An award-winning underwater photographer, Rafael captures the beauty of our aquatic playground
"Under the sea everything is unexplored and anything can happen. For me this is the most exciting thing about diving. We know so little about the ocean that every dive is usually surprising and from time to time the ocean can give you unbelievable and unexpected moments."
When and why did you start diving?
Since I was a child I have been lucky enough to be in contact with both underwater photography and scuba diving, accompanying my father (underwater photographer as well) to incredible places all over the world.
When I was 7 years old I started to dive and as soon as I received my Open Water certificate I have not stopped diving since. When I was 16 years old I took my first camera underwater and that changed my way of seeing the marine world.
What is your spirit fish and why?
I would say that my spirit fish is the blue shark and it is in fact my personal logo. Blue sharks are amazing fish. They are one of the most curious sharks in the sea and every encounter with them is usually thrilling. Its body shape and blue color makes it one of the most beautiful and smart predators.
What do you enjoy most about diving?
Looking for amazing stories that are still unknown or that are so wonderful that you just want to capture them and share them.
What really inspires me is the search for those special moments, animals, or places where I believe that can show something crazy or beautiful. Experiencing those moments with my camera, surrounded by all the amazing sensations that you feel when you dive is truly awesome.
Most memorable dive experience?
Luckily, I have a few unforgettable diving experiences. In a funny way, after a whole life diving and less time freediving, my craziest moments have been freediving.
The most memorable moment I have was freediving with 15 male humpback whales trying to mate with a female.
When I saw them coming, I decided to take a big breath and I went down to perhaps 20m. I was alone waiting there when I saw all the whales passing by very close. I have never felt so tiny compared to all of those huge animals, in the middle of the ocean, alone, at that depth, holding my breath, and listening the whales growling... it is difficult to describe.
How do you approach non-divers to get them excited about learning to dive?
There are many ways. In my case, it is easy because through my images, I can show all my personal experiences in a way that people can believe and see with their own eyes.
Favorite piece of Aqualung equipment?
All the Aqualung equipment is amazing. I have been lucky enough to have been diving with Aqualung since I was a child and I have never had a problem.
My favorite piece would be the Aqualung regulators. Their quality is amazing and it makes sense taking into account they have over 75 years of experience making them.