I am extremely devastated to let you know about the passing of Bob Fenner, one of reef keeping hobby’s pioneers, an inspiration to many and one of all time greats for our hobby. His accomplishments are numerous. An accomplished author, he was a regular speaker at national level shows such as MACNA and Reef A Palooza and his fight to help our hobby by both sharing his knowledge or by fighting for it directly was awe inspiring to say the least.
To be honest, we all know how great he was and you don’t need me to tell you how he truly was an amazing, free, kindred and vibrant spirit. His laughter was contagious and his love for the ocean and its animals was infectious.
With that said, I would like to take a minute and get personal to tell you my story about Bob. Like many other’s first encounter with Bob, I met him online via his website Wet Web Media, seeking his expert advice when I still in college, just starting to get into the hobby in the early to mid 2000s. Like many new hobbyists, I had tons of questions and looking back, some of them were just down right silly, but he was patient with me and shared his knowledge and made the learning experience enjoyable with his easy going attitude and jokes. His passion and enthusiasm was obvious even through the screen and I was extremely grateful for his help and bought his book to support his work and to learn more.
His website wet web media.
A few years went by and while I was doing my reef press full time, I ran into Bob at Super Zoo. Even though we had just met, he treated me like an old friend. We had an absolute blast while we sat, drank, and talked about various fish, their behaviors, natural habitats, corals, and scuba diving. He invited me to his scuba diving group where we shared photos (I just mainly watched and asked questions), stories, and grew our friendship through our mutual love for the ocean.
Me and Bob at Superzoo. Huge thank you to Joleen Turner of RAD and Jellyfish Art for dragging me in for the introduction.
Throughout the years, we would bump into each other at trade shows and almost each time, he would tease me that he could take better photos with his cheap underwater digital point and shoot camera… so I should just buy one of those and join him on one of his scuba trips. Looks like I will never get that chance and I am heart broken about it. He like many others in this hobby embraced me fully when I was just a minnow and helped me grow on my reefkeeping journey. I just want to say thank you and that I will miss him. I still can’t believe that he’s gone. It was just a few days ago that we were talking about Genicanthus semifasciatus. I and many others will miss his knowledge and jokes, his infectious laughter and his positive outlook on life. Here’s to you Bob. May you rest in peace and may you be surrounded by the amazing sea life that you loved so much.