Ocean Ambassador

Lalo Saidy

Dive instructor, underwater photographer and shark conservationist, Lalo is working to improve people's perception of Great White sharks.

 

"As a dive instructor on a shark diving boat I get to meet people from all over the world...I enjoy being the person to help them discover a whole new underwater world"
 
When and why did you start diving?

 

I started diving in 2004 and I did my course because I was joining an underwater videography company to film Great White sharks in South Africa. I did all my courses in a quarry and my first ocean dive in Shark Alley off of Gansbaai, South Africa. I have been addicted to diving ever since and am now a NAUI Dive Instructor.

 

What is your spirit fish (or mammal/reptile) and why?

 

I have always been attracted to the sea and my spirit fish would definitely have to be the Great White. I have been fascinated by them ever since I saw Jaws as a kid and seeing one in the wild had always been on my bucket list of things to do. Now I am fortunate enough to have worked with them for over 14 years and in 2 different locations- South Africa and Guadalupe Island and getting to change people’s perceptions about them via photography and film.

 

How do you approach non-divers to get them excited about learning to dive?

 

Every time you roll off the boat you enter a new world where each dive is different, amazing, colorful, quiet and calm. Sometimes, it’s the silence, the peace and the quiet under the waves. But of course, mostly because of sharks. When I see them underwater I always have a new appreciation for these incredible fish. Once you start diving you are hooked to it and after every dive you have a new reason to love it even more because you never know what you will see down there and how it will change every dive story. And part of that story is getting to travel to new dive locations , meeting and making new dive friends around the world.

 

Favorite piece of Aqua Lung equipment?

 

I love my Aqua lung wetsuits. I have a 3ml that I use for warm water diving and a 7ml that I use for colder water and keeps me nice and warm for the longer dives at Guadalupe Island.

 

But most importantly, Aqua Lung believes in environmental responsibility and is active in eco conservation projects to do their part in encouraging the protection of our sea environment.

What steps are you taking to improve the health of our oceans? Any advice for others who want to help?

 

Although I am not a marine biologist I have spent the past 14 years working with, filming and taking photos of Great White, Blue and Short Fin Mako sharks and dealing with shark conservation issues. I started a company called This Is My Shark Life and I am a booking agent and guide on sharks tours that focuses on only supporting companies that focus on positive eco-tourism, manage their environmental footprint, provide educational experiences and most importantly portray sharks in a positive manner. I am also a media contributor to Sharks 4 Kids and the focus there is to go into classrooms and educate the next generation about the importance of sharks and ocean conservation.

 

My advice to others that are passionate about ocean conservation is to participate and learn how we can do more to protect our oceans and what lives in them. If you are ever in a place that involves doing something you are passionate about, don’t be afraid to ask questions and make yourself known, volunteer if the occasion arises and pursue other opportunities in that field. The world we live in today is all about networking so you never know where your passion might lead you.

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