aliciaunderwater aliciaunderwater

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Alicia Ward  Hawai'i based creative & environmentalist Dedicated to ocean education & preservation 🐟 Owner of @SeeThroughSea w/ hubsman: @_jimward_

There’s a wave of support for the ocean building across the planet and, to me, this photo represents our collective endeavors to improve the status quo. Every day people are becoming more aware that their choices can positively impact our oceans, we are making small steps in the right direction. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
@_jimward_ took this image of me in the Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area in Grenada. This particular installation is dubbed “Vicissitudes” which means a change of circumstances or fortune. British sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor cast the figures from local children in Grenada, creating inspiring art and an artificial reef at the same time. #bethechange @seethroughsea #seethroughsea

This Manta alfredi is named “Alexia”, I know that because she gave me the opportunity to photograph the markings on her belly, which are unique to every ray and the Kona community keeps an online database of our resident/transient mobulas. It’s a pretty wonderful resource. If you photograph a manta that has yet to be identified, you get to name it yourself. There’s been some pretty clever names contributed like Valla-ray, Ray Charles, even Darth Ray-der, along with some meaningful Hawaiian names and a few that pay homage to people or places in the world. I’m curious, if you could name a manta, what name would you choose? @seethroughsea #seethroughsea #mantaalfredi

When I started traveling, I believed that it would be as easy as: 1.) Visit location 2.) Enjoy location 3.) Check location off bucket-list. That’s not exactly been my experience though. Instead of far away places being boldly checked off my “To-Go” list, that piece of paper is now covered in asterisks and notes citing “must revisit to check out that cave”, “have to return for the annual coral spawning” or “need to hang-out with (insert new friends) again”. Instead of crossing these locales off, my endeavors to travel have only lead me to want to return to every place I’ve been thus far. I want to delve even further into the cultures, sights and secrets of these new locations and I lightheartedly fear that feeling won’t ever really fade. Today, I doubt I’ll actually check a place off my list because I’m convinced that I’ll never know all the wonders these spaces hold. Even with places I’ve visited numerous times, no two experiences are ever identical and I like that; you never know what sort of adventure will unfold before you. So, my list continues to grow like the big beautiful kelp @_jimward_ and I got to experience for the very first time in California with @anderson_laurie @zmontgomery 💚 @seethroughsea #seethroughsea #travelbug #tunacrabinvasion #findthefoxes #whoturnedontheanchorlight

Prior to this trip, I can’t honestly say I’d given all-inclusive resorts much thought. The term prompted ideas of lounging at a pool, fancy drink in hand, and sun-tanning lotion slathered on. While I don’t knock that type of vacation, it’s simply not for me. If I’m somewhere new, I want to be exploring. I want to be on the ocean, reusable water jug in hand, suited up (thanks @aqualungdivers), and ready for a full day at sea. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When we arrived at @sandalsresorts #sandalsgrenada, I had an idea of how our stay would go and thought I’d have to make an effort to be active during our trip. Much to my pleasant surprise, I actually had to make an effort to sit still and just chill (which I sort of failed at but, you only live once🤷🏽‍♀️). Having a @paditv dive center on site turned out to be a huge resource in facilitating the kind of adventure that @_jimward_ and I seek. It gave us the opportunity to do what we love most every day and we took full advantage of it, diving as much as our hearts desired. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Tropical location, swanky resort, delightful dessert bars and endless dive opportunities aside, I thought it was really amazing that both PADI and Sandals are working to have a positive impact on the local environment. It made me feel like our trip wasn’t just enjoyable but also meaningful. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Sandals is making a huge effort to help the Grenadian community both on land and at sea and is certainly setting a precedence for how resorts can shift to more eco-friendly operations. PADI now offers dive certification courses at Sandals resorts which opens up a whole new inspiring world for previously uncertified customers. Coupled with the fact that there are multiple dive sites for the range of divers, I really enjoyed the sense of “everyone is included” that seemed to permeate throughout our entire stay. The staff was the kindest I’ve ever encountered (honestly) and the location truly spoke for itself. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I know we only saw the tip of the iceberg that is the rich culture and spectacular sights in Grenada, but I’m super grateful for the opportunity to experience all we did!

Rapture of the Deep. While diving this wreck with @paditv and @sandalsresorts I found myself 100ft below the surface, looking up at my peers, marveling at what fascinating and strange creatures we humans are. There we were, 11 little figures, exploring an alien seascape, observing intricate corals entwined with delicate sea fans and engulfed in a myriad of electric hued fish. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I think what I like most about my dives in Grenada (so far) is the way the human world and ocean appear almost seamlessly incorporated into one another. The ocean claimed this 180’ freighter ship in 2000 and has since quickly adorned it with a tapestry of corals, sponges, hydroids and polychaetes. I’ve never encountered a wreck so decorated with life! Grenada’s got a unique beauty about it. Seems this island has secrets she’s willing to share with those who seek to explore. @seethroughsea #seethroughsea #sandalsgrenada #sandalsresorts #PADI #padiwomen #wreckdive #grenada

Photo by @_jimward_ | As you sink below the surface of the sea, light is gradually filtered out through the water and, with that loss of light, you begin to lose sight of color as well. The cones that allow our eyes to see a stunning spectrum of tones on land, have difficulty detecting warm hues without artificial light when diving deep. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I used to endlessly edit the photos I took at depth; layering in the reds, oranges and yellows lost to the blue but, today, I find that I don’t feel compelled to edit those “missing” colors in. Those blues and greens are a testament to the fact that @_jimward_ and I operated our dive as a unit, dropping in synchronicity to 65ft, then gradually making our way back the to surface together. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I’m realizing that the images we share here portray some version of our reality and I’m finding that I’d like mine to be a genuine portrayal of my life at various depths... These blues mark the fathoms at which I have wandered, which is starting to mean a lot more to me than just an aesthetically pleasing picture. @seethroughsea #seethroughsea #freedive

I was 3 when I decided I wanted to work with dolphins and whales. Though my idea of what that work would look like changed significantly over the years, the underlying determination to work in the ocean was always there. The very first time I witnessed Spinner Dolphins in the wild changed my life forever. I still remember that moment vividly: They were 40ft below me, traveling South over white sand speckled with rocks and corals. They didn’t surface near me, they didn’t stray from their course, they didn’t make a sound but, that moment, as seemingly uneventful as it was, was monumental to me and set me on the path I’m still carving out for myself today. @seethroughsea #seethroughsea

@_jimward_ sharing space with a Lemon Shark in the Bahamas. The very first thing that attracted me to Jim was his love for all things ocean and, thankfully, our love has grown alongside our mutual adoration for the sea. Here we are, nearly 8 years later still questing after the same agenda, celebrating the same love. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I genuinely believe that we should seek to nurture and celebrate our oceans and our earth every day. So, while I’m appreciative for days like #WorldOceansDay, I hope that care and consideration for the vast blue that extends across 70% of our planet goes beyond a single day, a hashtag and a pretty picture. @seethroughsea #seethroughsea

This has been an interesting few weeks for Big Island. My sensitivity to the vog has limited my normal out-and-about lifestyle; so I’ve been spending more time than usual in my office, researching various subjects I’m passionate about and learning how I can support them. I see different places around the world making changes to improve their environment and I wonder how we can implement similar initiatives in Hawai’i. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
*Governor Ige, still, has not signed the bill that would ban the import of sunscreens containing reef harming chemicals.* ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
With his delay, I find myself believing that it’s ultimately up to us: the people, the community, the visitors from near and far alike, to effect change by starting with ourselves. We can take steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle by thinking through the products we buy, the services we use and the actions we take. Photo by @_jimward_ @seethroughsea #seethroughsea

When I was a teenager, my photography focus was on the larger animals. Cetaceans and sharks captured my full attention and I spent little time looking at the smaller ocean inhabitants. As I grow, I find that I have greater appreciation for the “little” things in life, both on land and in the sea. Today, I cherish our daily afternoon rain, taking time to tend my garden, walking my pups in the forest and teaching my husband sign language. In the water, I smile at octopus camouflaging along the reef, marvel at light rays dancing across white sand and linger longer, taking in the beauty of a healthy coral head. I still find unbridled excitement when encountering larger animals but I’m grateful that it no longer overshadows the simplistic joy I feel as I watch a school of Jacks swirls in the blue with me. 📸 by 🕺🏽 @_jimward_ @seethroughsea #seethroughsea

If you’re near #HiltonHeadIsland tomorrow, you should swing by Coligny Beach at noon to meet my Mom and join her for a #HandsintheSand event! Those who attend can enter our raffle (no purchase necessary, just your presence is enough 😊) and could win one of three signed 8x10 prints that @_jimward_ and I are donating to the cause. The event is centered around promoting clean/sustainable energy, which is something we’re passionate about. Swing by, check it out, meet my joyful mom and be a part of a positive message that encourages our country to #protectwhatyoulove #protectwhereweplay #saveourseas | Photo of mom & calf humpback whale by @_Jimward_ @seethroughsea (This will be one of the raffled prints!)

@_jimward_ and Miss Henley spending some quality time together in the Bahamian Blues 💙 We went on a trip with our good friend @garrettgee to Tiger Beach and had an absolute blast! I was thinking it might be fun to put together a short video of what we experienced during our stay there, then perhaps post it on YouTube...Do you think that’d be something you might be interested in watching? 🤷🏽‍♀️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
P.S. You might notice that Henley is pretty roughed up. While injuries like that could come from any number of things (fishing gear, propellers, etc.), her more recent wounds appeared to be mating scars. When sharks copulate, the males bite the females and it leaves them pretty beat up in the end. That said, female sharks have thicker skin than males and heal quite quickly from these encounters. 🤓 @seethroughsea #seethroughsea

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