HALL OF FAME
Over the years, Neco Marine has had many famous guests diving with our land-based operation as well as on the Palau Aggressor live-aboard. We have certified the President of Palau as well as our First Lady, and have taken the President of Taiwan on his first snorkeling adventure. Below is our own little "Hall of Fame" of some of our memorable dive guests.
In 1995, Jean-Michel Cousteau and his French film team dove with us while making a CD on kids and the marine environment. Thirteen year old Colette Etpison was one of two local kids featured on the CD.
Famous movie producers like Gail Ann Hurt, James Cameron ("The Abyss", "Terminator", "Titanic"), and Mark Burnett ("Survivor"), and actresses like Patricia Arquette have visited Palau and dove with us, but usually they come to get away from it all and want their privacy, so we don't announce it when they are here...
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, had fun with us in 2002, and planted a dive flag on Peleliu's reef instead of the moon.
Famous marine life artist Wyland from Hawaii dove with us in 2002 and came back on our invitation in 2003 to paint 2 murals in Palau, one at the airport terminal and one at the Etpison Museum, together with local artists Mandy Etpison and Sam Adelbai. Neco was the main sponsor of this project, which also included a kid's wall and workshop by Wyland for local schoolkids to teach them about the ocean and art.
Pat Scannon and the BentProp Project volunteers have been coming to Palau since 1993, always using Neco's boats and our local guide and boat driver Joe Maldangesang. We admire Pat's efforts in identifying and reporting MIA sites, which have put together the stories of many missing WWII pilots and brought closure to their families back home. In 2003 we were able to assist them in finding a US plane totally by accident. We were opening our new facility, and wanted to get an old anchor to decorate the roadside. Henni, our PADI Course Director, went to look in the commercial harbor area, which is littered with old anchors from freighters. While lifting an anchor in shallow water, he noticed parts of a WWII plane underneath, which Pat Scannon later identified as the Corsair plane of missing WWII pilot Major Nelson. Check out Pat's website at www.bentprop.org.
In 2004, the Survivor Palau film crew and contestants invaded Palau for 3 months, their base camp at Neco Marine. Our Drop-Off Bar and Grill was built for the film crew, who partied there every night while in Palau. Neco Marine's Course Director Henni Rall was their local coordinator, and later went on to the Cook Islands with Survivor to film that episode. The final two Palau contestants spent the night at the mountain-top home of Shallum and Mandy Etpison as their reward.
In February 2007 we hosted Herbert Nitsch, aka "The Flying Fish", the multiple World Champion free diver from Europe with his friends and father. He held a workshop for our staff and local fishermen on breath hold diving, and used our famous Blue Hole / Blue Corner dive sites as his free diving playground. Herbert dominates competitive free diving and is currently the "Deepest Man on Earth" with his latest record depth of 214meters/702ft and the longest official breath hold of 9 minutes and 4 seconds. Check out his website http://herbertnitsch.com