For someone who grew up in Chicago, Annie Crawley is the closest you’ll ever come to a mermaid. An award-winning underwater photographer, filmmaker and author, “Ocean” Annie lives and breathes ocean. An SSI 5000 Platinum Pro diver who’s in the Women Divers Hall of Fame, she’s also a field biologist who has documented expeditions all over the world, including the Arctic and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (More on that later.) She speaks all over the country about how we need to protect our oceans, and teaches our youth to do the same.
And she’s headlining Tacoma Ocean Fest 2018 as keynote speaker, videographer and photographer.
“The first time I breathed underwater my life changed, as I knew I’d found home,” says Crawley. “I wish I could live underwater forever. I dream of the ocean and swimming with humpbacks, mantas, sharks and all the animals in the sea.”
Luckily for Tacoma, Crawley doesn’t just dream of it. She lives it, touring the world and bringing back breathtaking footage of majestic rays, playful sea lions and – most recently – enormous, loving mother-and-calf humpback whales.
At Ocean Fest Crawley will take the stage several times during the festival, screening this astonishing underwater world for us to experience, and inspiring us with the animals that live in our ocean.
But she’ll also share with us the horrifying pollution she’s seen in our ocean: piles of plastic trash on virgin beaches, gigantic plastic gyres miles wide in the ocean, sea creatures suffering and dying because humans are addicted to plastic. She’ll share her siren call with us: Refuse single-use plastic, and be the voice of the ocean.
“The blue is where I belong,” says Crawley. “The ocean doesn’t need people – people need the ocean. I hope you will join me at Ocean Fest and do everything in our power to protect our ocean home.”
(Photo: Courtesy Annie Crawley)