Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chicago ~ Our Kind Of Town!

Our World Underwater – 39th Show!

My wife, Kathryn, and I had a blast in what the locals call, Chicagoland. We were there to participate in Our World Underwater (OWU), a three-day Chicago based consumer scuba diving show that is open to the general public.
As a guest speaker, I presented two seminars on sport diving in British Columbia entitled Tropical Splendor in A Cold Sea – British Columbia’s Emerald Realm and Jewel of British Columbia- Diving Browning Passage. I was also an Emcee for the Sunday morning Underwater Photography Program. It was my distinct pleasure to formally meet and introduce diving luminaries Jack & Sue Drafahl, ( Larry Tackett (, Jason Heller and Kathy Johnson & Greg Lashbrook ( Our World Underwater attracts participants from most Midwest states and also from Canada. As one of the longest running scuba shows in America it has become a legend among presenters as well as exhibitors.

Our sincere thanks to OWU organizers Dennis Gagnon & Eileen Skiba, along with all the other OWU volunteers for all courtesies extended and making us feel so welcome. We would also be remiss if we did not also extend heartfelt thanks to fellow Canadians & DIVER Magazine underwater photography columnists Danielle Alary & Michel Gilbert for both their encouragement and their assistance in helping to put us in contact with the OWU show organizers.

A huge "Thank You!" to all the OWU show patrons who attended my two seminars…

Some personal show highlights…

At the OWU pre-show Speakers Meeting I suddenly found myself engaged in an enjoyable conversation with scuba diving legend, Stan Waterman, after he had plopped himself down into the chair next to me. A pioneer underwater film producer and photographer, Mr. Waterman has won five Emmy awards and received numerous other honors and awards in a career which spans nearly fifty years in the scuba diving industry. He has also produced documentaries, television series and films for Nat
ional Geographic, ABC, and ESPN, but is best known for his work in commercial film. He collaborated with Peter Gimbel on the classic shark film, Blue Water, White Death, and with his close friend Peter Benchley on The Deep, where Mr. Waterman was co-director of underwater photography and second unit. Despite his noteworthy accomplishments, Stan is entirely unpretentious in his demeanor and a mastered raconteur. We had a good chat and I felt humbled to be in his presence.

John deBoeck, owner of Browning Pass Hideaway Lodge attended both my presentations. If you ever yearn to experience the best cold water diving in the universe… he’s the man

After one of my presentations I met longtime DIVER Magazine (Canada) contributor and freelance diving photojournalist, Dan Holden Bailey. I was delighted to learn that we share a mutual admiration for each others work and we look forward to an opportunity to go diving together sometime in the future.

At the D.I.A.B.C (Dive Industry Association of British Columbia)
booth, we ha
ppened to meet another longtime DIVER Magazine
columnist, and fellow Canadian, Jeffery G
allant. Jeff is also the author of the internationally acclaimed Diving Almanac and Book of Records. Anyway, our chance encounter led to an invitation for me to go diving with Jeff to photograph Greenland Sharks in the St. Lawrence River this summer. How cool is that?

Danielle Alary & Michel Gilbert ‘s slide presentation, ‘We’ll Be One”, at the Saturday evening film festival was a pictorially stunning and emotionally inspiring. They are dive show presenters extraordinaire!
Check out their work at

Rick Stratton, publisher of Northwest, Northeast and Midwest Dive News magazines., assigned me an entire years worth of magazine editorial space to fill. Rick is a great supporter and has stated time and again that he will publish anything that I want to write. The adventure continues…

After several years of corresponding by email, we were finally able to meet face to face with Henrik Rosen, VP Sales & Marketing, Wakatobi Dive Resort. My now, seemingly famous, "Wakatobi Bungalows" image was prominently displayed at the Wakatobi booth.

Also, the show provided an opportunity to meet Jason Heller of His multimedia work is exceptional and after attending one of Jason's dive show seminars in Boston last year, I was inspired to create this blog.

And last, but certainly never least, my lovely wife Kathryn is hands down one of the most amazing traveling companions I have ever had to clear International Customs with. She is the light in my life and her loving support is about as deep as deep can go... fathomless!