Jim spent his childhood along the East Coast of the United States, living in Virginia, Florida and Tennessee. During the summer months, his family would go on an annual vacation to Sunset Beach, North Carolina. Jim maintained that "beach week" was the best week of the year and, as he got older, he realized that his attraction to the ocean was something he wanted to pursue. Jim was accepted to the University of the Virgin Islands and moved to Saint Thomas, USVI, where he graduated with his Bachelors Degree in Marine Biology.
Soon after graduating, Jim moved to Madagascar to work at the Centre Val Bio where he studied endangered Mouse Lemurs. Two years later, Jim was relocated to Costa Rica to work with Friends of the Osa; there he helped research, tag and protect nesting Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. After Costa Rica, Jim was hired by Jean Michelle Cousteau's "Ambassadors of the Environment" and worked as a naturalist at the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman, BVI until 2011, when Jim moved to Hawai'i.
Upon arriving in Hawa'i'i, Jim went to school and got his captain’s license. He also founded his photography company, See Through Sea, with his wife, Alicia. Jim currently collaborates with several research and aid organizations whose goal is to support Hawai'i's endangered cetaceans. Jim is an avid freediver and scuba diver and enjoys exploring the oceans whenever time permits.
See Through Sea is run by husband and wife team, Jim and Alicia Ward. This couple's love for the ocean brought them together and Jim and Alicia are dedicated to ocean conservation and the art of underwater storytelling.
Pronounced "Ah-LEE-See-Yah" (named after her Abuela), Alicia often goes by her nickname 'Ali'. Alicia spent her youngest years moving around, spending time in Minnesota, Mexico, Georgia and South Carolina before her parents announced they were moving to Hawai'i when Ali was 12.
Alicia took an interest in marine biology at a young age and as she grew older, spent an increasing amount of time in the ocean, studiously observing the surrounding wildlife, then returning home to research all she had encountered. At the age of 15, Alicia picked up a camera, hoping to share the picturesque beauty of the underwater world with her friends and family. She invested time and energy into learning her equipment, improving her freediving capabilities and honing her craft. Alicia is now a PFI certified freediver (Static Apnea: 4:15 | Depth: 126ft), NAUI certified scuba diver and a full time professional underwater photographer.
Alicia's initial publications were of surfers and wildlife, but she soon replaced surf photography with underwater "fashion" photography and has found traction with her work. Alicia continues to focus on wildlife imagery, promoting respectful and responsible ocean etiquette as well as encouraging conservation and protection for Hawai'i's endangered marine life. She currently runs her business, See Through Sea, with her husband, Jim. In her down time she can be found searching for Tiger Sharks, baking cookies or exploring the Big Island with Jim and their two dogs.
Alicia & Jim Ward
Alicia Ward (Née Franco)
Believe it or not, sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction! Alicia actually READ about Jim in a Magazine!
Growing up, one of Alicia's favorite pastimes was waking up early in the morning, curling up in the squashy chair by the window and reading her mother's travel magazines; when Alicia moved out of the house, she upheld this tradition and subscribed to a few of her favorite reads. On a summery Hawaiian day in 2010, Alicia plopped down in the sand at the beach and thumbed through a then recent issue of Islands Magazine. Having just left her job to pursue a full-time career in underwater photography, Alicia was distraught when she found out her family was moving from Hawai'i to South Carolina, and was considering possibly moving to the Caribbean to lessen the distance.
After coming upon an article that featured the exploits of American expat, Jim Ward, living in the Cayman Islands, Alicia thought perhaps it would be a good idea to reach out and ask Jim if he thought relocating from Hawai'i to Caribbean would be feasible. The two instantly connected over their similar passion for the ocean and, after a month of letters and a 5000 mile flight, Oahu became home for Jim instead!
In September 2015, 5 years after their first words were exchanged, Jim and Alicia tied the knot. They are now happily located on the island of Hawai'i with their two dogs, Kona and Winter. Though they plan to travel as much as possible, the Hawaiian Islands provide Jim and Alicia with an endless source of adventure and beauty.