordered released.
This could have easily been end of the story but Captain Bob instead of returning to the comforts of Florida as a defeated man, was more determined than ever to see this project through as he had given his word to the residents of this area that positive change was in store for many. By chance, some Honduran and Nicaraguan Miskito Indian brothers were on a bus in Honduras and the Nicaraguans requested that Captain Bob visit their communities to discuss the possibility of doing the project in Nicaragua.
Without hesitation, Bob flew down to Nicaragua and again went village to village giving presentations, building trust and gaining support to do this project with our Miskito Indian brothers and sisters across the border in the RAAN region of the Miskito Coast. We now own a sawmill on 100 acres of leased land in the town of Lamlaya employing 25 local residents that can now provide for their families. We are reclaiming, processing and exporting this incredible wood with an unmatched and intriguing story.
In an odd twist to this project with more turns than the rivers we are working in, we are now manufacturing lobster pots with the reclaimed wood for local companies. By supplying these lobster pots, our goal of eliminating the high risks associated with the unsafe diving practices is now becoming a reality. The goal of creating a Documentary Film covering this situation is also becoming a reality as we are now in production of this film. We have recently broken ground on our woodworking school and shop that will employ some of these disabled former divers and as the project expands, we are hiring more local residents thus further eliminating the possibility of a new generation of people having to dive in deep water and roll the dice with their future as well as the future of their families.
Aqua Quest is also very proudly planting thousands of mahogany trees in the areas where we now live and work with the very long term and worthy goal to help return the forests to their original and deserving condition.