We're proud to share Martina’s story as a logo of hope to PADI Divers across the globe. It's our mission to exhibit the passionate spirit of PADI Divers and encourage extra to hunt journey and save the ocean.
Seven years in the past, I left my life within the metropolis of Buenos Aires, Argentina, as a result of I wanted a change. I made a decision to discover the world. My unique plan was to take a yr off and to go touring as distant from my nation as I might. That’s how I arrived in Thailand, the place the place I went scuba diving for the primary time.
Once I was respiration underwater for the primary time, I instantly thought: ‘wow, how has this superb world all the time been right here and no one has ever advised me about it?’ I couldn’t consider that I had by no means heard about scuba diving and the great thing about the ocean that lies under the floor. In Argentina, I used to be born distant from the ocean and so we by no means spoke a lot about it in class or college. However after that first scuba diving expertise in Thailand, I might hug the ocean perpetually and I might by no means let go of it once more.
The ocean turned my compass and I made a decision to make use of all my financial savings to vary the course of my life: to study to dive, discover it and uncover as a lot marine life as attainable.
I promptly utilized for an internship in Mexico the place I might dive in trade for work they usually accepted my software. It was an unimaginable expertise, I did my first night time dive, my first cavern dive and I used to be additionally capable of work as a whale shark information. This specific expertise of working with the most important fish on the earth dramatically modified my life but once more, in addition to my means of understanding the world. Upon realizing how superb this marine animal is, the most important fish within the ocean, I began to know how superior nature is and the way a lot injury we, as people, are doing to the ocean.
I acknowledged that a huge purpose for this large environmental drawback was the ignorance surrounding its existence. So, I thought-about that one of the best factor that I might do was to contribute my grain of sand to the ocean that I really like a lot; I needed to begin speaking its threatened state. Dwelling so lengthy within the metropolis gave me the chance to know that many individuals don't all the time, and should by no means, have the prospect to come across underwater creatures nose to nose as I did. However I used to be positive that in the event that they knew about it, or if that they had any concept of the unimaginable marine life that lives underneath the waves, then they might additionally fall in love with the ocean. And, hopefully, they might consequently need to shield it too.
Speaking concerning the ocean and its wants in all potential methods shortly turned my objective. I made a decision to hitch collectively my unique profession as a journalist with my work as a divemaster to be able to give a voice to the ocean. In any case, it can't defend itself.
As soon as my time in Mexico ended, life took me to Bocas del Toro, Panama, a small archipelago in the midst of the Caribbean with turquoise waters, colourful corals, and an unimaginable area people dwelling amongst its islands. It was right here that I turned a PADI scuba diving teacher, filmed my first documentary to guard sharks and discovered greater than I might’ve imagined from locals concerning the nature round me, issues that I had by no means seen in any dive ebook.
Years handed and dwelling for therefore lengthy in such a small group allowed me to make a lot of native diving buddies. Nevertheless, it didn’t take time for me to comprehend that within the water, I used to be all the time surrounded by males. Divers from numerous nations, for positive, however there have been no native island ladies that have been diving instructors, solely people who got here from different elements of the globe. Actually, I additionally realized that many native women didn’t discover ways to swim.
The group of Bocas del Toro is surrounded by water and survives on water-based tourism, so not feeling snug with the ocean realistically reduces a lady’s working choices. The language barrier that exists for you should you additionally have no idea English solely serves to make employment choices that rather more difficult.
So, I stated to myself, ‘if I can get these women to really feel snug within the water, sooner or later they could possibly be captains, tour guides, dive instructors, surf instructors and even study to fish and feed all their household.’ Because of this, and along with the assistance of different highly effective ladies who lived on the island, we began the Ladies of the Ocean program with the purpose of empowering them by way of the ocean and making them join with it.
Each Saturday we had a special exercise that associated the women to the ocean in addition to an environmental speak to additionally increase consciousness to guard our house. We started to get the women accustomed to the ocean in new methods, little by little with out pushing them, enjoying video games the place they might stand freely within the water, then giving them get up paddle courses. As they turned extra assured, we taught them to row, surf and snorkel. The women have been all too younger to discover ways to dive with a correct tank, however I hoped that after these water actions some would need to proceed increasing their information of all of the enjoyable the ocean has to supply.
That is how I met Nazari, an area woman from Caranero Island who loves the ocean identical to I do. Two years in the past at Ladies of the Ocean, we gave a snorkeling class to women in this system and I shortly realized that Nazari, particularly, was into diving. On the age of 14, she swam straight to the underside of the ocean with no tank and with out worry. She informed me that her grandfather had taught her to dive as a toddler whereas he was spearfishing. That day we talked and I informed her that perhaps, when she grows up, she ought to develop into a scuba diving teacher and be the primary native lady to show scuba in Bocas del Toro.
One yr later, I left this magical place to proceed exploring the world’s oceans, however a number of weeks in the past I returned to the island and noticed Nazari, who remembered our speak. As quickly as she noticed me she stated, “Martina, I used to be simply considering of you!” Excitedly, she informed me that she was a yr away from ending faculty and she or he needed to study to scuba dive.
Because of the assistance of the native PADI dive middle Diving Pirates, I used to be capable of give Nazari her first scuba diving lesson. She was past enthusiastic and seemed so assured within the water that it was my final pleasure to share this expertise together with her. She even informed me that her father had given her a scuba diving e-book and she or he had been learning it whereas I used to be away.
To me, to be a ‘Lady of the Ocean’ means to decide on a free way of life, barefoot, with a wholesome, self-sufficient physique. It's studying to work together with your physique and with nature, collectively. Whereas I used to be studying to be a scuba teacher, the ocean taught me to be a robust and assured lady. This can be a large present, and one thing exceptionally troublesome in a society like right now’s. That's the reason I really like sharing my experiences with all the joys of the ocean and speaking them to others.
I consider that as scuba divers, it's our obligation to additionally to unfold this love for the ocean and to share it in all its varieties, for by sowing this seed we will encourage others. That's how nice modifications can occur.
Article by: @oceanomartina
Environmental journalist & scuba diver