cristina zenato

Exploration, Education, Conservation

Frequently Asked Questions

Cristina wants you to have all the information requirer to take your next step; however, please understand that she receives a lot inquiries so kindly check out her FAQ section before emailing. If you have different or further questions about sharks, caves, diving and courses, please send her a message. Despite her busy schedule she does her best to personally respond in a timely manner. 

Where are you located?

Freeporth, Grand Bahama Island, The Bahamas

I am landing in Nassau; can I come diving with you?

You would need to take an additional flight. Nassau is in New Providence, i am in Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island.

How do I travel from Nassau to Freeport?

The most convenient media is by plane. There is no ferry boat between the two islands.

Which airport should I book my flight into?

Freeport, the airport code is FPO

Which is your favorite airline to book my trip with?

I do not have a favorite one as I constantly change provider depending on the final destination, any of the ones coming on your search engines will work fine.

 

Can I take a boat to Freeport?

There is the Baleria fast ferry from Miami. I have never used it, but you can contact them directly for additional information. 

Which one is the best season?

Being in the Northen emisphere we are subject to the same season cycles. Although every time of the year is a good time to come and dive, there are some periods where the air temperature may not be ideal for beach life. Check out the average temperature charts for each month to decide.

Is there a season for shark diving?

No you can dive with Caribbean Reef Sharks any time of the year. If you are trying to plan a trip with different species of sharks, I recommend you check on the season of the other species and combine your trip based on that decision. My sharks will always be here to wait for you. 

Do you organize Tiger Beach trips?

No I don't. I recommend you contact Epic Diving http://www.epicdiving.com/

Where do you recommend I stay?

There are two hotels walking distance from everywhere you need to be during your stay, including the dive operation, the beach, the restaurants and bars. 

Pelican Bay Hotel http://www.pelicanbayhotel.com/

Grand Lucayan Hotel http://www.grandlucayan.com/

For B&B my favorite is SeaGrape House, ten minutes walk from Port Lucaya and all amenities. http://www.seagrapehouse.com/

Do I need to be certified?

Yes, all activities are for certified divers, unless you are planning to complete your Open Water Course. 

 

Which level of certification do I need to complete the shark dive?

Open Water level is sufficient. It is not about the level of certification, it's about the comfort level you have in the water. You need to make sure you are comfortable with flooded mask, with removal and replacement of the regulator and mostly with your buoyancy.

How many students do you teach in one course?

The Shark Awareness is taught to a maximum of 8 divers in a group.

The Shark Handling Experience and the Shark Handling Course are taught one on one. If you have an additional diver you would like to share the experience with let me know for a custom made package, to a maximum of two divers per course.

 

Can I take the course and my travel companion/husband/wife/dive buddy to watch me during the training dives?

As a rule you can share the first observation dive with your buddy; however, during the training dive, observers are not allowed. 

How old do I need to be to complete the Shark Dive and Shark Awareness Course?

A certified diver minum age 12 years old.

How old do I need to be to complete the Shark handling experience and the shark handling course?

A certified diver minum age 18 year old.

How many students do you teach in one shark course?

The Shark Dive has a maximum of 16 divers on it.

The Shark Awareness Course has a maximum of 4 students on it.

The Shark Handling Experience and the Shark Handling Course are taught one on one. If you hve additional diver you would like to share the course with let me know for a custom made package, to a max of two divers. No groups for these two courses.

 

Do you guide groups?

In general I do not guide groups on recreational dives. There is a fantastic team taking care of you on those trips. If available I will join some of the dives, depending on the schedule.

How do I dive with you?

You can book any of the courses listed and the shark dive with me; for all other dives I will connect you with the dive operator to book directly with. PLEASE NOTE: I do not guide groups or individuals on regular recreational dives. 

Which gear should I travel with?

Depending on the course.

For sharks: you will use your own only for the observation dive, if you have it and care to carry it with you and any other dives outside of the training ones. I do always recommend your own wetsuit, your mask and open heel fins. We provide BCD, regulators, gloves, booties and hood to wear with the chainmail.

For cave and technical courses: while I have some spare gear, you are required to start and complete your courses with all your personal gear. Familiarity with gear at these levels is fundemental and rental gear won't be able to cover the needs for your classes. Please email me for a detailed list of gear required and personal suggestions.

Which thickness wetsuit do you suggest for diving?

Provided that all shark diving activities require you wear a full length wetsuit, being cold is a very personal experience. Please check the average water temperature for the period you are visiting, or ask me directly about it, to decide which thickness suit is best for you. Full 3mm and 5mm suits are available for rental.

Do you provide packages?

Only for regualar dives. I will connect you with the operator's reservation for diving packages and hotel deals; the specialty courses and specialty dives are not subject to discount.

Which dates are available for the shark courses?

Dates are decided on request. Please check with me on availability. 

How far in advance should I book my courses and activities?

For all specialty courses and training it is recommended a 6-8 months advance reservation for some of the specialty courses as they book fast.

Exception is the IDC, which is scheduled at fixed dates in advance. 

Can I use my own camera and GoPro while taking the shark handling course or experience?

Due to the nature of the course and environment we will provide you with your video, but I do not allow students to wear any kind of camera equipment. It has proved distracting to say the least. You will be able to use your camera on your observation dive, but not on the training dives.

What should I expect from the shark handling course?

What should you expect in general? Well you can expect to be in the middle of a school of sharks, you can expect to either love it or hate it, or you can expect to enjoy it a little and end up loving it the most, you can expect to feel at home or to feel uncomfortable, you can expect to feel that this is the right place for you or not, that you want to feed or not, that you want to touch or not. it is a personal experience and you can expect to be extremely happy at the end of the day or simply satisfied. My suggestion is to come without expectations and with an open mind, ready to simply enjoy an experience that will remain yours for the rest of your life. 

What results should we expect? Well, that is all depended on you. I will, with all my 20 years experience teaching over 300 students and over 50 professionals this kind of course, give you information, suggestions, tricks and tools to understand and work with the sharks in the best of ways. I will brief, debrief, explain, counsel and correct before, during and after the dive. I will assess and manage your inner feelings, motivations, blocks and fears (if any) and try to transform them in learning and positive energy, in a wonderful experience, in a growing and connecting moment. What should I expect from you? Your willingness to let go and listen, absorb what I say, trust my judgment, suggestions and sometime accept the No that I may say to you.

The shark handling course in a way is about you, and in a way it's about the sharks. They will not sit in the classroom with us, nor on the boat while I talk to you, they will be down there being sharks. If you are willing to learn about them and let go of your barriers and you are not worrying about being the one who gets it, but simply being the one enjoying their presences, personalities and capabilities, then you are ready to take this course.

One last thing: be honest to yourself, no need to share with me, but be sure to be comfortable with your mask off your face, your regulator out of your mouth, salt water in your eyes and to have good control of your basic buoyancy. I will not test, but the sharks can make some situations uncomfortable if you are not at total ease in the water with small gear issues. 

I would like to only pet not feed, is that possible?

During the course you will quickly realize that all actions are connected and that the feeding and reaching out with your hands is fundemental part of being able to also reach out and welcome a shark in your lap.

Sharks behavior is not guaranteed, so I can not guarantee you will be able to relax, pet or kiss the animals, like I can not guarantee the same results when I work with them. I have a 100% successful results when it comes to personally shark handling, however each student and reaction is different. I will be there to make the encounters possible and the interaction safe, but results vary.

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