The Bahamas Weekly reports that Italian-born Grand Bahama resident Cristina Zenato has recently been chosen for induction in The Women’s Divers Hall of Fame. Zenato is head of diving at the Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO) located at the Port Lucaya Marina in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The official induction of WDHOF Honorees is made annually at the Beneath the Sea (BTS) Expo, which is held in March at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ.
Cristina Zenato lived in the African Congo region until the age of 15; her passion for the ocean surfaced at a young age, and following her love for the water she journeyed to the Bahamas for work, and learned to dive. Speaking five different languages—Italian, English, German, French and Spanish—she became a PADI, NAUI, SSI, SDI, open water instructor, NSS-CDS full cave instructor, and Extended Range Instructor, with expertise in TDI advanced Nitrox with decompression procedures and more. She has worked for UNEXSO for over 16 years.
When Zenato is not working, she can usually be found free diving or exploring new cave systems. Although her love of exploration and caving is inspiring, “it pales when it comes to sharks. Some would say Cristina has a natural ‘gift’ with sharks. Practicing a little known technique of rubbing and manipulating her fingers across the ampullae of Lorenzini, the visible dots [electro-receptive sensory organs] all around a shark’s head and face, she induces a tonic immobility. To the observer, this looks like a shark falling asleep right in her lap. [. . .] Her ability to work with several types of shark in this manner has allowed her to study up close, in the wild, with no stress from the usual hooks, gaffs, and undue pain some shark researchers have used to gather data. In fact, the sharks surrounding her home in The Bahamas almost seem to know her for her gentle spirit, and warm to her touch.”
This past year Zenato has become known on the internet for her participation as a model and shark handler in a video produced by Joe Romeira called Nino Salerosa. Zenato was featured on the NBC Today Show for her participation in Mermaids in Motion along with Hollywood special effects artist Allan B Holt (with underwater footage by Grant W. Graves and Ric Frazier Production).
The Women Divers Hall of Fame™ (WDHOF) is an international non-profit professional honor society whose member contributions span a wide variety of fields including: the arts, science, medicine, sports, exploration, marine archeology, media, service, dive training and education, safety, business, marine environment and conservation, free diving, commercial diving, and military diving. WDHOF’s two-part mission is to recognize women divers who have made outstanding contributions to the exploration, understanding, safety and enjoyment of our underwater world and to support the underwater world and its associated careers by promoting opportunities for women and men in diving through scholarships, internships and mentorship opportunities and a worldwide network of industry contacts.
For C. Zenato’s full biography, see http://www.cristinazenato.com/CZ.html
For more on the WDHOF, see http://www.wdhof.org/
For more on UNEXSO, see http://www.unexso.com/