For My Sisters of the Sea Now and Past Linked to all the phyla, regressing back in time to the first proto air breather, lifting its nose above the waves and clawing up onto the sands. Linked to ancestors of leviathans, urged to return to the brine, remolding limbs and torsos to re-inhabit the seas that gifted life to the land. Linked to fishers, and Ama, and sailors, and submariners, who marveled at the vastness, who dared the weather, dauntless, rolled by swells of the sea, some never returning to shore.
Tears taste like the sea. But the flirtation, the obsession continues
with the shimmering tides and tempests, the watery nursery that laps at the edge of all lands. The sea is whispering desire, singing songs, demanding…
The sea is the primal, first fount of imagination and creation. The sea is a wake dream.
That is why we dive in the sea and resurface gasping and try again and again.
Yes, it is 2021 and we, the “Sea Sisters” of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, are continuing the celebration of our 20th Anniversary, which was last year!
We faced many challenges in the notorious year 2020 and the global pandemic affected all of us. But dealing with the challenge is not new for most WDHOF Members. We are a group of determined, dynamic, and indomitable women, who have overcome many challenges in our lives as women leaders in the world of diving. Together, we steered our organization’s ship through the rough waters of 2020 and buoyed each other up when our fellow Members, Associates, families, and friends needed encouragement and prayers. We continued to fulfill our mission without missing a beat. While we were not able to celebrate in person at dive shows or in our anticipated regional get-togethers in “pods” of Sea Sisters, we still managed to socialize via Zoom and, more importantly, accomplish what we set out to do: recognize outstanding women divers
and provide scholarships, grants, mentoring, and networking opportunities to a wide range of people.
Our big celebration actually kicked off in 2019 when Beneath the Sea named WDHOF as a “Legend of the Sea.” And what a legend we have been and continue to be! We are an accomplished group, but we are not merely an honor society. We share a passion to “pay it forward.” More than anything else, we are proud of the success of our Scholarships and Grants program, which has provided training, education, and research funding to many young (and some not so young) people, for almost two decades now, and continues to grow.
COVID did not slow WDHOF down in 2020. We decided that the best way to celebrate our 20th year would be to make it possible for 20 people to learn to scuba dive. Thanks to the generosity of our Members, sponsors, and friends, we exceeded our dreams and provided 22 training grants at $1000 each to girls and women around the world. These special grants were on top of the $59,000 we had already given through our vigorous Scholarships and Training Grants program. THAT is how Sea Sisters like to celebrate!
Now, in 2021 we are offering even more scholarships and grants, thanks to many new donors who have chosen to support WDHOF because of the integrity of our program. Going forward, we hope to expand awareness of our program by seeking other corporate sponsors and increasing
international outreach. As we continue to look to the future, we reflect on our past, and gratefully acknowledge all the generous support, advice, and encouragement we have received from so many.
We are grateful for the Founders, a group of individuals without whose vision we would not be here today. We thank all Board members, past and present, who have helped navigate our course and our Members and friends who have donated their time and resources toward fulfilling our mission.
We invite you to join us as we continue to celebrate our 21 years of honoring accomplished women divers and creating pathways for the next generation of women who will make waves in our underwater world.
Susan Bangasser, Ph.D. WDHOF Chair and
Robin MacFadden, WDHOF President