Born in Italy, Cristina Zenato grew up in the rainforests of the African Congo and developed a love of the outdoors. A professional diver since 1994, she shares a combined passion for the oceans, sharks and caves through her work of exploration, education and conservation. A shark ambassador, she works with sharks in the wild and is known for the special relationship she has with them. Her work is global and has helped change people’s perception of sharks in places like China and Singapore.
As an active cave explorer in the Bahamas, she surveys caves and promotes their conservation. She is also the first woman to have connected an inland fresh water cave to an ocean blue hole in the Bahamas. Zenato is a member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, The Explorers Club, and the Ocean Artists Society.
A firm believer in the power of education, Zenato is a PADI Course Director and spends her time training and teaching below and above the water. She is an active supporter of the Bahamas National Trust and the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society.
“My mission is to show anybody that each person counts and that each and every one of us can make a difference through our daily actions,” she says.
- Induction into the Women Divers Hall of Fame (2011)
- Induction into the Explorers Club New York (2013)
- Became a PADI Course Director (2015)
- Initiating and promoting shark protection legislation in the Bahamas to see it approved (2011)
- Connecting the ocean blue hole with the land cave (2012)
- Mapping the entire Lucayan cave system on Grand Bahama Island and seeing it become part of the extension of the new park area (2009–2011 mapping; 2016 expansion to include the entire cave)
- Connecting caves to demonstrate the travel of water in an area of Grand Bahamas, deemed impossible to connect by other cave explorers, and seeing them included in a new marine protected area (2016)
- Joining National Geographic Abaco Blue Holes exploration, survey and outreach program (2016)
- Receiving Diver of the Conference award at EuroTek (2016)
- Being invited to speak and promote shark conservation on CCTV in China (2015)
- Being invited to speak and promote shark conservation in Singapore (2013–2015)
- Being invited to speak at different conferences about sharks or cave exploration including: TekDiveUSA (2014–2016), EuroTek (2016), OzTek (2017), NSS-CDS conference (2014–16), and Beneath the Sea
- Being invited to speak and promote shark conservation and cave exploration on different TV programs in different countries including Italy, Germany, France, Canada, UK and USA