Just stopping by? Check out Beneath the Sea Recap Part I to get started.
Exciting as it was to walk around the exhibitor floor and daydream about my next dive trip, the real value came from the seminars going on all weekend. The best part? They were all included free in my $18 per day day-pass. The worst part? Figuring out which of the four simultaneous lectures to attend at any given time! The offerings were split somewhat evenly between destinations, photography/videography, conservation, and tech diving. I spent most of my time at the photography lectures, though one was a last-minute swap out after the much-anticipated Lionfish lecture was rescheduled. You already know how worked up I am about that, so maybe it’s for the best that I missed it.
I was a bit early for my first lecture so I snuck in the back of the room to hear what the previous topic was. I caught the tail end of what appeared to be a dry and boring presentation- and almost made a run for it. Then I heard an enthusiastic voice cutting through the crowd as the next presenter snuck in behind me, breezing up the aisle with a rolling suitcase behind her. For the next hour I sat entranced as the most bubbly and enthusiastic person I’ve ever met told us about her amazing career in underwater video. Annie Crawley is a member of the Woman Diver’s Hall of Fame, producer of the Dive into Your Imagination children’s series and a seasoned underwater filmmaker. The seminar was Top Ten Shots you Need to Master, but I was far more interested in learning how I could replicate this woman’s life! I left the room floating on air and this isn’t the last you’ll hear about Annie….
Next I headed to Underwater IMAX Film Production, which was a fun and interesting little presentation. Having seen quite a few underwater IMAX movies at the Boston Aquarium, I was curious to lay eyes on the filmmakers. The female half of the husband and wife team was smaller than me- making it all the more amazing that she helps operate a camera weighing over 1,000lbs! I was also interested to learn that three minutes of filming costs over $9K in film and processing. That makes for a pretty pricey feature film! The husband also spoke a bit about an eye disease he has contracted from spending so much of his life underwater. I don’t think the average diver has to worry- these are people that stay down as long as 6 hours on rebreathers to get a shot.
My last stop on Saturday was the standing room only State of our Oceans panel given by the first family of scuba, the Cousteaus. I can confidently say this was the most inspired I have ever felt to make a change my behaviour in order to change our environment. Jean Micheal Cousteau is an engaging, composed public speaker, but about halfway through his speech he stopped, pointed out an infant in the audience, and stated simply that if we do not act now, if we don’t each make a change in our lives, the oceans will be irreversibly damaged, within that child’s lifetime.
The entire family took turns speaking, and the mood shifted from sadness over the deterioration of the ocean (especially visible to long time divers!) to hope over how we can help. They encouraged the audience to stop blaming corporations, stop blaming governments, and stop blaming other countries and simply take responsibility for yourself and live as an example. The warned us not to be overwhelmed, that if we can change our habits we can help others do so next.
I have a big post planned about how I plan to change my actions, and what I’m hoping to do to help with cleaning up the oceans. But if you’re eager to be informed today, visit the Cousteau’s Ocean Future’s Society for more info.
Sunday I attended three photography seminars of varying interest, but before heading home I saw one more seminar on the list by Annie Crawley. I had been thinking about her story since the day before and I decided to go to her second presentation as well, as the last one put me in such a good mood. The effect was the same. At one point during the hour Annie pointed right at me and said “and you young people, you need to do this all while you can! Sell your car, buy a plane ticket and go chase the dream!” Being at the show on my own, I had been battling shyness all weekend but at the end of the hour I forced myself to go up and introduce myself and tell her I was in fact planning to do just that. We had a great conversation in which Annie told me to please keep in contact with her and update her on my career. She ended by pulling me aside and telling me she wanted to support me in a career in underwater video and giving me a free copy of her Camera Coach DVD, something I had considered but shied away from due to the $30 price tag. It was such a touching gesture and combined with such warm words of support, I walked away from the weekend feeling hopeful and excited for the future.
To divers at any level, I encourage you to go to a show like this in your area! You’ll meet like minded people, get ideas for new trips, and if you’re lucky, you might walk away ready to become an oscar winning filmmaker and singlehandedly save the ocean.