Legends of Diving Articles


A Legend of UNEXSO: Cristina Zenato

Cristina Zenato was born in Italy, 21st Dec 1971, grew up in in the middle of the rain forest of the Congo Africa till the age of 15, and in doing so developed a love of the outdoors and a passion for the ocean.

Life took a different turn though and at the age of 22 she went to the Bahamas to learn Scuba diving. It defined her career for working at the hotel and completing her dive training.

For the past 14 years she has worked for UNEXSO, starting to work as a temporary diving supervisor back in 1998. She cave dives and explores on the

Cristina Zenato

island. From her exploits she has written a few short stories for newsletters about cave diving and training. With UNEXSO she also embarked in her other passion: Sharks.


She first learned to feed sharks from her mentor, the legendary Ben Rose. Self taught about sharks, their behavior, and the difference in sharks, she is the shark feeder instructor for the staff training and guest program. She is in the process of writing a distinctive specialty for shark awareness.


Christina has traveled to many locations to learn the behaviors of sharks. She has gone to such places as the Bimini Shark Lab, South Africa, North Carolina,

and Little Bahama Bank. At these locations she has observed the behaviors of Tiger, Great White, Lemon, and Bull sharks.

But her best knowledge is with Caribbean Reef shark. She has learned tonic immobility from Ben Rose and has developed it even further. She uses it to educate people and to remove hooks out of the mouths of these gentle creatures with voracious appetites.

Currently she is working as a diving instructor in charge of the Technical Department as a full cave instructor and as an Extended Range Instructor.

In her own words, "I dive for living and after 14 years I still live for diving."

  • Her fascination with scuba diving started at the age of 8 when her dad was in the military, a member of the special forces dive team back in the 50s. She grew up swimming, snorkeling and playing in the water.

  • Two "movies" reinforced her idea of wanting to be involved in Scuba Diving: a documentary about Amy Slate, and a movie about a guy who could swim with sharks, she wanted to do both.

  • Christina speaks five different languages: Italian, English, German, French and Spanish, in order of capacity.

  • She learned to cave dive in 1996. In 2000 she used her own time and money to train in Florida  to become a Full Cave Diving Instructor, I am #325 Full with the NSS-CDS

  • She has worked on several films: BBC Nature, BBC Science, Discovery Channel Shark Week, National Geographic on shark feeding and tonic immobility, Ushuaia Nature program in France, Quark, Italian TV Nature program, ABC, Galatee for the movie Oceans, Movie Shark Man, movie Shark Water, and the movie Sea Wolf, just to name a few.

  • She has worked and assisted for different magazines including Advance Diver Magazine, Skin Diver, Sport Diver.

  • Some of the photographers/videographers she has worked with:
    Stephen Frink, Walt Sterns, Bob Talbot, Pete Zuccarini, Mark Wrackley, and Wes Skyles.

  • Christina has worked pro bono for calendar photo shoots to fund shark awareness: Shark Water photo shoot, Protect the Sharks Foundation, and Shark Lab.

  • Dive Community Involvement: Bahamas National Trust Dive Guide, Bahamas Internship Program, Environmental Moorings Project, Artificial Reef Program

  • Diving Qualifications: UNEXSO Shark Feeder Trainer - certified 73 divers as feeders, NSS-CDS Full Cave Instructor, TDI Cavern, Intro and Cave Instructor, TDI Advanced Nitrox, Decompression Procedures and Extended Range Instructor, TDI Advanced Wreck Instructor, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, NAUI Open Water, Scuba Instructor, SSI Rescue Instructor

  • Diving Experience Summary: 8000+ total dives, 1600+ shark feeding dives, 600+ cave dives, 1000+ mixed gas dives

Christina Zenato and Ben Rose at the International Legends of Diving
Festival off the shores of Grand Bahama Island, April 2009.

ILD would like to congratulate Cristina on being inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in March of 2011.

Portage Quarry Recreation Club, Inc.
12701 South Dixie
Bowling Green OH, 43402

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