Select a presenter to see their bio below:
Alessandra Figari is one of the owners of Cave Training Mexico. Born in Milan, Italy in 1960. She moved to Mexico in 1999 when she decided to dedicate her life and experience to teaching diving, leaving behind my manager position in a non profit organization. Ale can speak and teach in fours languages: Italian, English, French and Spanish and is an IANTD Tec Instructor and Tec Full Cave Instructor, TDI Tec and Cave Instructor, NASE Worldwide Cave Instructor and Trainer, PADI and RAID MK6 CCR instructor, APSA Certified Cavern and Cave Guide. A PADI Course Director, PADI/DSAT Technical and Trimix Trainer and EFR Trainer, MKVI Poseidon Instructor.
Alex Rose holds a B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Aquatic Biology, and has a wide variety of experience in the biological sciences including but not limited to bioacoustics research, science writing, teaching, public presentation, and aquatic animal husbandry and breeding. Alex is also a professional violinist, photographer, PADI Divemaster, and lover of all things aquatic. Her driving goal is to find ways to protect our world’s precious marine habits through diving, writing, education, and research.
Amy Houghton Warren
PADI Divemaster, Amy Houghton Warren is the published author of the most comprehensive guide book The Diving Guide: Cuba Scuba. Together with her father, Bill Houghton (published photographer), she’s made dozens of trips to Cuba under various US treasury licenses since 1998 and dived every region in Cuba. She’s offended by the exorbitant price gauging Americans currently face to legitimately travel to Cuba. That’s why she is showing fellow divers a better, more affordable way to scuba dive in Cuba that fully conforms to President Obama’s easing of travel restrictions announced on Dec 14, 2014. For more information, visit: www.cubascuba.tours
While creating a successful business, Dive Into Your Imagination, Annie Crawley, aka Ocean Annie, continues to travel and document the world focusing on life in our Ocean. She is uniquely qualified to speak about obtaining success by taking risks, living your dreams and creating your greatest life. Originally from Chicago and trained as a photo and broadcast journalist, Annie Crawley spent the past two decades living and working around the world. After learning to scuba dive and sail, she became a PADI Master Scuba Diving Instructor and a 100 ton US Coast Guard Boat Captain. She was named an SSI 5000 Platinum Pro Diver and inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Annie Crawley specializes in the Underwater Realm as an underwater photographer, filmmaker, and has created an award winning series of products for the next generation. Dive Into Your Imagination under Annie’s leadership will be releasing another series of programs at Our World Underwater on ocean education and leadership including books, educator/parent lesson plans and DVDS to change the way a new generation views the ocean, themselves and our environment. Annie relates the lessons learned growing up and traveling in a way that will empower, inspire and motivate you to go beyond what they believe they are capable. Annie Crawley believes in the principals of Conscious Leadership, you want to make sure you meet this dynamic woman
Responsibility, hard work and passion are words that clearly describe Antonio. Born to work and excel in the hotel business, he is one of the most well known, proactive and influential hoteliers in Honduras. As the general director of the Mayan Princess Beach & Dive Resort in West Bay, Roatan, located on one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, Antonio has overseen it rise from under construction to being a PADI 5 Start Dive Resort.
Barbara Buchanan is a photographer and videographer who travels the globe. She has worked on expeditions and archeologist on Blackbeard’s shipwreck Queen Anne’s Revenge documenting the excavation for the Dive Down Project. Her most recent project is filming the wrecks of Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. She is owner of Scuba Planners Dive Travel and has arranged many expeditions including the Japan trip with Wreck Diving Magazine where she filmed the expedition.
Chet has been diving for some 38 years, eschewing his home waters of Monterey Bay, CA, for the little latitudes where the water is warm and the visibility unlimited. Chet and his wife have been diving Papua New Guinea since 1993 and now represent Loloata Island Resort, Walindi Plantation Resort, Tufi Adventure, M.V. FeBrina and Trans Niuguini Tours at consumer and trade shows, The presentation is colorful, fast moving and informative including the ins and outs of getting in and out of PNG.
Christopher Chin is a multi-agency scuba instructor and technical diver whose passion for the ocean stems back to childhood. He first became certified in 1996, and has been teaching actively since 1999. He is an accomplished underwater cinematographer and writer who has traveled extensively and speaks several languages. In early 2006, Christopher founded The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education, and currently serves as its Executive Director. Christopher served as a Regional Stakeholder for the implementation of California's Marine Life Protection Act, and was heavily involved in the design of and support for the network of Marine Protected Areas adopted for California's North Central Coast. Christopher has presented at numerous conferences and forums, and has provided valuable testimony for the consideration of ocean policy issues to various municipalities, cities, and counties, as well as to standing committees of the California State Assembly and State Senate.
Christopher Weaver has been diving the waters of Long Island and the world since 1978 and has spent hundreds of hours underwater accumulating a large and varied library of photographic images. With Michael Salvarezza, he has presented his work in hundreds of multi-media slide presentations and have appeared at Beneath the Sea and the Boston Sea Rovers Underwater Clinic. Their work has been published in various magazines such as: Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Asian Diver, Diver, Advanced Diver Magazine, Sport Diving Magazine, Dive Journal, World War II, Immersed and Lighthouse Digest.
Dave Dillehay of Aldora Divers Cozumel Many years ago, a famous Mexican Olympian and Diver named Ramon Bravo found and explored an underwater cave in which were found large Gray Caribbean Reef Sharks, seeming to sleep on the floor in a somewhat catatonic state. However, those sharks disappeared under much pressure of divers. Thus the Sleeping Sharks of Isla Mujeres devolved into little more than a myth. In February 2014 Aldora Divers, as part of our innovation and exploration program near Cozumel, discovered where those sharks went and hid.
David Trotter has been discovering and exploring Great Lakes Shipwrecks since the late 70's. In 25 years of exploration, he has discovered 75 shipwrecks. His discoveries and programs have been featured on the Discovery Channel, ABC News, CBS News, Great Lakes in Depth and in leading newspapers, including the New York Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, and in leading dive publications including Immersed, Wreckdiver and Advanced Diver. In a continuing odyssey, he has surveyed more than 2000 square miles of Lake Huron in what has become a remarkable one of a kind adventure. David now produces programs on his shipwreck discoveries and shares his adventures on DVD, taking divers and non-divers alike on true Great Lakes adventures. When not shipwreck hunting and diving off the survey boat Obsession Too, he and Mickey (wife) enjoy the Great Lakes on their 40’ trawler, Sojourner.
Deb Karlson has been diving for 20+ years. She and her husband Mitch had been vacationing at CoCo View since 1992 and they have managed the resort since January, 2010. Deb has many years of hotel management experience and is an avid diver, making CoCo View the perfect place to call home. Commitment to her guests and to the resorts continued success makes CoCo View one of the most recognized dive resorts in the world.
Faith has spent her life educating people about diving through her love and enthusiasm for the ocean. Whether as a biology teacher, Dive Master, dive store retailer, charter operator, equipment manufacturer and distributor, she inspires people and instills in them a passion for local diving. Twenty years ago she worked with DUI to develop the first women’s drysuits and now leads DUI’s Sales Team worldwide. She created the DUI DOG Rally and Demo Tour Program which promotes local diving facilities across the US, teaming dive retailers together while divers test dive DUI products. Certified in 1979, she has over 2500 divers including 700 technical dives. Faith was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame at the 10th Anniversary Celebration at the Beneath the Sea Show in Secaucus, NJ March 26-28, 2010.
Jack & Sue Drafahl
This husband and wife team has devoted their lives to teaching underwater photography. Jack and Sue have written over 800 articles and 7 books on photography and related subjects. They developed underwaterphototutorials.com an on-line subscription site featuring 1000 tutorials for underwater photographers. They lead photo dive expeditions to help divers hone their photographic skills, and conduct a yearly photo course in Bonaire. Their infectious enthusiasm makes for interesting workshops and seminars.
Jennifer Idol helps others understand the underwater world through her photography, design, and by sharing her exploration. She created the Love our Waters campaign to help raise awareness. A technical diver and an underwater photographer, she’s been published in Sport Diver, Texas Aquatic Science, Outdoor Oklahoma, and Underwater Speleology. Large installations of her work are at the Lake Murray Wildlife Museum and Texas Association of REALTORS. Her design firm, The Underwater Designer, services clients in the water related-industries.
A pioneering underwater explorer and filmmaker, Jill Heinerth has dived deeper into caves than any woman in history. With a collection of magnificent images, from Antarctic iceberg caves to the Floridan Aquifer and subterranean Siberia, Jill shares a glimpse of a breathtaking world few will experience. Her accolades include being inducted to the Women Diver's Hall of Fame and the Explorer’s Club as well as scores of photography and filmmaking awards. Recognized as a leading technical diver, she is one of the world’s experts on rebreather technology. An engaging speaker, Jill’s multimedia presentations stir audiences with life’s lessons learned during expeditions above, below and inside the earth. An award-winning filmmaker, Jill wrote, produced, and appeared in Water’s Journey, the PBS documentary series that takes viewers on travels through the world’s greatest water systems. Hollywood filmmakers, including Lakeshore Productions (The Cave) and James Cameron, have called on her to produce difficult underwater scenes, and international magazines and new media companies look to her to document extreme environments. Her accolades include being named a “Living Legend” by Sport Diver Magazine, induction into the exclusive New York Explorer’s Club and the inaugural class of the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame, as well as scores of photography and filmmaking awards. Dozens of stories lauding Jill’s career, have appeared in the New York Post, London Telegraph, Wired Magazine, Sport’s Illustrated Women and most recently a 21-page photo feature in Deep, China’s most prestigious outdoor adventure publication. Jill is known as an industry expert in the use of closed-circuit rebreathers. Her multi-media blog attracts a large international audience. She is also a popular presenter at international diving events from Australia to Central America, Russia, Europe and Canada. Jill’s photography and writing have been featured in prominent magazines and major newspapers around the world. She contributed to the development of training materials for international organizations and is the author of three books on cave diving and underwater photography. Born in Canada, Jill lives with her husband Robert, in North Florida, where she starts most days with a refreshing swim in the clear water of her local spring.
Jim & Pat Stayer
For 36 years Jim & Pat Stayer have been diving in the Great Lakes and around the world. Pat is a member of the Women’s Diving Hall of Fame and Jim has been a U.S.C.G Licensed Captain for 24 years. They have co-authored three books and produced 20 DVDs. The Stayers have discovered eight shipwrecks and documented numerous others. They have worked as cameramen for the History Channel and their footage has appeared several major commercial networks. Jim and Pat have been popular presenters at dive shows across the country.
Joan Forsberg is a well-known maritime historian, scuba diver, author, speaker, and underwater videographer. She has been the Chairman of the “Shipwrecks and Underwater Archaeology Room” at Chicago’s annual Our World– Underwater Show since 1996. She is the author of the scuba celebrity cook-and-tell book, “Diver’s Guide to the Kitchen,” and articles in magazines such as Immersed, Great Lakes Boating, and Wreck Diving (for which she works as Copy Editor). With her husband, Cris Kohl, she co-authored “Shipwrecks at Death’s Door,” “The Christmas Tree Ship,” and “Our World Underwater – The First 40 Years,” and co-produced more than a dozen history documentaries about Great Lakes shipwrecks. In her three terms as President of the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago (2008, 2009, 2010), she spearheaded several significant maritime history projects, particularly the sinking of the historic ship named the Buccaneer as the newest shipwreck site off Chicago. She was the recipient of the 2011 UASC Award for many years of leadership and dedication. Joan was inducted into the International Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2010, and was recently elected to the Board of Trustees of that organization.
Ken Knezick is owner and President of Island Dreams Travel in Houston, Texas. He has logged more than 3,000 scuba dives and thousands of hours underwater, quite literally around the world. From the Caribbean to the Pacific, his travels include most of the world's great diving destinations. Since 1983, Ken has served as Executive Director of Houston's SEASPACE Exposition. He is past President of Houston International Diver's Club, and is a founding member of both the Houston Underwater Photographic Society, and G.R.E.A.T., the Gulf Reef Environmental Action Team. At DEMA 2003, Ken was honored with induction into the SSI Platinum Pro 5000 Society. At SEASPACE 2005, Ken was named recipient of the PADI Project Aware / SEASPACE Environmental Awareness Award. This prestigious prize recognizes individuals and organizations that are working to enhance understanding of the marine environment, and the importance of its protection. An accomplished underwater photographer, when not actually underwater, Ken enjoys writing short stories, travelogues, and presenting seminars and workshops at dive shows around the U.S.A. A member of Mensa, Ken Knezick has made Houston, Texas his home base since 1977.
Kevin Magee was certified for scuba in 1984, moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1993, and discovered shipwreck diving in the Great Lakes shortly afterwards. He enthusiastically practices diving shipwrecks in the Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes. Kevin is the co-founder and Deputy Director of the Cleveland Underwater Explorers (CLUE), an organization that searches for shipwrecks in Lake Erie and has found more than 20 shipwrecks since its creation in 2001.
Larry McKenna: Filmmaker, photographer, author and adventurer; both under the oceans and on top of mountains in remote places (and locations in between). This is the biographical definition of Larry McKenna; doing what he does best; recording life, cultures; history and events so that others may see the World through his eyes, voice, pen and cameras.
Larry is a former United States Air Force aviator with a chest full of combat decorations. He served for 26 years in uniform while flying and designing new planes and helicopters before going onward to enter the commercial sectors of business, as an International banker and real estate developer and hotel/resorts operator, in the USA, in Central America and the Pacific region of islands. He is now a dedicated environmentalist to save the Leatherback Sea Turtle from its rapid spiral into extinction.
He founded his independent production studio in 1984 after several frustrations in hiring documentary crews to make his promotional films. Larry resolved that HE could make a better quality film than those he paid – and went on to do just that. Larry’s base of operations is Kingwood, Texas (close to Houston); but is rarely there because of travels, mainly in the Pacific/Asia regions. He is currently involved with conservation efforts to save the Pacific Leatherback turtles from a rapid extinction.
More can be learned about Larry’s activities by visiting web sites: www.happycatproductions.com and www.leathebackturtles.org
Leandro Blanco is an internationally acclaimed film maker with a background in music composition, recording and production. His passion for nature and underwater imaging combined with his film editing and compositing techniques distinguish his work. He is the only filmmaker that has won Antibes film festival during eight consecutive years in different categories. In 2004 he was named diver of the year at BTS (Beneath the sea NY) for his contribution to the art of film making. He is currently working with National Geographic on the Oceans Now project
Lynn Funkhouser was inducted into the inaugural Women Divers Hall of Fame (WDHOF). She is an internationally published photographer, author, lecturer, environmentalist, adventuress, and leader in dive travel. She specializes in underwater, nature, travel, and environmental images. In 2008, Lynn was inducted into the Society of Women Geographers. SWG members are women who love adventure and have added to the world’s knowledge. Members include Amelia Earhart, Eugenie Clark, Sylvia Earle, Jane Goodall, Margaret Mead, and Pearl Buck. As an environmentalist, Lynn is committed to making a difference on this planet through her images and lectures.
Michael Salvarezza has been diving the waters of Long Island and the world since 1978 and has spent hundreds of hours underwater accumulating a large and varied library of photographic images. With Christopher Weaver, he has presented his work in hundreds of multi-media slide presentations and have appeared at Beneath the Sea and the Boston Sea Rovers Underwater Clinic. Their work has been published in various magazines such as: Skin Diver, Sport Diver, Asian Diver, Diver, Advanced Diver Magazine, Sport Diving Magazine, Dive Journal, World War II, Immersed and Lighthouse Digest.
Michel Gilbert & Danielle Alary
Michel Gilbert & Danielle Alary. Award-winning, lecturers, photography and multimedia producers, Michel and Danielle have been “at sea” for over 35 years. Authors of more than 1000 articles related to diving, travel and sailing, they are underwater photography columnists for Diver and En Profondeur (Into the Depths) magazines. Their work is sold worldwide.
Recipients of the Canadian Diving Achievement Award in 1991 and the Diver of the Year Award for the Arts at Beneath the Sea in New-York, in 1995, in 1997, they won the coveted Silver Diver Award at the Antibes World Festival of Underwater Images. Their multimedia production about the seals of the Gulf of St-Lawrence won a Grand Prize from the Ministry of Tourism of Québec. Danielle and Michel were honoured during the 37th edition of Our World Underwater in Chicago in 2007.
Danielle is a member of the Women Divers Hall Of Fame.
They have produced over 100 multimedia presentations featured at various events and venues, including museums and aquariums.
They are working on two books.
Michel Labrecque & Julie Ouimet
Canadians Michel Labrecque and Julie Ouimet are co-owners of N2Pix. Julie and Michel decided to go off the beaten path in 2007, leaving the corporate world behind and choosing the ocean. They are the previous owners of an award-winning PADI 5-Star IDC. Their intense passion for scuba diving and the underwater world has led them to the four corners of the world and into underwater photography and filmmaking. N2Pix specializes in underwater imagery and scuba expeditions. They are the Founders of the Turquoise Bay Underwater Film Festival, published photojournalists, guest speakers at major dive conferences and short film producers.
Explorer and filmmaker Nancy McGee has lived a life of adventure and diversity. Known as Ms. Exosuit, AKA the Pachyderm Princess, she is the first female Exosuit pilot as well as a magazine centerfold (next to a 3000 lb. swimming elephant). The Explorers Club recognized her with a Fellowship for contributions to scientific knowledge in the field of geographical exploration, which include filming in locations so remote that local natives have never before seen Western people. Nancy produces, edits and films her own documentaries with a unique historical spin on culture and the marine ecosystem. Her credits include NBC, Universal Studios and Discovery. She also preserved several of Stan Waterman's vintage films documenting the early days of scuba diving. She is a frequent contributor to dive journals and is a featured speaker and emcee for national and international shows and film festivals. Nancy is a member of the Ocean Artists Society, Platinum Pro 5000, and the Women Divers Hall of Fame. Nancy has achieved these many goals while at the same time working full time in public education, personally touching the lives of thousands of children.
Underwater Recovery Team supervisor, Patrick "Pat" Madden, worked in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police force for twenty-six years. His postings ranged from small northern communities to major crimes to intelligence and national security. Through it all Pat has been an active diver, scuba instructor and recovery specialist. An avid underwater archaeologist, he is a frequent presenter to clubs, film festivals and civic groups.
Paul Cater Deaton
Shooting on six continents over three decades, Paul Cater Deaton has become an award-winning Writer, Producer, Director and Cinematographer. His work has reached audiences all over the world via MTV, HBO, VH1, Showtime, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Tri-Star, the Travel Channel, E! Entertainment TV, Bravo, the United Nations and others. He was one of the first filmmakers approached to produce educational pieces for Ocean in Google Earth, and he continues to provide them with content from all over the globe.
Richard has over 30 years of dive travel experience. He was certified as anOpen Water Scuba Instructor when he was 20 and has logged more than 5000 dives in over 50 destinations around the world. These destinations include the Maldives, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, Cocos Island, Galapagos, Indonesia, Philippines, Sipadan/Mabul, Palau, Japan, Colombia, Cozumel, Bonaire, and Belize.Richard is an expert on marketing and selling adventure trips to remote dive and snorkel locations.
Rudy Whitworth has been an active scuba diver since 1978 and has been an avid UW photographer since 1983. He has been a winner in many world wide UW photo contests. As President of Seahorse Productions, LLC, Rudy has been an entertaining speaker at Our World Underwater, Beneath The Sea, SCUBAFEST and at the Great Lakes Shipwreck festival as well as many presentations to scuba clubs, marine organizations and schools. He has taught UW photography classes and his images have been printed in SKIN DIVER, Dive Travel and Dive Chronicles magazines as well as being showcased in 4 of Coral Reef Alliance calendars. He has done extensive Great Lakes diving and has honed his photographic skills in many exotic locations. His images are included in “Fishes of the Caribbean” fish ID CD/DVD marketed by ReefNet. Recently, his image was showcased in a scientific paper on Toadfish and also in Dec/09, a coral reef restoration slide show created by Rudy was shown at the Conference for Global Warming in Denmark.
Stephen Frink is among the world's most frequently published UW photographers, and is a Canon EXPLORER OF LIGHT, the only marine specialist within this very elite group of photographers. He is the publisher of a beautiful new quarterly magazine for the Divers Alert Network, ALERT DIVER. Previously, his editorial work appeared in SCUBA DIVING as Director of Photography. Frink has authored a coffee table book entitled WONDERS OF THE REEF, and teaches the Stephen Frink School of Underwater Digital Imaging in his home waters of Key Largo, Florida. Clients for assignment photography over the past 3 decades have included Canon, Nikon, Victoria's Secret, Aqua Lung, Oceanic, Scubapro, Mercury Marine, Jantzen, Alcan Aluminum, R.J. Reynolds, Seaquest, Henderson Aquatics, Club Med, major ad agencies, and scores of resorts and live-aboard dive boats throughout the world. Rolex Watch Company has also engaged Frink for product endorsement. Other Frink enterprises include a dive travel company, WaterHouse Tours and Reservations and a stock photo agency, Stephen Frink Collection. Stephen Frink Photographic is the North and South American distributor for the Austrian camera housing manufacturer SEACAM. Links: Explorers of Light - http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=ArtistsListAct Portfolio – http://www.stephenfrinkphoto.com SEACAM – http://www.seacamusa.com Travel – http://www.waterhousetours.com
Steve has been an Ikelite Sales Rep since 2007 with an emphasis on underwater photography. His underwater photography experience dates back to 1976, and in 1980 he began teaching underwater photography in an effort "to help the world become a better place through underwater photography". Steve's main goal is to help others learn how to enjoy their passion for diving through the use of underwater photography. Students will not only develop their skills with digital SLRs , they learn the art of creating unique and entertaining presentations as well.
Tara Short is the Founder and Director of GreenEdventures, a sustainable eco-adventure company with trips in Alaska, Baja, Costa Rica, and Trinidad & Tobago. Tara is an engaging and funny presenter whose passion is ocean conservation, education, and adventure travel. Tara has over 15 years in the eco-tourism industry, with SCUBA Certifications as: PADI Open Water, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver and specialty certifications as Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver, Multi-Level Diver and Night Diver.