Alessandra Figari

Owner/ Instructor at Cave Training Mexico and Enjoy Diving, PADI Course Director and Trainer

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.

Brady Hale

Founder, Texas Lionfish Control Unit

Brady Hale founded Texas Lionfish Control Unit in 2014 after traveling to Pensacola, Florida and seeing the lionfish problem for the first time. Brady has been a certified diver since 1989, and has worked in the dive industry in various capacities including General Manager in a dive shop environment and working the boats as divemaster.  He has been leading Eco-tourism trips to Pensacola, Florida to hunt lionfish since 2015, and enjoys teaching people how they can help solve the lionfish invasion.

Brady also runs Beyond 130 Marketing, a full service digital marketing firm that specializes in small to medium sized business. When not in the water, he lives out his dreams of becoming Mark Grace on the softball fields.

Cathy Church

Pioneering Underwater Photographer

Cathy Church has been photographing underwater since 1967. She has a Masters degree in Marine Biology and is recognized as one of the world’s pioneers of underwater photography. She has presented her workshops throughout the United States since 1973 (and one in the UK.) She has written several hundreds of underwater photography how-to articles, one video, five books and one coffee table book. She and her staff teach underwater photography regularly at her busy Cathy Church’s Photo Centre in Grand Cayman. This gives her the opportunity to stay in touch with most of the camera equipment on the market today.

Wait, there is more, she is also fun, clear, inspirational and well organized and just a very popular teacher. If her humor is not enough for you, her passion will be, along with her desire to make sure that YOU have the opportunity to learn how to make YOUR photos better and better. In recognition of her work, she has received the coveted NOGI award for the Arts in 1987 and the DEMA Reaching Out award in 2000 when she was also inducted into the Woman Divers Hall of Fame and admitted as a member of the Explorers’ Club. She was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame in 2008, is a Beneath the Sea Diver of the Year, and more.

Charles George

Founder of George Law Firm LLC – Maritime Law Group-

Charles George is the founder of the George Law Firm LLC – Maritime Law Group – concentrating in Maritime, Corporate, and Criminal Law and specializing in civil litigation regarding maritime and diving accidents and criminal defense. Charles is the Chief Corporate Counsel for Wreck Diving Magazine, The Shipwreck Exploration Society and the TransGlobal Logistics Group of Companies and is a U.S Merchant Marine Officer and a Technical Diving Instructor.

Christopher Weaver

Underwater Photographer

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 ll, Immersed and Lighthouse Digest.

Dr. Jennifer Schmidt

Director of Science & Research for the Shark Research Institute, Geneticist, Molecular Biologist

Dr. Jennifer Schmidt is currently the Director of Science & Research for the Shark Research Institute. She is a geneticist and molecular biologist by training, and spent 15 years on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on the use of genetic tools to characterize wild shark populations, and she studies whale sharks at field sites around the world.

Harry Gust

Full Time Cave Instructor and Explorer

Harry Gust started scuba diving at an early age and has been diving for 38 years, open-water instructor for 28 years, cave diving for 18 years, cave diving instructor for 16 years. He has taught technical / cave diving through the following agency’s NSS/CDS, NACD,TDI and IANTD. Harry is a full time cave instructor and explorer. He is currently based in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico. A place which is considered to be a caving diving Mecca that he has called home for 18 years.

Jennifer Idol

Tech Diver and Underwater Photographer

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 underwater photographer, she has 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.

Jill Heinerth

Underwater Explorer, Filmmaker, Cave Diver

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.

Larry Mckenna

Author, Adventurer, Photographer and Filmmaker

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.leatherbackturtles.org

Jim & Pat Stayer

Underwater Explorers & Filmmakers

Jim and Pat are explorers and well-known underwater filmmakers. They co-authored 3 books and produced 30 DVDs. The couple has been referred to as the one of the best animal behavior videographers, according to Ernie Brooks. Jim & Pat served as President and Secretary of the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council and were founders of the Sanilac Shores Preserve. Together they ran a dive charter boat in the Great Lakes and discovered 8 shipwrecks. The Stayers were underwater cameramen for History Channel. Pat is a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame and Jim is a Licensed Captain.

Michael Salvarezza

Underwater Photographer & Public Speaker

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 Labrecque & Julie Ouimet

Founders of the Turquoise Bay Underwater Film Festival, Photojournalists, Film Producers

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.

Nancy McGee

Expedition Leader, Hall of Fame Inductee, Expert Dive Instructor

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.

Peter Hunt

Author, Explorer

Peter Hunt, a diver since 1978, participated in four Andrea Doria expeditions before leaving New York to fly for the Navy in 1985. During 10 years of active duty, Hunt accumulated 450 carrier arrested landings and made three deployments, including 45 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm. Trimix and Technical diving certified, he is the author of Angles of Attack, Setting the Hook, and most recently The Lost Intruder. Hunt still dives despite Parkinson’s disease.

Peter Venoutsous

Commercial Diver, Founder of American Scuba Adventures

Peter Venoutsos has been a certified diver since 1976 and a commercial diver since 1983. His experience includes working with private underwater engineering firms, the Federal Government and the US Navy. He is an active member of the Connecticut Underwater Archeology Committee and his interests include underwater photography, shipwrecks & cave diving. He is the founder of American Scuba Adventures a underwater video companywith the goal of promoting diving in the United States and around the world.

Richard Woulfe

World Traveler, Marketing Expert, SCUBA Instructor

Richard has over 32 years of dive travel experience. He was certified as an Open 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. He travels an average of 150 days a year. In 2012, he started full time travel around the World and has dived extensively in Maldives, Thailand, Indonesia, Oman and Cuba Rich is an avid water sports fan and fitness/wellness enthusiast. He lives on the road and spends time in Thailand, Texas, California and Chicago. Contact him at richtravelsadvice@gmail.com

Tony Gramer

PADI Divemaster, Photographer

Tony Gramer has been diving since 1977 and is a certified PADI Divemaster. He is the president of Silent World Information Masters, Inc. (SWIM). He is presently of the board and Divemaster of Dossins Museum in Detroit, Michigan. His images have taken best in show and first place in photo contests throughout the United States, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Mexico. His images have been included in Skin Diver magazine, Dive Boat Calendar & Travel magazine, Michigan Living magazine, Great Lakes Diving magazine, Michigan Underwater Preserve pamphlets, advertising catalogs, Nikon Calendar and CD covers.

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