Highly accomplished women divers were the evening featured speakers at this year’s Baltimore-DC Dive Show held February 22-23 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.
Nancy McGee, the first woman to dive in an exosuit, talked about always finding opportunities that took her out of her comfort zone, saying:
“You have to listen to the voice in your own head.”
Shark advocates Tanya Houppermans and Cristina Zenato each spoke about how interacting with sharks — whether it be Houppermans photographing them around the world or Zenato donning a chain-mail suit to feed them in The Bahamas — didn’t jive with how the media portrayed these apex predators.
Houppermans said of her practice of photographing sharks in a disarming manner:
“My main reason for taking pictures of sharks is to get people to care about them.”
She also talked about being willing to take her autistic son diving with sharks, and the impact they had on him.
And Zenato talked about how feeding sharks off Freeport, Bahamas has resulted in her knowing her sharks on a one-on-one basis, particularly when she comes across a shark — on many an occasion — that has a hook embedded in it that she is able to remove:
“I know my sharks by name. Their features, personalities. How they suffer, fear and feel. These are my sharks, my pack, my family — part of my family.”
Underwater photographer and videographer Becky Kagan Schott spoke about her adventures in extreme environments, be they caves or the Antarctic or even deep down in the U.S. Great Lakes, adding that she is “inspired by all things diving”:
“You can never get bored with our sport of scuba diving. Just a couple of weeks ago, I learned how to dive with a side-mount rebreather. I never thought I’d become a tech diver.”
More than 60 exhibitors filled the show floor on Saturday, touting everything from dive gear to diving travel and more. During the day, attendees were treated to seminars on diving Scapa Flow to hyperbaric careers to dealing with invasive Lionfish and more. The day before featured professional seminars for local-area dive pro’s.
If you’re in the Washington, DC area next year, the DC Dive Show will take place Feb. 22, 2020.