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Thank you Richard Lindsay!...

Teresa Mars - Pharmacist
December 7, 2003 at 19:18:34

Dear Mr. Lindsey, I have wanted to write to you this whole past week since I saw your posting. Your comments, and obvious beliefs, were very comforting.  It is so refreshing to read of an opinion by someone who does not believe the Hughes' statements, and also someone different than those who have been so incredibly cruel and ignorant as to blame the dead.

You were absolutely 100% right in everything you said, in particular, dinner and a beer do not make a party.  Since the horrible night of October 8, 2001, I have heard stories from people who weren't even there about the wild "hurricane party".  Those statements have given the sense to those who are not familiar with the victims, as you were, and so was I, that they were wild, reckless, foolish daredevils, who dared a natural disaster to change their dive plans.  Nothing could be more wrong. 

Today, I was talking to my mother and father, who again told me that they speak of Ray daily, and still cannot grasp the fact that he is gone.  We had been discussing something that needed to be fixed, and my dad said in the background, "Ray could have fixed it." So very true. Ray could do anything, fix anything, learn and remember anything, etc. That is simply the man he was. So, as I have said so very often in the past, he would never have taken even a small chance on losing his life, to have a hurricane party, and laugh his life away. 

So many others on the Wave Dancer, that I came to know from another previous trip on the Sea Dancer, were much the same.  Some names that come immediately to mind are Bill & Sheila Kelley, Jim & Kim Garrison, Kristy McNeil (who did not dive because she thought she had an ear problem, and did not want to take any risks). There was also Sheila Johnston who had specialized emergency safety equipment.  I remember that perfectly because she and Ray had some discussions about specific safety equipment which he put on his Christmas wish list that year. And that's what I gave him for Christmas, the last Christmas he would ever have.

So, no matter what anyone says, and how horribly cruel they are to say it, I know in my heart that not one of the victims were able to make an informed decision about what to do.  They were never told of the true severity of Hurricane Iris, but were told specifically by Phillip Martin, the incompetent, ignorant captain, that they would be perfectly safe in Big Harbor, and would be back diving before they knew it. 

There was absolutely no reason for any of these people to doubt Martin, since he was the captain of a large vessel from a world-wide dive operation, headquartered and owned by Peter Hughes in Miami, Florida. Remember, at that time we did not know what we do now about how Hughes has avoided accountability by putting his boats in "dummy corporations", and how he cuts corners by flagging them in countries not governed by U.S. Coast Guard safety regulations.

Still, Belize does have IMMARBE (The International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize) which presumably has some safety standards.  This is the organization solely responsible for the official report on the capsizing of the Wave Dancer, which they promised to release in January 2002. So it's been almost two years and yet there is still no sign that such a report will ever see the light of day.

Recently, yet another crazy theory about the reason the Wave Dancer capsized has surfaced, so IMMARBE, through Mr. Angelo Marzopoulos, has stated that it must thoroughly investigate each new theory, as they did the "phantom tornado" and the "killer tug boat", both of which proved false. If anyone really believes this so-called "investigative report" will ever be published, I assume you are also trying to buy more stock in Enron.

The tragedy that occurred that October night is unforgiveable and unforgettable, as is the fact that neither Peter Hughes nor Captain Martin will be held responsible for gambling with the lives of 20 people who were killed aboard the Wave Dancer.  I and many others who lost our loved ones will never get over this mass killing, the horrific nature of it, and the cold, calculating, business-as-usual conduct of Peter Hughes in the weeks and months that followed the deaths of so many his customers and crew.

But thank you again Richard. As I said, your thoughts, which were posted on Ray's birthday, were comforting.

Ray loved life.  He was in excellent health and full of enthusiasm for the future and what we anticipated would be the best part of our lives.

Ray would have been 55 years old last Sunday.

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