Fund Freedom for the Aqua Quest Crew

Family and friends come together to assist the six Americans imprisoned in Honduras: Robert Mayne Jr, Michael Mayne Sr, Nick Cook, Devon Butler, Kelly "Boo Boo" Garrett, and Steve Matanich.

On the afternoon of May 5th, 2014 the US flagged vessel Aqua Quest was looking to enter the docks near a small town of Puerto Lempira in Honduras. They were eager to start a cooperative project with the Municipality of Ahuas and Miskito Indians. THEY WERE TO BEGIN WORK CLEARING LOGS AND DEBRIS FROM THE RIVERS THAT CONNECT THE COMMUNITIES OF AHUAS AND PROVIDE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE TO THE LOCAL RESIDENTS BY THE CREATION OF MANY JOBS. PROCEEDS FROM THIS PROJECT ARE TO BE SHARED WITH THE LOCAL MUNICIPALITY TO FUND VARIOUS PROJECTS TO IMPROVE THE COMMUNITY. THESE PROJECTS INCLUDE A WORKSHOP FOR DISABLED SPINY LOBSTER DIVERS TO SCULPT WOODEN TOYS AND CRAFTS, ORGANIC FARMS, ROAD IMPROVEMENTS, A WOMEN'S SHELTER, AND A MUNICIPAL FRESH WATER SYSTEM. IN ADDITION, PROPER EQUIPMENT AND TRAINING WILL BE PROVIDED TO THE LOCAL SPINY LOBSTER DIVERS TO MINIMIZE THE RISK OF THE TRAGIC AND PREVENTABLE OCCURRENCE OF DECOMPRESSION SICKNESS COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE BENDS. This invitation was accredited through official documents with the testimony of the municipal official Rudy Charles Barrow Stochshausen rendered before the A Quo at the initial hearing. While docking, they were detained. After a hearing, eight days later, the men were further detained on the false firearms charges.


At a hearing on Tuesday May 13th, 2014, the men were ordered to be further illegally detained for the false firearms charges. The boat was placed in the custody of the Honduran Navy.

These six men have spent everyday since May 5th in a prison in Puerto Lempira, Honduras. They are having to pay extra for sufficient food and are also being charged an additional daily fee to ensure their safe housing together within the prison. The funding goal has been set at $18,500 in hopes that we will be able to welcome these American citizens back by July 4th. 

the prison in Puerto Lempira          photo: Michael McCabe

The money raised will go towards ensuring the safety and well being of the men while in prison, and help secure their timely release. This money can provide healthy meals, improved living conditions, and help with mounting legal fees.

All surplus money will be used to directly aid the Miskito Indians and the people of Ahaus through local projects and charities.


The Story

The US flagged vessel Aqua Quest, entered the Caratasca Lagoon opening eight miles from the docks of the small town of Puerto Lempira in the Mosquito Coast area where it was to check in with the Port Captain. The team was traveling to Honduras to work on a cooperative project with the Municipality of Ahuas and Miskito Indians; a project several years in the making and one that would have a positive effect on the struggling residents. The Honduran Navy placed a Pilot onboard to guide the Aqua Quest through the shallow canal and into port. The pilot instead ran it up on a sand bar. The Captain of the Aqua Quest was finally able to get to shore just before the Port's office closed for business at 4 p.m. The Port Captain said it was too late to fully process their customs entry that day but confirmed that he would be ready at 6 a.m. to review their paperwork and told them to get a good night’s rest.

While the crew was sleeping, Naval and Local Police boarded, claiming to have authority to inspect the vessel and seized the Aqua Quest and arrested/imprisoned the crew. The next morning the Port Captain objected to the seizing of the vessel and the crew but was ignored by the local police.

At the arraignment hearing thirty hours later, the Port Captain continued to protest that proper procedures were not followed. He stated that any firearms on board, if not allowed onto Honduran territory, would have been kept in his offices.

At a hearing on Tuesday May 13th, 2014, the men were ordered to be further illegally detained for the false firearms charges. The boat was placed in the custody of the Honduran Navy.

The laws and procedures surrounding the case are clearly on the side of the Captain and crew. They are disputed only by the local judge and prosecutor. The ship was well within its rights to protect itself while traveling in troubled International waters. Detailed review of Honduran law and International protocol adopted and previously adhered to by Honduras, reveals that the Port Captain is to be the first to board a foreign vessel. He has the right to hold any firearms at his discretion. This did not happen. The Navy and Police intercepted the vessel, circumventing maritime protocol. The firearms officer with proper credentials on board the Aqua Quest was never called to testify during the truncated hearing.


The People

Captain Robert Mayne: Captain / Diver (blue shirt)



photo: Michael McCabe

Robert is a native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and has a life-long love of seafaring and exploration. As a 16 year old diver Bob discovered a 150 pound bronze ship's bell, cast by Henry N. Hooper of Boston; Hooper had been an apprentice of Paul Revere. Bob holds a 100 ton Masters License from the U.S. Coast Guard and has over twenty-five years experience in shipwreck salvage and archaeological exploration. Since 1977 Bob has also held a multi-engine aircraft pilot's license. From 1996 to 2009. Bob participated in joint ventures with an archaeological recovery company holding ‘research and exploration’ permits from the government of the Dominican Republic. While working in the Dominican Republic, he was instrumental in the recovery of experimental and rare nineteenth century cannon (carron guns) that were discovered near the small town of Buen Hombre on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Several of these guns, now conserved, reside in the Faro Colon Museum in Santo Domingo, RD.

Michael T. Mayne Sr.

photo: Michael McCabe

From Cape Cod, Ma. Former firefighter/ EMT with the Cotuit Fire Department. Michael has been a member of the Aqua Quest crew, working on special projects over the past 25 years. Michael is a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother and friend to many. Mike has a great heart, a generous spirit and is always willing to offer a helping hand. Mike by trade, is a home improvement specialist. Mike loves being on the water, shell fishing and family.




photo: Michael McCabe

James Kelly "Boo Boo" Garrett: Skipper / Diver (white shirt)


First Mate and back up Captain, Boo Boo has worked for Captain Bob Mayne, off and on for 24 years. He is a jack of all trades, expert diver, welder, boat captain, and one of the funniest characters you will ever meet. Boo Boo keeps the crew and guests entertained with his sharp wit and talented guitar playing and singing. Truly one in a million!


Devon Butler: Lead Diver / Deck hand (red shirt)

After growing up in Pennsylvania, Devon moved down to Tarpon Springs, FL. He developed a love of the ocean and diving and put his passion to work on the deck of the Aqua Quest International. When docked, Devon enjoys informing his family about his adventures and spending time with Gypsy, his dog.

Nick Cook: Diver / Deck hand (blue shirt)

Nick was born in Thomaston,Ga. Later in 1989 he relocated to the Americus/Cordele area. While detained, Nick is away from his loving family including his five-year-old son. He has worked with Aqua Quest two different times and started back with them at the end of last summer. Nick has a strong love for working outside and helping people.


Steve Matanich: Diver / Deck hand

photo: Michael McCabe

Steven was born and raised in Illinois. In 2006 he moved to Tarpon Springs, Florida because his heart drove him to be closer to the open ocean. When he discovered the opportunity to work on the Aqua Quest he knew he found his calling. He felt at home with the captain and crew. He received training and certification to scuba dive, since then it has been his life work. He once told me that nothing compares to the peacefulness of being underwater, taking in natures beauty in the purest form. When the humanitarian trip to go to Honduras was presented to the crew. He knew he had to be part of it. For him to be able to share his passion with those who need his help was an opportunity he could not pass up. Steven is the type of person who would do anything for anyone. He gives and expects nothing in return. His laughter is contagious and those who even meet him once never forget who he is.

Please help to secure these boys safety and return. Every donation helps. The money raised will go towards ensuring the safety and well being of Robert Mayne Jr, Michael Mayne Sr, Nick Cook, Devon Butler, Kelly "Boo Boo" Garrett, and Steve Matanich while in prison, and help secure their timely release. This money can provide healthy meals, improved living conditions, and help with mounting legal fees.

All surplus money will be used to directly aid the Miskito Indians and the people of Ahaus through local projects and charities.

Thank you!
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Organizer

Mike Mayne Jr 
Organizer
Tarpon Springs, FL
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