Valorie Lord grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, with two brothers and two sisters in a big white house on a quiet street, doing all the normal things kids do. But on a family vacation to the beach at the age of 10 or 11, she joined a crowd gathering around a huge, almost flat creature at least 20 feet across that had washed up onto the sand - an animal she’d never imagined existed. When she asked what it was, someone called it a Manta Ray, a name that didn't seem nearly grand enough for such a magnificent creature.
To think that this incredible animal had come from the sea, had been swimming under the waves as freely as the birds soared through the sky, was mind-boggling. What else was out there that she didn't know about?
That question led Valorie to become a scuba diver, and over the years she had the good fortune to experience a wide variety of dives around the world. And every dive increased her awe and respect for the ocean, and anyone involved in its research and preservation. When asked who her heroes are, she'll likely mention Sylvia A. Earle and Jacques Cousteau.
She and her husband Pauli enjoyed living in Finland for a dozen years before returning to the U.S., where they now reside with their two cats, Kisu and Misu. She still loves the ocean of course, and she still wonders... What else is out there, hidden under the waves?