Community ready to help an old friend

Posted Jan. 07, 2009, at 7:46 p.m.

BAR HARBOR — A tour boat operator who is known for his entertaining professional persona is getting a little help in replacing his boat.

Ed Monat, also known as Diver Ed, lost his boat Seal when it blew off its mooring in a fierce storm the day before Thanksgiving and washed up on the rocks on Bar Island. Monat ended up cutting the battered boat into pieces and carting it off to be burned.

In order to help Monat and his wife, Edna Martin, get a new tour vessel, a fundraiser has been scheduled from 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Masonic Lodge on High Street in downtown Bar Harbor.

Mike Staggs, organizer of the event, said that Monat has done much for the community, donating his time and boat to entertain donors and employees of nonprofit organizations such as Friends of Acadia, where Staggs works.

During the summer tourist season, Monat takes tours out into Frenchman Bay, dons a dive suit that he often temporarily overinflates to visually amuse his guests, and hops overboard with a live video camera to show them what lives beneath the waves. He often has with him a small toy figurine he calls “Mini Ed” that he plays around with as he interacts with creatures he finds.

Monat then takes many of the creatures back to the boat, where passengers can see and touch them before he releases them back in the water. There are several photos on his Web site, www.divered.com, that show grinning children with starfish on their heads.

In 2007, the College of the Atlantic graduate was picked by students at Mount Desert Island High School to be their graduation speaker.

Staggs said Monat frequently takes out school groups for little or no charge.

“That’s what he really lives for is to take the kids out,” Staggs said. “The guy’s heart is limitless.”

Staggs said that Monat was insured and normally would be able to go to a bank for a loan, but that the current economic situation is preventing that possibility.

“The banks aren’t giving out loans for stuff like that,” Staggs said.

The fundraiser will feature food, live music, a dance and an auction hosted by state Sen. Dennis Damon. The cost is $10 per person or $15 per couple. Direct donations also may be made at any branch office of Union Trust Bank, according to Staggs.

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