The Scuba Diving World Celebrates the Life of Captain Martin Cridge
The sudden passing of Martin Cridge, Master Liveaboards captain and co-founder of the Dirty Dozen Expeditions group, has brought a flood of tributes from luminaries of the scuba diving world. Cridge died on 18 June in the Marshall Islands, leaving behind his wife, Elaine, and young son, Tyke. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help his family and assist with his repatriation to his home in Micronesia.
Here are some of the tributes, last updated 28 June. All photos by Steve Jones.
Aron Arngrimsson (Owner, Dirty Dozen Expeditions)
The diving industry has lost one of its brightest and his family and friends have lost a father, partner, son, and a friend. Martin changed my life and career drastically for the better, being instrumental in coming up with the Dirty Dozen Expeditions. He came up with the name while sharing a cold beer on deck after a hard week on the boat, and was involved until his last day. During the years we spent together on the Truk Master on countless expeditions in Truk Lagoon, Bikini Atoll and beyond, he was never shy to share and pass on his vast knowledge about wreck-diving, wreck photography, history, and the things that made a difference from a customer having a good trip, to an unforgettable trip.
Some of the most memorable dives of my career were when Martin and I sneaked off the boat together exploring on long rebreather dives. Martin's strong personality was a force to be reckoned with on deck, which commanded his crew's respect but deep inside they knew him to be a good and kind soul. After I left the boat and started Dirty Dozen full time, we stayed in touch nearly every single day and further grew our friendship and shared many more breathtaking adventures through Dirty Dozen which were an outlet for both of us to share our passion to the limit. Martin was a great skipper, outstanding trip leader, incredible wreck photographer, and a dear friend which we lost way too soon, and he will be more than missed. Let us all remember his dry sense of humour, resolve, and kindness. He will be with me on every dive in Truk and Bikini in spirit and is forever a part of Dirty Dozen's legacy.
Until next time, skipper.
Earlier this year, when I was reminiscing with Martin about his favourite Truk Lagoon wrecks for a feature in DIVE, I couldn’t imagine that within months I’d be penning words of remembrance about him. Martin’s untimely passing is particularly poignant because he leaves behind his young son Tyke and his partner Elaine, a devastating loss for them. There was simply so much life left for him to live and so much life that he was a part of.
Martin was an instantly likeable character whose knowledge and enthusiasm rubbed off on those around him. He was in his element underwater and was a talented photographer in his own right, therefore his input and guidance were invaluable to me as we navigated through the labyrinths inside the wrecks of Truk. I spent some of the most enjoyable hours of my diving career here with him. In deep water and far inside wrecks that I was unfamiliar with, it was the implicit trust I had in him that enabled the creation of each image, a team effort like no other.
What I’ll always remember most about him though is his warmth, that sense of humour and above everything else just what a genuinely nice guy he was.
Anyone that met Martin might call him a guru. He was a wealth of knowledge with raw diving talent. He had the heart of a generous humanitarian and whether he was guiding divers or delivering supplies to a remote community, his home was the sea.
I always enjoyed catching up with Martin. We would meet up at the Sunset Bar at Blue Lagoon In Truk and catch up over a few beers or winsies. He could never understand why I asked the guys to put my bottle of wine in the fridge. We would joke and complain about the world and just enjoy spending some time together. He was a good soul, pure of heart and genuinely cared about people. Whenever I am at the Sunset Bar I will look over to the place where you used to sit and raise my (chilled) glass of red wine in your memory. You are what we call a GB (a Good Bast*rd). The world is a smaller place without you mate.
There were so many fond memories from our trip with Martin to Bikini Atoll but one that springs to mind was from an encounter with one of the region’s apex predators. Over a couple of days, we had started to be watched by first one and then up to three tiger sharks. The largest of these came in closer and closer until on one dive it was getting VERY close. I was next to Martin on the deco bar, he looked at my computer which said 40 minutes of stops to go and then he showed me his, which had a similar amount. Not a comfortable situation to be in! He paused momentarily and then calmly unclipped his bailout bottle as if getting it ready to use against said shark should things get dicey. When we got out, he calmly joked “I wonder how that shark would get on with no teeth”, such was his sense of humour after an undeniably intense and unforgettable encounter.
From the moment you would step onboard Martin’s passion and knowledge of these wrecks would rub off on you. His smart banter and ability to walk through a whole section or room of a wreck from memory was awe-inspiring. With a massive love for the location and of course the people, experiencing the Pacific the way Martin did can only be spoken by sailors wishes and divers' dreams.
2017 was the first time I met Martin, 8,000 miles from my home back in the UK, turns out Martin hailed from over the hill in Huddersfield. Over the years we stayed in touch, swopping updates on family, diving trips and Huddersfield United (football club). Martin threatened to rush back to the UK if they got back into the premiership but it wasn’t to be. Martin, thanks for the fantastic trips, the help and advice… you will be missed.
A diving superstar - an amazing man in so many ways that saved me from the dentist room in the silted out Saratoga - then looked after me with the bends on the same Bikini trip. A truly amazing human a great loss.
REST IN PEACE Martin
So tragic to lose such a pioneer and good man and our hearts go out to his wife and family, and those in his team who will miss him so much. RIP Martin.
Martin was one of the nicest guys you could meet and a fantastic skipper.
Martin was an incredible man. Such a generous man with both his time and knowledge. He will be greatly missed in our industry.
A great loss of a kind soul and expert wreck diver. My heart goes out to the loved ones left behind.
He'll be sorely missed not only by family and friends but the wider diving community who encountered his experience and knowledge of Truk Lagoon!! Not to mention the photography!!! May he rest in eternal peace!!
Martin was a super nice guy and so helpful. As well as being a top diver, skipper and photographer. Thoughts with all who knew him and especially to the family.
Vale Martin Cridge, thank you for all you have done in the diving world and beyond. You will indeed be missed.
RIP Martin a great guy, diver, photographer, skipper and family man. He will be missed thoughts with his family.
Terrible news, great skipper, learnt his craft in the Royal Navy & a true professional… My thoughts with his family & friends, he’ll be sorely missed. RIP Shipmate…
Terrible news. Martin was a competent skipper, larger than life personality and will be missed during our future visits to Micronesia.
Such a shock. A truly brilliant and knowledgeable skipper, he will be missed.
What an absolute tragedy! So sad to hear that. He was a great guy. What a loss for his family, and all us that knew him.
Nobody can say "Aikoku" like Martin. RIP captain.
I will miss you, Martin. We have lost a friend and a great wreck diver. I will also miss your inspiring stories and common dives beneath the Pacific waves.
Rest in peace, my friend.
Didier B. Follain-Grisell
Indeed, shocking news! Martin was such a good guy! Quiet, extremely knowledgeable, great photographer and of course Captain. He will be missed by all that knew him.
Joel Cprs DT
I’ll remember Martin in many positive ways-with a big smile and a great sense of humour, always great with a story. My condolences to your wonderful family. Rest in Peace Captain!
So sad to hear this about Martin.
I was lucky enough to be on the inaugural dirty dozen trip and Martin was a huge part of making that special. Not just as a skipper but also he dived with us, took some awesome pictures and showed us parts of the wreck only someone with his time in Truk could have got us to.
I was luckily enough to get to know Martin when I was Truk and I really enjoyed getting to do several ccr dives with him. We had some surreal moments in engine rooms and I’ll never forget our one dive at dusk on our rebreathers as sharks swam around us feeding. It was amazing. And he knew soooo much about the wrecks. He was so much fun to talk to. He will be sorely missed.
Unbelievable news, sorry to hear this. Thoughts go out to the family and God speed on returning you home to your loved ones. Thank you for your time with us in Cyprus.
Kate & Matt Robinson
Terribly saddened that this has happened to such a genuinely nice guy. We enjoyed our time with him in Truk. His knowledge and passion for expedition diving was infectious. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.
Martin was part of the Master Liveaboards family. His knowledge and passion for wreck diving and WWII were contagious and he will be missed. I will always remember a visit in the Philippines where we stumbled onto a small WWII museum and the stories and history of the US military presence in the Philippines and role in SEA he recounted. Thank you Martin.
Cridge leaves behind his wife, Elaine, and young son Tyke. A Go Fund Me page has been created to support his family and assist in his repatriation to Micronesia. Donations will be welcomed at www.gofundme.com/f/martin-cridge-memorial-fundraiser.