A bit more about me


Rosario Strait. Photo Dennis Graver

To say that I have followed the path less traveled might be a bit of an understatement.  After moving back to Seattle for college, I fell hopelessly in love with deep shipwreck exploration. This infatuation led me to open the first technical dive shop and trimix fill station north of California – Adventure Diving, Inc. in 1993.  Knowing I needed a team to dive the deeper wrecks, with the help of my business partner Steve Pearson, organized and trained a small team of deep shipwreck divers and in doing so became the first woman to dive some of our most illustrious deep shipwrecks in the Northwest including the Al-Ind-Esk-A Sea (240′) the T/S Bunker Hill (270′) and AJ Fuller (220′). 

By the late 90’s I found myself seeking something with a bit more stability whilst still maintaining a certain level of adventure. I returned to school and promptly found myself working as a Surgical Technologist at a busy level one Trauma Center.  This course held for the ensuing decade, with the occasional overseas trip to help teach in developing counties.

Brain Surgery

Brain Surgery

Despite the comfort of a regular paycheck, the smell of the salt air and the siren song of the briny deep had refused to released its grip, and I never tired of regaling anyone who would listen with tales of shipwrecks full of wolf eels and octopus the size of a VW bug.

After a brief period of self-reflection, my path became clear,  there was no choice but to re-embark upon the childhood dream of following in the footsteps of Cousteau, helping to connect next generation to our Oceans and lure them into exploring the wonders beyond the edge of the deep green sea.  


Removing discarded batteries

Removing discarded batteries

I was born in Western Washington (yes a token native) with the skyline of Seattle veritably etched in my DNA.   It is with this feeling of deep connection that I have devoted myself to a becoming an advocate for the health of Puget Sound. As a diver I feel I bring a unique insight to the problems facing our waterways, having seen firsthand the consequences of human carelessness. As a citizen scientist I hold the knowledge to support sustainable conservation programs. As a filmmaker I maintain the tools needed to support public awareness. And last but not least, as an environmental activist, I possess the enthusiasm needed to help shape public opinion.  Combining this passion and my diverse talents make me uniquely qualified to promote the message that not only must be heard, but acted upon: “We MUST protect our Oceans”

Entertaining and hopefully inspiring the little ones at Newcastle Earth Day celebration 2014

Entertaining  the little ones at Newcastle Earth Day celebration 2014

Whether working with Pacific Marine Research or inspiring public action with videography via Beneath the Looking Glass Project,  I am constantly searching for ways to support the health of the our oceans. I find myself equally at home entertaining residents of a retirement facility or sharing the wonders of a muddy tide flat with a troop of kindergarteners. In 2012 I was the recipient of a Cox Conservation Hero award, and have utilized that as a springboard as I continue to expand public awareness and help foreground the plight of our threatened ecosystems. By combining the sophistication of multimedia with the hands-on approach of public events, it is my hope that I can help invigorate local conservation initiatives and establish a very clear sense that we can all make a real difference.

My passion is shooting films that inspire people to care for their environment, and helping to communicate complex scientific concepts to the general public and elected officials to impart knowledge of the changes that are necessary to save our Salish Sea. 

“People protect what they love, but they have to know it to love it…”

-Laura James

WDHOF Class of 2016


  7 comments for “A bit more about me

  1. Ronan Conlon
    April 20, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Laura, you are my hero and inspiration, I am taking my first steps to become a diver.
    Keep up the good work and highlight the importance of protecting our oceans and marine life that are important to our ecological system.

  2. December 7, 2014 at 3:35 am

    HI Laura,

    Came across your profile on twitter and I really respect divers who move into conservation, rather than just diving for the sake of diving 🙂

    Anyhow, just wanted to let you know, if you ever want to contribute an article to diveadvisor.com/sub2o – we would love to publish it. Perhaps a promotion of a campaign or just something you feel passionate about.

    We get roughly 20-25k visits a month in that section and I think your message will resonate with our readers.


  3. October 26, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Hi Laura !!

    The video that came out of our little shoot back at Frankfurt:

    All the bestest besti best!


  4. October 2, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Hello Laura
    I just heard about your work after hanging a show of paintings at C & P Coffee in West Seattle. The owner told me about your passion for the sea stars and other life in and around our waters. I have a series of paintings called “I Sea Stars” inspired by the wasting disease. If interested, I would love to share them with you. Otherwise stop by C&P Coffee sometime this month.

  5. December 22, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Hello Laura,

    My name is Walid, I’m the business developer of Dermandar the leading start-up in VR Video Stitching Technology.

    After the successful launch of our offline Mac 360 video stitcher, we are excited to make the following announcements:

    1-We have released the offline PC stitcher. You can download it and try the free version (http://www.stereostitch.com).
    Below is the launch price list (one-time fee):
    Mono 360 video
    – 2 cameras (back to back): 300 USD
    – Any cameras: 450 USD
    Stereo 360 video: 600 USD

    2-Our Live solution is finally here and is also available on our website.

    Here is the press release: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/09/prweb13692283.htm

    Please don’t forget to give us your feedback. It will help us to improve our product and better serve you.

    Walid Turkieh
    Business Developer
    DerManDar Corp.
    If you don’t want to receive our emails, please feel free to send us an email with the subject “Unsubscribe”. We will be committed not to communicate with you anymore.

  6. Steven Lucas
    November 27, 2017 at 6:35 pm


    When you come up for air. Send me an email. I want to share some conservation news with you. I don’t have your current email. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

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