Adolfo Ayuso: Fishing Guide, One of the First Scuba Divers & Dive Shop Operators in Belize

Adolfo Ayuso

Adolfo Ayuso was born in Xcalak Quintana Roo on February 20, 1950. While still a baby, only a year old, his family moved to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. He grew up in the little fishing village of San Pedro and attended only elementary school before joining his father and older brother to help support the family at the age of 12 years. Like many in the village, they made their living by fishing and diving for lobster, which they would sell in Belize City. He worked and learned the trade alongside his father and brother until he set off on his own at the age of 18 to work as a guide and dive master.

Adolfo’s cousin, Ramon Nunez, was the first certified native diver in Ambergris Caye. Adolfo and his friends, Eduardo Brown and Gil Gonzalez, soon followed in his footsteps,

First Dive Shop
Operator at Ramon's
Reef Resort
becoming certified by the same instructor, Nyle Everett. He married his wife, Yolanda, at the age of 19 and the first of their four children was born the next year.

Ayuso was one of the first natives of Belize to own and operate a dive shop. He ran the Dancing Dolphin, the shop affiliated with Ramon’s Village. An outgoing man like his cousin, Ramon, Adolfo drew people to himself and diving with his

L-R Jeff Rice,
Adolfo and Ramon
Nunez - early 80's
love of life and sense of adventure. His co-workers remember him as a kind man with a soft heart and a lover of the sea, which he enjoyed and challenged. The sun sent him a smile that warmed any social gathering he attended. Known as a loyal friend, he was always quick to offer a joke, a smile, or even a fish. His love of life drew people to him like a magnet. Tragically, his life would be cut all too short in a diving accident on June 2, 1985.

The accident occurred when he took some tourists from Houston to dive in the cave under Caye Caulker. This is the same cave that Cousteau had explored. He became disoriented and was unable to find his way out. A plaque was placed in the front of the cave with Adolfo's name on it. His death was a great loss for San Pedro. He was only 35 years old and left a wife and four young children behind.

When friends and family recall his short but very full life, they all talk about his smile,

Adolfo's wife, Yolanda
and their children
his readiness to help a friend in need, and his love of dancing at Carnival. He was truly the “life of the party” and brought joy to those who were privileged to know him. His diving talents were superior to the average diver. Adolfo could dive and only use 1000 psi on a 60 min dive. Sometimes he would change his tank for a couple of days. He was a fish in the water and swam like one. As a guide, he was determined to make the tourist happy. One diver recalls the first time his son went diving in the ocean. Though there was some concern about the strong current, Adolfo had it all worked out. He laughed as he tied 50 feet of rope to the waist of the diver's son. Adolfo would simply retract the rope when he wandered

Adolfo, his brother Pete,
and Ramon Nunez Jr
too far from the group. The young boy darted around happily and, when it was time to ascend, Adolfo just reeled him in just like a big Grouper.

An avid promoter of scuba diving, shortly after hearing about the diving organization D.A.N., he was seen in a dug-out canoe with the D.A.N. sticker affixed to its side. He immediately began promoting D.A.N. to divers throughout the island. Ayuso was also a proud member of the Lion's Club and was seen regularly, along with his wife, Yolanda, at the club dances. He loved his community and donated hours of his time to children in need. His humanitarian giving is legendary on the island. Adolfo would organize and raise funds for any project the Lion's Club was working on.

Though he died far too young, his life continues on through his children Zoby, Mari, Tulita, and Adolfito.

Adolfo Ayuso, Jr
Adolfo Ayoso Jr has followed in his father's footsteps as one of the PADI Dive Instructors at Ramon's Village. He teaches scuba diving to tourists, as well as the children of the island. His father would no doubt be proud of the contribution his son has made to diving--the sport he lived and died for.

Int'l Legends of Diving

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