Diving in Vegas?

On November 17th, worlds collided. Am I in Las Vegas for the Miss America Pageant? No, my heels are not tall enough, as can be seen in the photo below. What about the 2021 Car Wash Show? I am not kidding, that was a real and what seemed to be a respected event this weekend.

Not joking, there was a Miss America Pageant.
NOGI Awards. Pictured is Michele Hall Introducing Zale Perry.

I am here for the 2021 DEMA show! DEMA is one of the largest events for companies who work in scuba diving, travel, and ocean water sports. I am specifically here for the NOGI awards, presented by the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, where legends in diving get presented with awards in different categories. I have the opportunity to attend these awards because of the connection I made with Michele Hall during the Boston Sea Rovers clinic just a month before. Her friend, Ed Stetson, who has been teaching scuba at UCSB for over 30 years, had tickets to the NOGI awards through the Lee Selisky Future Leaders of the Diving Industry Program. He and Selisky had created this program a few years earlier, and Stetson continues in Lee Seliskys memory.

Zale Perry and I!

When I arrive I immediately go to help Ed at the rehearsal dinner. Here, I am able to meet some of the other attendees and award recipients, including Zale Perry, who is presenting the recipient of her scholarship tonight. When the rehearsal dinner ends, I change into my fancy outfit and go back to the ballroom where other volunteers and I hand out tickets and direct people to their tables.

Frances Degruy and I

It is great to see Michele and Howard Hall again, along with documentary filmmaker Mimi Degruy and her children Max and Frances. At the table, Holly Lompa tells me a bit about her current job, and it was interesting to find out that she graduated from Santa Barbara City College, just five minutes from where I am attending college! Next to me is artist Robert Wyland, who paints beautiful murals all over the country, most notably of whales. One of these Whale Walls is actually located only 10minutes from my hometown and he tells me about some difficulties he had finishing that particular piece.

Holly Lompa and I

I love seeing all the recipients receive their awards, and the video that introduced each one. Paul Nicklen, one of my idols, is being recognized with the Arts award. Although he can’t be here to receive the award, I am in awe of his acceptance video! When the banquet ends, I help collect donation envelopes off all the tables and am able to introduce myself to more people outside my table. It is great to talk with Jamil Wilson, the current Our World Underwater Scholar. He tels me about his experience so far, and how he had even worked with the past BSR intern Russel Laman.

My table at NOGI Awards

And finally, Dan Orr gives me some advice. Always have my business card on me. And write letters, because letters are more remembered than emails. So if you meet me anytime from now on, expect a business card and a letter because Dan knows what he is talking about.

Boston Sea Rovers 2021


My business card!

You see, I have attended Boston Sea Rovers for a few years now. It is an amazing, crazy, busy weekend. But as the intern, stepping out of my dads truck in my dress and heels, instantly tripping, and then being introduced to Greg Skomal as I am handed my business cards, well that was a different kind of crazy. Wicked crazy, I should say. Not three months prior I was learning about Skomal in my high school marine science class, and now I was about to eat dinner at the same table.

Greg Skomal and I at the Jake Duvall Wine Dinner

I then got on a bus to attend the Jake Duvall Wine Dinner with around twenty or thirty other people. 

Krista Laforest (2017 BSR Intern) and I

Past interns Krista Laforest and Brendan Sullivan Brendan Sullivan help me a lot, informing me who people are and that I should just try to talk to everyone. So, I do. After an amazing dinner with the Rovers and past interns, we all move into another room for a reception. I talk to everyone and hear about their life and work and I am amazed at the depths people have reached; both literally and in their respective fields. At this reception I meet with the President of Boston Sea Rovers, Nick Fazah, where he exchanges my temporary name tag with the permanent blue name tag badge. We pose for an epic photo!

Epic photo #1: receiving my blue name tag!

The next morning I start my day by attending Aerial Drone 101 for Scuba Divers. I learn all about drone piloting and how drones can be a good tool for divers. I then have lunch with all the people in the film festival where Jake Stout, a past intern and also organizer of the film festival this year, goes over everybody’s cues in order to stay on time. My tip: basically don’t trip when walking up the stairs to be recognized as the new intern. I can do that, I think. I then walk around the exhibitor booths and meet Becca Boring from the company Backscatter. She is great! Backscatter supports the internship by supplying a camera and all the fix ins for the intern to borrow for the summer. I then made it to Faith Ortins booth. She runs a company called Blue Green Expeditions. Two years prior I had attended Boston Sea Rovers and went to her seminar as she shared videos of locations she recommends to dive. She remembered me from then which was pretty cool!

My table at the Board of Directors Dinner. (Left to Right) Howard Hall, Michelle Hall, Erin Quigley, Me, Jen Penner, Joel Penner.

I then got ready for the Film Festival, but first I attended the Board of Directors dinner. There I sat with Michele and Howard Hall. Michele talked with me about a possible opportunity to go to DEMA, a dive convention taking place in Las Vegas next month, which was really exciting! I talked with Erin Quigley as she is the master of post production editing which is something I would love to learn more about. She is very funny too! Joel and Jen Penner also were sitting at my table and I got to hear about their underwater photography careers. It was so cool to hear them all talking about their projects and careers!

The film festival was amazing, especially since I was able to just talk with the presenters about their work. Jennifer Selleti’s narration about the Andrea Doria was absolutely beautiful. Like, seriously, breathtaking the way she narrated the story. After intermission, Nick called me up on stage to be recognized formally as the 2022 intern! I was so nervous, but I didn’t trip! We then took another epic photo with me on stage.

Epic photo #2: Formally being presented as the new intern!
The intern booth

The next day I attended the current intern Russel Laman’s presentation about his experiences. I helped wrap up the intern booth and collect everything to close down the event. It was a truly wonderful weekend where I met so many amazing people and it makes me so thrilled to see what experiences I will have next summer!

Me and some of the past BSR Interns! (Left to Right) Me, Russel Laman, Jake Stout, Krista Laforest, Brendan Sullivan, JP Sullivan, Kim Malkoski, Rick Simon)

Who Am I?

My name is Hailey Springer and I am very excited to be the Boston Sea Rovers 2022 Summer Intern! I grew up in York, Maine and am currently a freshman at University of California, Santa Barbara. I hope to continue on the double major path of aquatic biology and communications! I am a part of the UCSB Scuba and Freedive club and have loved exploring the kelp forests off the west coast.

I started getting into photography in high school, and practiced by taking photos for local businesses in southern Maine. I also completed a year-long research paper exploring the marketing aspect of marine conservation, where I was able to converse with many underwater photographers and learn about their work. 

I became a PADI open water certified diver my freshman year of high school after seeing images taken by Becky Kagan Schott in a magazine my dad got me for Christmas. I am very excited to keep diving this winter and spring and ‘dive’ right into this opportunity next summer!

I hope this blog will serve as a place where you can understand the experiences of a Boston Sea Rovers Intern as if you were there, and I plan to include links to people and places I reference in a hope to make it as understandable and educational as possible. I’ll keep this, as well as my Instagram @haileyyspringer , updated with my upcoming experiences! Feel free to reach out!