Sea World and an Awesome Evening with Marty Snyderman

Today Hiro, Pat, and I spent the day at Sea World. It was neat, we saw the Shamu show, the seal show, and the dolphin show, along with various other exhibits. The shark exhibit was cool because we were moved through a tunnel under the shark exhibit on a people-mover and felt like we were underwater and surrounded by them. I also really liked the manatee rescue exhibit-I had NO idea how big they are! After Sea World we visited the Scripps Aquarium, which had beautiful exhibits of local and foreign waters. We ended the day with shopping for a while in La Jolla, visiting Wyland’s studio gallery, and then seeing dozens of seals resting on the beach downtown. The seals were sunning themselves in an area they call the “war zone” because it has been debated whether or not the city should let the seals stay in the area.

The best part of today, by far, was eating dinner with Marty Snyderman. If you have seen underwater photographs before, there is a good chance you have seen one of Marty’s! Marty Snyderman is a renowned underwater photographer, cinematographer, writer, and producer with his works published by National Geographic, Skin Diver, Time, Newsweek, and the New England Aquarium :-) . Hiro taught Pat and I how to make spring rolls for dinner. We used rice paper, bean noodles, basil, mint, lettuce, cucumbers and parsley. Each one was rolled up with either shrimp or chicken in the center, and then cut in half. Hiro put out two dunking sauces, her recipe was delicious.

Dinner with Marty was awesome. I was sitting between Steve and Marty and just listening to boatloads of advice for college, for majoring in science, for scuba diving, and jobs from two of the greatest men in the business. It was great. Marty asked me a lot of questions about my interests, besides scuba diving and marine science and that made a strong impression on me, and said a lot about his character. After each question he would give his point of view on how to approach, say, pursuing marine biology in college. He told a great story of how he was mentored by Stan Waterman and was goggling when at dinner with him. He said he probably wouldn’t have gotten his name right if he had been asked—boy do I know what that feels like!!

He also told us about some of his adventures in his career. Marty was the first man to dive with a great white shark without a cage. When asked if he would do it again he said, “I’d be right behind you!” He teaches an online photography course, and offered to let me take his classes!! I was trying to keep my eyes in my head I was so excited, and then just after that he offered to give his two latest books Marine Life of the Caribbean, and California Marine Life to me. I couldn’t stop saying thank you but honestly I was so dumbstruck and speechless that I couldn’t think of any other words. I had a blast tonight, I couldn’t have asked for a more informational and laughter-filled night. Marty is a very cool guy and totally down to earth; he’s wicked funny and definitely not afraid to crack a joke!