Barb Roy — an inspiration to us all

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Barb Roy — an inspiration to us all

January 08, 2018 - 22:52

It is with extreme regret that we announce that Barb Roy, our long-time associate editor and regular contributor, has passed away after a long battle with illness.

Barb Roy on her way to dive Nootka Sound, British Columbia, Canada

By Rosemary E. Lunn and Gunild Symes

Barb was an avid technical and wreck diver, underwater photographer and instructor, having learned to dive in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1979. She was PADI Master Instructor and held instructor ratings with DAN, IANTD and NAUI. She became a NAUI Wreck and Archaeology Instructor to explore wrecks and an IANTD Trimix diver to photograph giant gorgonian sea fans at 200 feet.

In 1980, she opened a dive business in Anchorage called Orca Oceanic Research & Salvage, where she taught hundreds of people how to scuba dive, organised local and international dive travel and sold diving equipment. After almost ten years, Barb took on a business partner, Ron Akeson, and changed the company name to Alaskan Underwater Adventures.

In 1991, they moved the business down to Washington State and again the name was changed to Adventures Down Under (ADU). It is no surprise that Barb was certified to repair regulators, drysuit seals and inspect cylinders. In 1997, Barb sold her half of the company to Ron but continued to work, teach and provide the marketing for ADU.

In 1995, Barb also began a part-time career as an outdoor adventure photojournalist, specialising in dive travel stories. Since then her written work and photography has appeared in various international and local print magazines, books, Internet publications and dive companies, including Diver UK, Scuba & H2O Adventure Magazine, Skin Diver Magazine, Tahtsa Dive Charters, Wreck Diving, and X-Ray Mag.

    "What I remember most about Barb, beyond her deep passion for cold water diving and her journalistic and creative gifts, was Barb was a consummate human who reveled in being alive. She was insatiably curious about the world around her; was humble and deeply grounded. And she was always kind, always smiling, always looking at you with a twinkle in her eye that made you want to follow her journey to see what treasure in life it would shine upon. Barb’s passing darkens a vast knowledge of the undersea realms, but the memory of her relentless and egoless passion for life will stay with, and inspire, those that knew her, and I am exceptionally grateful and lucky to have crossed paths with her during my life. I will celebrate her memory in my heart on my next dive (sorry, Barb, it may be in warm water)." — Ty Sawyer, Skin Diver Magazine.

After the passing of her good friend and business partner, Ron Akeson, in April of 2014 and the closing of ADU, Barb and her daughter, Tallen Patrick, opened a dive travel business in the same Bellingham location called Orca Oceanic Diving & Photography. It specialised in underwater photography and videography.

Barb had also served as a board member with the Dive Industry Association of British Columbia, the Maritime Documentation Society, and the Technical Dive Training Facility at Adventures Down Under. She also assisted the Washington Scuba Alliance (WSA) in collecting donations.

Barb was a big advocate of diving in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. It was one of her great loves. Her images were widely used to promote eco-friendly diving in British Columbia, and she spoke at the Vancouver Aquarium Diver's Weekend and at the dive show in Tacoma. Last March, she gave four photography seminars on diving in BC at the Tacoma Show.

    As an outdoor adventure writer, dive travel photographer, friend and colleague, I will miss her greatly, as indeed will all of her fellow writers at X-Ray Mag. She was a consummate professional who enjoyed giving presentations about her many adventures to various dive clubs, museums and schools," said Peter Symes, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of X-Ray Mag.

With over 30 years of experience in the dive industry, with special interests in marine life, science, photography and shipwrecks, Barb offered presentations to the public about her various dive journeys to places like Tasmania, Egypt, Churchill (Manitoba), Alaska and Guadalupe (Mexico). Barb enjoyed sharing stories of her adventures but also liked to hear about everyone else's too. She often traveled with family members, including her husband, Wayne Grant, children and grandchildren, so she could offer refreshing new perspectives in her stories and photography.

For X-Ray Mag, Barb was one of our most prolific and popular contributors, writing a long list of in-depth articles and news stories, often together with her husband, Wayne, over the past decade—with each article accumulating tens of thousands of reads from divers around the world.

Her included topics such as Diving Coastal British Columbia, BC's Wreck Trek, Underwater Nanaimo, Diving Canada's Freshwater Interior, Vancouver's First Major Artificial Reef: HMCS Annapolis, Pavillion Lake, Washington State's Hood Canal, Churchill: Trekking Canada’s Sub-Arctic Region in Manitoba, San Juan Islands, BC's Southern Gulf Islands, BC's Critter Connection, Red Sea Safari: Journey from Cairo to El Quseir, BC's Port Hardy: Aboard the Nautilus Swell, Guadaloupe's Great White Sharks, Diving the Hot Spots of Vancouver Island, Socorro, Technical Diving Paradise in the Pacific Northwest, Journey to Bikini Atoll, Choosing a Technical Instructor, Thetis Island, Hawaii, New Zealand, Skookumchuck: Challenging the Rapids, and BC’s Reefs of Steel.

One of Barb's favorite quotes (originated by E.J. Stieglitz, but often attributed to Abraham Lincoln) was: "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." Barb certainly fully lived life in her years, and was an inspiration to us all.

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