Mary Levy Peachin N'62
Mary Levy Peachin is a world adventurer, published author, and photographer. Years ago, she told a friend, who was the Editor-in-Chief of Phoenix Magazine at the time, about a recent experience cage diving with blue and mako sharks in San Diego. He printed her thrilling story in his magazine, beginning Mary's career in travel writing.
She has visited all seven continents and written about her adventures. Sighting a whale shark has been on primary interest to Mary. She says, "I literally did not come out of the water [during] the 20 years I searched the oceans of the world for whale sharks." She was able to incite a much greater awareness and interest of the creature through her stories after she finally caught up with her illusive subjects. "I heard about a whaleshark migration in Holbox, an island off the Yucatan near Cancun. My search was over. I was in the water with dozens of them. I wrote the story for a dive magazine and the next year, there were dozens of boats and hundreds of people there."
Mary's extensive publications catalogue her travels around the world. Her website, www.peachin.com, has been published for 14 years and is filled with photos, stories, and advice about adventure. Her first book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sharks, provided information on shark evolution, categorization and myth, among many other topics. The Caribbean has also been a source of inspiration for Mary, who wrote the books Scuba Caribbean (University Press Florida) and the forthcoming Sport Fishing in the Caribbean.
Though Mary has a very successful career as an adventurer, she never planned on taking this path. As a child, she says, "I never dreamed of scuba diving, much less chasing whale sharks around the world." Her first career was as an adoption case worker for Illinois Children's Home and Aid. She then became an aviation consultant and a commercial-instrument pilot, and later an owner of an art and framing gallery.
Despite her many adventures and world travels, Mary says that her biggest accomplishment is, "marrying a fabulous man (45 years ago) and raising two great children." She also greatly values her time spent serving various professional organizations and boards of directors in her community of Tucson, Arizona. She says, "I have had the opportunity to be the 'first woman in the board room' on a number of occasions and have received many honors for my volunteer work. Women have it easier these days, and they should continue to strive to crash through any remnants of that 'glass ceiling.'"
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