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October 2004 Vol. 19, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Divers Vanish in Fiji

from the October, 2004 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Well-know Fiji-based dive instructor Dan Grenier, 54, and Australian Danielle Gibbons, disappeared September 1, while drift diving. Grenier, founder of Crystal Divers and trained as a Navy Seal, was managing Bamboo Reef Divers on Nananu-I-ra Island.

Undercurrent subscribers Ron and Katy Gillespie (Huntington Beach, CA), were on that boat along with a couple from Oregon, the divemaster, Sammy; a crewmember, Greniers Fijian wife Alisi, and 27- year-old Gibbons, who served as the nanny for Greniers children. On the second dive, the four divers were dropped off at Pot Luck with Sammy at 11:30 a.m., while Gibbons and Grenier were taken to the windward side of the reef for a current dive at Maytag. They planned to drift to the leeward side then rejoin the group. The four divers completed their dive and had lunch on the lee side. No one looked out for Dan and his charge, nor paid much attention to the sea.

After lunch the boat moved 200 yards away, with no sign of Grenier and Gibbons. The dive was in a strong current with fluky up and down drafts, Ron Gillespie told us. On the surface, Alisi had started searching for Grenier and Gibbons, but picked up the other divers as they surfaced. It was 2:30 p.m. If the pair were drifting, they could have been several miles away. Alisi circumnavigated the reef, called for help to the resort, and when another boat from Bamboo Reef arrived at 4:00 p.m., Alisi, now low on fuel, returned to the resort.

The next day local boats, private planes and helicopters searched unsuccessfully. Twelve days after the incident, Gibbons BCD, regulator, tank and wetsuit were found by villagers in Yasawa waters, about 70 miles from where they were last seen. There was no evidence of a shark attack. Reminiscent of the Australian incident (the inspiration for the movie Open Water) where some people claimed the missing divers had faked their disappearance, Fiji police spokesman Mesake Koro said, obviously these two may have eloped or got out of the county so we need to find that out. Gibbons sister Corrine called the police comment absolute rubbish and created a website (www.missingdivers.com) to dispel false information. On her site, is a drawing by a psychic of an island where green turtles go to nest, that the psychic believes may harbor the missing divers.

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