Some fates of people invested in the world of diving are the result of an unwavering determination, others of a chance or a combination of circumstances. But all of them have this constancy of a passion that animates and tends the person to follow his goals wherever they will lead him.
This is probably the case of Nathalie Lasselin.
Nathalie is one of those people whose destiny inspires and fascinates me and it is a great pleasure for me to put her in the spotlight.
Did you say Nathalie Lasselin?
An explorer, lecturer, dive instructor, Photo director, Nathalie Lasselin is passionate and develops many projects.
Native from the north of France, she has always been fascinated by what could be beyond the immediate horizon, at the border of the forest, at the end of a barn, in a bunker … What is not seen immediately tickle her curiosity and encourages her to go see, to move forward.
Nathalie started studies to become a Movie director in Paris before continuing in Montreal where she immigrated and where, upon graduation, she had the opportunity to live her first professional experiences at the National Film Board of Canada.
The beginnings of underwater movies
It is in Canada that Nathalie will learn scuba diving and 6 months after the beginning of her open water courses, she will go directly to the technical diving courses.
If at the beginning, the diving activity immediately fascinated Nathalie just by the feeling of being under water, very quickly, she realized that everything in this universe fascinated her: a wreck, a fish … At the same time, she works on her buoyancy before taking an underwater camera and begining the production of underwater documentary movies.
My life changed dramatically in a few months. I had the impression that I had things to film, to tell. I produced and directed 6 movies that have won numerous awards at festivals and have been distributed in 25 countries.
This is the beginning of a very beautiful adventure that continues today.
My career has become a mixture that can be summed up in a few words: explore, document and share to protect.
Nathalie uses her various strengths and skills and her career impresses: director – underwater operator, Nathalie also participates in various TV shows as an explorer – as a Tech specialist in front of the camera. She produces and directs documentary movies and participates in many conferences and has been writing in various dive magazines for 15 years.
While the idea of becoming a diving instructor was not on the program, Nathalie responds to the requests made to her and today teaches cave diving, rebreather and trimix diving in addition to underwater photography and video.
Finally, she does not know if she has a professional diving activity or if diving is the way to do her activity and see and film things “beyond the immediate horizon” as she always liked to see them . No matter, she lets herself be carried away by her desires, opportunities and all her many projects.
A life at the pace of the projects
When I ask Nathalie about her activity in the world of diving, she tells me that her professional life is divided between underwater shooting, as well for fiction movies as commercials or for the production of her own documentaries and smaller projects like articles for magazines. To this, it must be added the conferences in Europe (especially at the Paris Dive show) and in America.
A life of passion
Like many enthusiasts, Nathalie works 7 days out of 7 and continues her involvement in her multiple projects.
Although she lives her life as a full-time passion, Nathalie knows how to pick up and talk about subjects other than movies and dives. In order to find her balance, she also devotes herself from time to time to different activities, goes for a motorcycle ride, is inspired by the realities and everyday life of the people she loves and meets, …
A life without certainty of tomorrow
In 1995, Nathalie created the Pixnat foundations, a service house specialized in underwater movies. By choosing a life of independent, Nathalie does not always know how will be her next day.
What will happen to me? What will happen or not?
The possibilities in this sector seem to her infinite. She greatly appreciates the lack of routine and the continual surprises of the trajectory she has chosen.
Sometimes, incredible offers are presented without having seen them coming.
A life … without disadvantages?
Passionate about her job, Nathalie has trouble finding negative points in her business. However, she still notes that the amount of equipment to bring all the time is a burden not always obvious to bear. And when she can travel light, she appreciates that better
A changing professional life
In this sector of activity, the equipment evolves quickly. The current shooting and diving equipment offers new possibilities to push the technical limits away … and its own limits. Nathalie likes to try to unravel mysteries and take up challenges whose preparation is sometimes as interesting as the dive itself.
Some dives more technical and deep as more than 100m in a cave are technical, logistical and psychological challenges that I like a lot.
However, today, what drives Nathalie is to find the ways to raise awareness about the importance of protecting water in general and freshwater in particular.
It is by pursuing this objective that she started in 2107 a 21.1 km dive into the St Lawrence River near the city of Montreal.
This project called “Urban Water Odyssey” is an extreme expedition project just minutes away from the heart of a big city.
“We often talk about climate change, I saw the state of the pack ice and the ice changed in the Arctic, but what about our own environment, in our own garden? “
Through the Aquatic Urban Odyssey, Nathalie wanted to visually observe the state of the river. Despite the low visibility and the currents, this part of the river is home to a great biodiversity made up of a hundred fish, many species of birds, herons,
The river is also the city’s drinking water reservoir, which takes 80% of its drinking water directly from the river before returning its wastewater after treatment. Hence the crucial importance of taking care of it.
“We live in an incredible time and rich possibilities where it is up to us to develop a balance between our modern comfort and that of the surrounding nature” says Nathalie
A life of a diver and of a women
In 2015, Nathalie, who has been sensitive for a long time to gender issues in the world of diving, initiated the “Femmes à la mer” project, whose objectives include promoting women’s diving and raising awareness of gender concerns. If the first edition will bring together 129 women passionate about scuba diving, a second edition will mobilize 150 establishing a world record. So many people under the water at the same place and at the same time representing a great organizational challenge to guarantee a safe and enjoyable diving experience for all. Challenge successfully completed in 2016.
We told you that diving was also a sport for women 😉
A life filled with dives
The professional activity of Nathalie Lasselin gives her the chance to discover many diving spots around the world.
If she loves the feeling of diving in the Arctic, it is also the smiling face of the divers that she takes to dive for the first time in the Arctic that she appreciates.
“Despite the cold and sometimes hard physical work, I love to go back to live on the pack ice. It’s one of the last places where you feel on a planet without the control of the human “
(Incidentally, the author of this post, myself, reports that this is part of her dreams … one day maybe 😁)
In addition to the pack ice and icy Arctic dives and those in Alaska where she enjoys sharing dives with Steller sea lions, Nathalie enjoys diving with white sharks in Isla Guadalupe, in caves in general or on mythical shipwrecks like “the City of Quebec” or “Gunilda wreck” in Ontario elected the most beautiful wreck of the world by the Cousteau team.
But if I ask her about her dream of diving, the answer is without appeal:
The Mariana Trench
A life dotted with surprises
To live a life of passionate going to dive spots all around the world is obviously source of unexpected events and surprises sometimes confusing.
Nathalie tells me in particular the one that happened during a shooting for “Chasseurs d’Epave”:
“During the shooting of “Chasseurs d’Epaves”, I had to plan a dive and film a wreck where no one had dived before. It is located in a place where the topography is very particular with violent currents. We had a dive window of just 20 minutes, knowing that we had decompression to do on top of that.
It was the most unpredictable dive of my life.
We tried twice to descend but the currents were so strong that we could not go down the rope. At one point, we were still only 7m deep trying to get to the wreck when suddenly we found ourselves at 20m deep within seconds. While we were in green water and still bright, we ended up in black water.
The first diver decides to abort the dive.
We move along the rope to go to the surface but we quickly realize that the rope is now perfectly horizontal.
At the moment, the brain is having a hard time understanding !
By pulling back even more on the rope, we arrive at the 3rd buoy which was normally on the surface, but we are still 20m deep ??
We continue to go back and pass the 2nd buoy to get to the 1st.
It was incomprehensible and almost illogical: how suddenly our 3 buoys were immersed at 20m?
At this point we decide to let go of the rope and just drift up. The tracking boat picking us up anyway whatever happens.
A few months later, while reading the paper, I came across a scientific article about the discovery of underwater wave in this region. By contacting the scientist, we were able to verify the hypotheses and realize that this is what we had experienced.
Finally, we managed to dive and film the wreck of the “Havorn”. But what remains memorable is most certainly to have lived a little known natural phenomenon and to have been able to collaborate with a scientist. ”
A life oriented towards the future
Nathalie Lasselin continues projects (television series, Arctic expeditions, …) but her big project for 2018 is the Urban Water Odyssey
With the 2018 Urban Water Odyssey, Nathalie will do an even longer dive and combine scientific research on water and sediments.
A life of hope
Around the world, she encourages dive enthusiasts to discover themselves through this exciting activity.
The great hope of Nathalie Lasselin is to see divers become more and more aware of their impact on the marine environment (especially on busy sites) but also more and more sensitive to the importance of becoming aware of the fragility of this aquatic world and to promote it.
Initially, nothing predestined Nathalie Lasselin to become the submarine reporting expert she is today. It is probably her curiosity for life in general, her love of the dive environment in particular, and a lot of energy, time and passion, that has allowed her to follow her dreams.
The meeting of people like Nathalie is inspiring and carries a message: yes we can develop our projects and realize our dreams … and I love that.
What is your dream?
Above all, … do not forget to be happy 🤗