Anna DeLoach underwaterAnna DeLoach surveys a reef for the R.E.E.F. database.
Now in its 11th year, WDHOF will honor pioneers, leaders, innovators and record holders in every field of diving at the Beneath the Sea show in New Jersey March 26, 2011.
One of those is Scuba Diving marine life editor Anna DeLoach. She shies from the limelight, so when it was announced she’d be inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame, she felt a familiar pang of anxiety. “I can talk your ear off sitting on the back of a boat, but please don’t put me out in front of a lot of people,” she says.
Talk to DeLoach -- in fact, hear the stories about any of the nine other women being inducted into the 2011 class -- and realize that there are women who have made diving and the oceans their life’s work. This year, the women’s resumes are loaded with achievements: A police diver, film producer, TV producer, historian, physician, photographer, videographer, ocean conservationist, cave explorer and magazine editor are being honored at Beneath the Sea. Even more amazing: Each of the women can put two or more of those occupations after her name.
In 1994, DeLoach quit her job in the computer industry to become a marine researcher and videographer and join her husband, Ned DeLoach, and Paul Humann in their publishing company, New World Publications. She’s never looked back. Her videos documenting marine life behavior have been used by NBC Nightly News, Fox News and National Geographic’s Wild Chronicles. She’s also a marine life editor for Sport Diver’s sister magazine, Scuba Diving, and active in the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (Humann is REEF’s acting executive director, and he and Ned have collaborated on eight marine life ID books).
“I love hunting for species that Ned and Paul don’t already have in their ID books or surveying fish for REEF, which also helps me add species to my own personal life list,” says DeLoach. “It’s all like a big Easter egg hunt for me.” Her keen eye paid off last year on a trip to Indonesia. “I discovered a species new to science, in Alor. It’s a beautiful fairy wrasse. We sent my video and Ned’s photos to scientists who specialize in wrasses and they were very excited. Dr. Gerry Allen will be trying to collect one this year, so he can officially describe it.”
A passion for underwater discovery drives DeLoach, and she has a message for the next generation of female divers: “You are so lucky to live in a time when technology allows you to explore underwater. And you don’t have to wait to do something meaningful for ocean conservation. As divers, you have seen a part of this planet that so many others have not. You can speak with firsthand knowledge about the importance of protecting the oceans. Talk to people about it -- your voices matter.”
For more information, go to wdhof.org