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Profiles Under the Sea

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in
seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Marcel Proust

One of the first lessons Judith Hemenway ’68 learned as a scuba diver was that the ocean was a lot bigger and infinitely more powerful than she was.

Judith Hemenway '68Thirty years later, after logging approximately 1,000 dives in California, Fiji, Borneo and Papua New Guinea, she shares her life’s lessons from under the sea in her book, The Universe Next Door: A Personal Odyssey.

Afraid of the water as a child, Hemenway quickly got over her fear when her father picked her up, water-wings and all, and threw her into the deep end of the pool. The mysteries of the water have intrigued her ever since.

“What drew me beneath the surface at first was the excitement and adventure of exploring the other three-fourths of our planet,” she says on her website “Over the years I have had many memorable adventures there. But in addition to the adventure, what keeps me returning is the privilege of experiencing myself as an alien in another universe, exploring and developing what lies within.”

From her first dive at La Bufadora in Mexico and an encounter with an octopus in the Sea of Cortez to a run-in with a seven-foot gray reef shark in Fiji and a ride on a giant Pacific manta ray in the Gulf of California, Hemenway’s book is a compilation of personal narrative essays that takes the reader on a journey of the sea from the eyes of an avid and experienced scuba diver. Quoting French novelist Marcel Proust, she says, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

When she’s not exploring the sea, Hemenway works as a network security engineer for Booz Allen Hamilton in San Diego, Calif. She enjoys writing poetry and lives with her husband and diving partner, Jonathan Fellows, in Del Mar, Calif.

- Jennifer Post Stoudt

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