July 23, 2010
In light of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Deb Castellana, is on her way to the Gulf of Mexico and will be reporting first hand about her experience along the gulf. From visiting the reefs off Palm Beach, to Sanibel Island, and up the coast all the way to Venice, Louisiana and Plaquemines Parish, you can follow Deb on our Mission Blue blog.
Deb Castellana grew up in Cold Spring Harbor, a small village on Long Island Sound in New York. One of her earliest memories was exploring how different plants grew where the fresh spring water joined the salty marsh at the head of the harbor.
Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Between the Atlantic Ocean and the Sound, and the freshwater creeks of the North Shore, Deb was under the ocean’s spell from an early age. Of the many places she’s lived, her home has never been more than 7 miles away from the ocean. She lived in Sweden, Mexico, Cape Cod, and on her own boat in Palm Beach and the Bahamas, before relocating to California in 1998.
Deb learned to dive in Palm Beach Florida from diving legend Norine Rouse in the 1980’s. “Norine played a huge part in shaping my life. Like a polar bear with her cub, she brought me into the blue heart of the planet. I never looked back. I was home.”
Since then, Deb has worked in several maritime professions – from boatyard management to working as boat captain on a luxury yacht in Mexico, to dive mastering and working as a marine archeologist. She has also been a consultant and translator for websites featuring solo around the world sailing races. She has cruised her own yacht in the Bahamas & Caribbean, been through hurricanes and is still in love with the sea.
A dive trip to Palm Beach in the summer of 2009 made it clear – the ocean she knew was actually changing. “And what I was hearing about the state of our oceans was scaring me. I had no idea that fisheries collapse was so widespread. I really didn’t understand about climate change and ocean acidification. And Plastics. Who knew that plastic never decomposes? It was clear that I needed to pay very close attention to what was happening on my ocean planet.”
Since then she has been studying ocean issues full time, as well as working with several ocean conservation organizations. Deb is dedicated to spreading awareness about ocean issues, and doing what she can to save what we can of our world ocean and it’s myriad of creatures while we still have the window to do it. This is why Mission Blue’s Hope Spot program is so appealing. “It makes sense and I believe it can work. It actually makes me feel hopeful for the future.”
Deb Castellana lives with her husband Chuck and their border collie Sophie in the small village of Point Richmond overlooking San Francisco Bay.