I have been gathering my gear in preparation for my trip to Curacao in January, and it got me thinking about all the great people I have met on dive trips; the 70 year old guy who digs up wooly mammoths in Alberta, the trauma surgeon with hundreds of stories, the nuclear engineer working for NOAA, to name a few. In fact, meeting new and interesting people are one thing I really look forward to when traveling. Well, I got an email from one of our former students that tops my encounters.
Some of you may remember Sarah Barrett who dove with us this past summer. She came to us as an open water diver looking to advance to dive instructor and work in the dive industry. She took Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver courses with us and then spent the rest of the summer racking up dives so she could start her Divemaster course. At the end of the summer, she moved down to Florida and started her training. She sends Mike and me periodic updates and we are very interested to hear of her progress. She shared with us that she had earned her divemaster and was already hard at work to become an instructor, but she also shared an encounter that is bound to set her life on end!
While practicing skills with the other instructor candidates, she realized that the woman who is working with her class and going for IDC staff was none other than Christina Zenato. Christina is known the world over for her work to protect the cave systems on Grand Bahama Island, but for most of us, she is known as the “shark whisperer.” She helps scientist to take DNA samples and collect data by putting the shark into a state called, “tonic immobility,” a trance-like state. She also does this with sharks so she can rid them of fishing hooks and parasites.
Sarah a wasted no time in introducing herself to this woman: her idol. She shared her desire to work with Ms. Zenato, and Christina, no doubt impressed with Sarah, has agreed to help her get the necessary visas to allow her to work in the Bahamas. This chance encounter is leading to a chance of a lifetime for our young friend. We are so excited for her! Before any of this can happen, of course, Sarah has to complete her instructor training and earn her Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating, so, “Get to your studies, Sarah!”
I guess one never knows to what other adventures diving travels may lead, but one thing is certain, it will never be boring!
You can check out Christina's diving here. Until next time, cheers.