The passing of a legend and
a true friend to many.

Earlier this week we awoke to the devastating news of the passing of one of the true legends of SCUBA diving, Allan Power. But more than just one of the world’s most respected divers, Allan was a unique and cherished identity on Espiritu Santo.

Born in Sydney, Australia in 1933, Allan began his working life as a qualified pastry chef in 1953, before working in a foam rubber factory for 15 years. Purchasing his first underwater camera in 1956, his passion with the undersea world soon blossomed spending his holidays in the early 60s on Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. It wasn’t long before Allan’s eye for the exquisite beauty of the reef saw him win the much coveted Levanto prize for underwater photography, and the beginnings of a remarkable career photographing the world’s oceans. His treasured book The Great Barrier Reef published in 1977, opened the eyes of the world to the incredible beauty of the reef.

Allan Power

In December 1969 he travelled to Santo on board the salvage ship Pacific Seal with Barry May to photograph the salvage of the propellers from the SS President Coolidge. However, Allan soon became involved with the salvage operation itself and one could assume, this was where his passion for the great lady began.

In 1978 Allan was offered the position of diving director on Bokissa Island Resort. It wasn’t long before he returned to Santo following the Coconut Rebellion, and in 1981 he established Allan Power Dive Tours. Popularity for Allan’s tours grew quickly and between 1982 and 1985 as many as 45 groups booked dive tours with him in one year – which incidentally made Hotel Santo’s name. In fact, it is widely recognised that Allan initiated tourism on Espiritu Santo and was therefore a founding father to economic growth of the island, prompting the locals on Santo always called him “Uncle”.

Allan’s reputation for the way in which he looked after his diving guests and ran his dive operation saw the business grow in stature as the premier dive operation on Santo and one that was held in high regard worldwide. So much so that on November 8,

2011, Allan was inducted into the International SCUBA Diving Hall of Fame in the Cayman Islands. This prestigious award recognised his contribution to the diving industry in general and his incredible work and achievements on the Coolidge.

When Allan became the unofficial caretaker of the Coolidge, he also became the guardian of the remains of Captain Elwood J Euart, which were yet to be discovered on the great ship. It wasn’t until after the formation of the Elwood J Euart Association and their South Pacific World War II Museum project was launched, that by pure coincidence Allan’s team discovered the remains of Captain Euart on the Coolidge, where they had been lying for around 70 years. That find resulted in the successful recovery and repatriation of Captain Euart’s remains back to his home town in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, USA. For the past 15 years, a memorial built by Captain Euart’s men has been cleaned and repainted by the dive community, led by Kevin & Mayumi Green, to ensure his name will forever be associated with the rich history of Espiritu Santo. Allan made over 15,000 dives on the Coolidge and has taken over 20,000 divers to the Lady alone – a remarkable achievement for someone who was still diving into his 85th year.

Once in a lifetime someone comes along who can change the way we look at the world. To see it in a way we could never have imagined. For those lucky enough to have spent dive time with Allan Power will appreciate why he was indeed, one of those people.

Vale Mr President

Thanks to Dave Cross from Beachfront Resort for his assistance in preparing this tribute.