In our new blog series, Making Waves, we talk to a different Deakin and Blue customer once a fortnight to find out about their adventures in their swimsuits.
In our last post, we talked to long-distance outdoor swimmer Liz. This week we caught up with Francesca - a keen diver, surfer and paddleboarder who is based in Mozambique. Francesca is also the founder of marine conversation organisation Love The Oceans - an organisation on a mission to help clean up the beaches and oceans to help protect our marine life. Here's what she had to say about her adventures in her swimsuit...
1. How did you first get into diving?
When I was 13 my family went on holiday and my parents said we should all try scuba diving. 'It's a once in a lifetime experience!' they said. Little did they know... I fell in love with the underwater world immediately, spent my holiday studying for my scuba exams and passed with flying colours. And the rest, as they say, is history...
2. What is it about diving, swimming and being in the water that you most enjoy?
Diving is my meditation, my time away from 'reality'. It clears your head and you develop an appreciation for all the incredible animals around you. I surface from a dive with just the most amazing feeling. It's the same after going for a surf - I'm work addicted and you can't work while you're in the water so it's a really great way for me to step away for a while and get my head in the right space.
3. How do you prepare for a dive?
Ha, well these days, quickly. I dive a lot and very often and I'm usually running late! I always check my own kit as a safety precaution, I do underwater photography as well so I bubble check that kit then load it on the truck, have the dive briefing, check in with any clients and off we go!
4. Where is the best or most memorable place you have swum or dived?
Well, I've got to say my home: Guinjata Bay, Mozambique. We've got some incredible seasonal humpback whales that come through that just make your ocean adventures pretty inspiring. You get dolphins in the surf, whales on your dive and whale sharks when you're paddle boarding - what's not to love?! The cenotes in Mexico were pretty spectacular too, and a completely different habitat since it's freshwater so that was an incredible experience. Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea and Stradbroke Island in Australia was also amazing with lots of sharks and mantas....there are too many incredible places around the world to name them all in a couple of sentences!
5. What have you learned from diving?
Scuba diving gives you a real appreciation for the marine world, how fragile it is, and how absolutely vital it is to human survival. The animals in it are so different to land animals and they're often so inquisitive it's a real treat to be in their presence! Diving has helped fuel my passion and obsession for marine conservation and is a massive part of what we do as my marine conservation NGO, Love The Oceans, in Mozambique.
6. What advice would you have for someone looking to get into diving, perhaps someone who has never done it before?
Make sure you research the dive centre you're going with and they're up to par. Our partners, Jay's Pro Dive Centre in Mozambique, are a PADI 5* and Green* centre which means their service is excellent but they have really great environmental and ethical policies too. It's important that when you dive, you're going to observe the marine environment and absolutely minimise any negative affect you could have on it. Take only memories, leave only bubbles.
7. And finally, what is the feeling you get after a dive?
Complete satisfaction with a side of ecstasy is the closest I can come to describing it. My mental state is refreshed and I feel like I can take on the world after a dive... and breakfast!
We absolutely loved chatting to Francesca.
Find out more about the incredible work she and her team do at Love The Oceans.