A pretty good first day I’d say. I must admit it got underway a little later than planned but the bed just felt way too good this morning and the drapes don’t let in any light. So I didn’t actually get to the floor until noon. Here's me checking in and although I can’t remember this ladies name she had her picture taken because she didn’t know where Saipan is. Oh well I look like I'm still asleep!DEMA is a pretty big show. More than 11,000 dive and travel industry professionals from around the world including more than 700 exhibitors on a show floor that spans 185,000+ square feet. I walked and stood and talked and listened for six straight hours. As I sit on my comfy bed writing this I can feel my chest is sore but then again so are my feet!
It didn’t take long before I started meeting up with a few familiar faces. First was Annie Crawley. I completely forgot to get a picture with Annie but I’ll be back to talk to her a little more. She’s added a number of DVD’s to her collection of productions and I would like to take a closer look at them and get the scoop on how she’s managed to do so much in such a short period.
Just after entering the Micronesia section I ran into Navot Bornovski the owner of Fish N Fins in Palau. In the time I’ve known Navot he and his wife Tova have added two live aboard dive boats to their fleet making a total of three. In fact his newest vessel almost made a run up to our northern Islands this past summer! They have a great program at Fish N Fins so if you’re thinking about Palau you won’t go wrong there.
Of course the New World Publications booth is always a good place to find some pretty famous diving folks. I had the pleasure of meeting Ned and Anna DeLoach for the first time. Ned and I talked about the amazing number of new species being discovered in Indonesia and the coral triangle. I asked if it ever gets old stumping the scientists by taking pictures of creatures that until that moment were not known to exist. Judging by our discussion I’d say the answer is no!I also got to speak with the great Stan Waterman for about an hour. I’d met Stan a few years ago and he recognized me (and the DVD) right away. We again talked about the CNMI and how it’s not well known among the dive world. We talked about ways that could change. We talked about his book, open-heart surgery and how often life’s material collections are really only worth the relationships and circumstances from which they are acquired. I know, a little deep but you’ll just have to read his book Sea Salt.Next up, recent Women Divers Hall of Fame inductee Nancy McGee. Nancy has been a scuba diver and underwater photographer for thirty years and is an extremely active in promoting diving and new destinations at trade shows and to audiences around the world.
I think it was some time in March when Charles from Wreck Diver magazine was on Saipan. Eric at Speedy Tertle asked if I could help out and take him on a couple of dives and talk to him about Saipan Diving. It was shortly following the underwater survey of the lagoon and we discussed all the possibilities including development of an underwater historical trail and Wreck Diving doing some coverage in their magazine.
With an ever-growing list of locations I couldn’t help but think about how one of this guys creations could help the CNMI. When I stopped by his booth and discussed the potential Frank certainly didn’t rule it out and pointed to the success Guam and its Visitors Bureau has had with his unique work. In this case something Guam has might be worth making ours too.
Come to think of it I didn't see the Guam booth. They are usually here. I must have missed them but I didn't miss this Saipan Spotted Eagle Ray. This photo belongs to photographer Dough Perrine and it is on a wall of fame here. Doug was on Saipan a year and a half ago taking shots of the rays at Ice Cream and Eagle Ray City. He had two articles published from that trip including one in a National Geographic publication. And yes to anyone from MVA who recognizes the photo, it is the one I've used in my presentations. As you can see it's a impressive, eye catching shot and I'm thankful to Doug for allowing me to use it.
That's enough for today It's time to get ready for tomorrow!