Gale Anne Hurd produces hit action movies & great dives.
As her professional reputation shoots even higher in the entertainment stratosphere, what does producer Gale Anne Hurd do to relax when she has time? She plunges into the ocean with mask and tank for luxurious exploration.
This month alone, Hurd’s meg- hit television series WALKING DEAD broke all cable records, her movie VERY GOOD GIRLS is in post-production, and her star was placed on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame (between Buster Keaton and Peter Lorre).
At the event, director and explorer James Cameron extolled the intelligence of the Phi Beta Kappa Stanford grad and lauded her talents as one of the “biggest producers in the business.” She helped discover his directing talent when they both worked with Roger Corman.
Part of Hurd’s smarts includes knowing how to do things well, whether she is producing box
Diver Gale Anne Hurd with the star of The Walking Dead, Andrew Lincoln, and her own Star for the Hollywood Walk of Fame
office hits, overseeing a television series, owning and operating a wine bistro, promoting ocean conservation, or enjoying luxury diving.
The action producer of other worldly hits including THE TERMINATOR movies, the HULK, THE ABYSS and ALIENS shares a passion in her personal life.
Why do you love diving?
To me, scuba diving is the closest I can get to a different universe without leaving planet earth.
How long have you been diving ? Where have you dove?
I’ve been diving since 1987, when I became certified in advance of producing THE ABYSS. I’ve completed over 300 dives in the Pacific Ocean, both North and South (from California to Micronesia and Hawaii, Fiji and Indonesia, Tahiti, etc), the Coral Sea off of Australia and Papua New Guinea, the Atlantic off of Florida and the Bahamas, as well as most areas of the Caribbean, including remote areas off of Saba, Dominica, St. Kitts, Barbuda, Belize, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, the Cayman Islands, St. Barths, St Martin, and Anguilla
Do you have an extraordinary moment that stands out in your diving memory?
A night dive from shore off Madang, PNG to the wreck of the Coral Queen and watching thousands of flashlight fish swarm around us right after sunset, all blinking in unison. It was like being surrounded by 10,000 Tinkerbells!
“Diving is as close as I’ll come to leaving this world.”
What is a favorite luxury dive experience from a land base?
I made some fantastic dives from the Aman Resort in Moyo Island, Indonesia a number of years ago. It’s a tented luxury resort on a VERY remote island. They had an underwater nature trail there that was fantastic.
What are your favorite live aboard dive trip experiences??
As a former owner of the Palau and Truk Aggressors, I’m a big fan of the Aggressor boats around the world. They are all fantastic ships in great locations for diving. I also very much enjoyed the Tiata off of Papua New Guinea, which when I was on board traveled from Kavieng, New Ireland to Rabaul New Britain. The fish life and invertebrates are beyond compare, and the local tribespeople are fantastic, which makes the experience wonderful on a socio-cultural level as well.
What makes it a “luxury dive” for you ?
To me, safety comes first, a great, well-maintained boats kitted out for divers, and the ability and guest-friendly nature of the crew. Being ecologically sound by tying up to buoys rather than dropping anchor on coral reefs is essential. Having comfortable staterooms and good food is important too.
Hurd dives with Sting Rays.
Any tips for other divers to make diving more luxurious?
Buy your own equipment and keep it well serviced; after all, it really is your life support and should be treated as such. Make sure you have the proper dive skin or wetsuit for the water temperatures you’ll be encountering.
Is there any diving you haven’t done yet, that is still on your bucket list? Where and why?
One day I’d love to dive the Galapagos and also Borneo. Both are remote areas with sea life I haven’t encountered before — and of course, the Red Sea. I had hoped to dive the latter when I visited Jordan a few years ago, but I came down with a terrible virus and was unable to dive.
Why do you think it’s important that we protect the oceans?
We are the Water Planet, and if the oceans become even more unhealthy, all life on the planet will suffer. It’s a very delicate balance now, and we must take action.
You are on the advisory boards of Heal the Bay and Reef Check. How are they helping our seas?
Heal the Bay focuses on the health of the beaches and oceans off of Southern California, and monitors the water quality of the local beaches, scoring the safety and health of each one. Reef Check monitors the quality of seas and sea life in over 90 countries around the world and trains local people who are stakeholders (fishermen, etc.) to dive and monitor their seas, so that they can take the lead in protecting their own seas and beaches.
Hurd at her Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena, California
You founded one of the most wonderful gathering places in Pasadena, California– VerticalWineBistro. Is there any consciousness to how fish fits in the menu because of your diving?
We do focus on sustainably caught seafood because of my interest in protecting the seas. We use the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood list, which is easy to access on line. I recommend it to everyone!
In pressure filled arenas, you are very successful in your life including producing innovative Oscar-winning films, and developing and heading up the record-breaking television series WALKING DEAD. Does diving help your professional success?
It’s a great way to relax and escape for me. When you’re diving, you are completely engrossed in the undersea world and not thinking about work.
Has diving helped your personal life?
My daughter and I have dived together around the world, and it’s something we love to share. She was certified on the island of Culebrita, in the US Spanish Virgin Islands, another wonderful and rarely dived site just off of Puerto Rico. So many of my friends dive, and it’s wonderful to take dive trips with them as well.
Lisa TE Sonne for Luxury Travel Mavens
Photographs provided by Hurd’s company Valhalla Entertainmnent.
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Do you have any favorite luxury dives, Hurd movies, or Walking Dead episodes to share? Please add your comments below!