About Cristina

“The deep blue lures the adventurer, lover of nature, to know and follow its tunes…” Shahnaz Sayeed


Cristina grew up in the rain forest of the African Congo and developed a passion for the outdoors. Coming from a family “of the sea” Cristina has always been drawn to the water from a very young age and journeyed to the Bahamas to learn to dive over twenty-five years ago. She immediately made The Bahamas her home and diving her life.

Through the years Cristina’s credentials have grown parallel with her passions. She is a PADI Course Director, NSS-CDS Advance Cave diving instructor, TDI Extended Range Instructor and specializes in shark behavior, shark diving procedures, and set up.

An active cave explorer she has currently extended different cave systems by a total of over ten miles, has connected and mapped systems before thought completed and she is the first diver to have connected a fresh water inland cave with a salt water ocean system known as Blue Hole.

Cristina speaks five language, Italian, English, German, French and Spanish. Some say she speaks a sixth one “Shark”. 


Cristina works in the wild with sharks. She has met and worked with different scientists, behaviorists and handlers in the Bahamas, South Africa, Fiji, Rhode Island, California, Florida, North Carolina, China and Mexico. 

While she has worked with over a dozen different species in these different locations, her primary work is with Caribbean Reef sharks in her home in The Bahamas. 

Cristina is one of the first in the world to have been able to induce a state of relaxation through gentle touch. To the observer this looks like the shark is falling asleep in her lap. 

This method has hallowed to work and study sharks up close and personal, without any stress for the animal. As a matter of act sharks know her and her touch and seem to seek the connection and contact.  Witnessing this interaction, directly while diving with Cristina or remotely by watching her numerous contributions to television documentaries and reading about her work in magazines, has created a change in perception from the general public. It has helped dissolve misconceptions and preconceptions about sharks.  Cristina and her sharks have become ambassadors for many other species and animals in the world. Cristina was the initiator of the movement that resulted in the full protection of sharks in the entire Bahamas.

Through her work she helps her sharks by removing hooks from their mouths and parasites. She helps scientists collect data to support research and has developed a Caribbean Reef Shark Diver Distinctive Specialty. 


Cristina is still a very active and passionate diver and educator while dividing her attention between expeditions, managing a full operation, working on cave exploration and mapping, 

An active and prolific speaker she is an inducted member of the Women Divers Hall of Fame, The Explorers Club, The Ocean Artists Society and a recipient of the Platinum Pro 5000.

Cristina is the founder of People of the Water, a 501c3 non-profit organization (insert here what it is). She still actively supports other non-profit organizations such as The Bahamas National Trust, the Women Divers Hall of Fame scholarships and training programs, the American Shark Conservancy and she is a dedicated individual to the education of local students in the Bahamas. 

A sense of who Cristina Zenato is can only truly be felt underwater. There she is more at home than she is on land and an apt quote by Jacque Cousteau says it all:

“From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to the Earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free”.

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