Ladies and gents, welcome to the Scuba GOAT podcast. Last year at the OzTek dive show in Melbourne, I had the pleasure of meeting Nathalie Lasselin. Our introduction was brief, but it was enough to pique my interest in her inspiring story and make me realize that she needed to be featured on the show. In this episode, join me as I chat with Nath and uncover her motivations for venturing into the uncharted waters of the Arctic, spending over 30 hours submerged over two consecutive dives, and searching for evidence of the First Nations' presence in Quebec hydro-electric reservoir, Canada, and that's just for starters!
Get ready to dive deep into the world of underwater exploration and documentary film-making in the next exciting episode featuring Nathalie Lasselin.
Nathalie is an award-winning film-maker, dive expedition leader, cave and wreck explorer, and instructor with a passion for documenting our planet and raising awareness for our freshwater resources. As a keynote speaker and on-camera talent for TV shows, she shares her love for discovery and empowering people to have a better relationship with their environment. With numerous critically acclaimed films and awards, Nathalie's work has been released in over 25 countries and featured on networks like Discovery and Nat Geo.
Formally trained as a director of photography, Nathalie casts an inquisitive eye on our blue planet and with Pixnat Productions she documents the captivating exploration of our earth. Her films have been critically acclaimed and have received numerous awards at international festivals as well as being released in over 25 countries. Nathalie regularly organizes small group diving expeditions for surveying, filming, 360 degree photography and other missions through her non-profit organization Aqua Sub Terra Exploration (ASTEX)
Women Diver Hall of Fame inductee
Royal Canadian Geographical Society fellow
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Matt Waters, Nathalie Lasselin
Matt Waters 00:06
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Scuba goat Podcast where we explore the fascinating world of Scuba diving and ocean exploration. Today we have a very special guest with us, Natalie. Natalie is an award winning filmmaker, dive expedition leader CCR cave and rec explorer and instructor. She's also an international keynote speaker, writer and on camera talent and technical dive specialist for TV shows. It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome Natalie last led to the Scuba go podcast. Good morning, Natalie. How are you?
Nathalie Lasselin 00:38
Good evening. Yeah, we're just on the other side of the world. But you're in summer we're in winter, but you know, it's all good. Yeah,
Matt Waters 00:50
I am literally sat here with three fans on the go. Just trying to stay cool. It was 38 degrees yesterday scorcher.
Nathalie Lasselin 00:57
Oh, for you, was just minus five or six today. I spent the day in the ice cave filming. And it was refreshing. But yeah, at some point, it will be summer again. You know, just enjoy the weather, whatever it is.
Matt Waters 01:15
Now, we've got to explain that you are in Canada, I am in Australia, hence the slight temperature difference. And I believe you are Canadian born is that right?
Nathalie Lasselin 01:25
Not at all. From friends. You are Yeah.
Matt Waters 01:30
French lady. Yeah.
Nathalie Lasselin 01:31
I'm a true French lady. And I emigrate from France to Canada, when I was a teenager, to do my university degree. And I got stuck in Montreal. So now I believe I'm both French and Canadian and French Canadian. So that's a lot of identities, but embrace them all.
Matt Waters 01:56
Fantastic, fantastic. Now, for those people that don't know you, I mean, that was a quite lengthy intro, but it's a small snippet into your life as a diver and explorer and filmmaker and all round, amazing individual. So we need to expand on that a little bit. So why don't we go right back to the beginning, and find that where you first started to dawn, a mask and regulator.
Nathalie Lasselin 02:24
Oh my god, you know, what is funny is that I started to be a filmmaker. First. I used to work for the National Film Board of Canada for documentaries. And I always wanted to do some Scuba diving. But at that time, I didn't have quite the budget to do it when I was a young adult. So it could it took me a couple of years. And the reason why I got into Scuba diving, it's kind of funny is because I hate cold. Yeah, it's in my camera. And they said, You know what, I want to Scuba dive because I want I want to do some ice diving. So that's why I started basically. And funny enough, for me, what was really interesting in Scuba diving, was to be able to go further down the line have a reason to see something. You know, for example, going underground is the same thing. You can't see until you go there. So that's what was appealing to me. It was really like, Okay, I need to be a Scuba diver, as I need to know that means of transportation in order to see what is going on down there. So that's how I started and I'm kind of still kind of a young diver I do for a little bit more than two decades. But that's it. It's not that much, you know, compared to many people of my age, which I will not Well, of course. It's easy to all, but no. And when I started Scuba diving, it's funny because within a couple of months, I became a technical diver. Just really I was other Yeah, I was at a query and you know, nothing really passionate or interesting to see there. But I saw the bottom of the quarry, which I couldn't see it was pitch black. And I say you know what, I want to go there. But I don't want to kill myself. Back then there was a lot of people who died doing technical diving or advanced diving, and I was like, I don't want to be one of those numbers.
Matt Waters 04:37
I didn't want to be the statistic,
Nathalie Lasselin 04:39
ya know? And I said, Okay, well, how does that work? And there weren't many women. And that day I saw a guy with two tanks on his back and I I went to talk to him and I asked him, Why do you have to like one is not enough and the Explain to me what was technical diving in that day. I was like, Okay, it's what I'm going to do. And on that day, I believe I had something like seven dives. That's it. And I met an instructor. And within a couple of months, I started in the training and training and training and diving and diving. And within a couple of months, that changed completely my life. I didn't see it coming. It wasn't written in my book. It wasn't something like, I want to be an underwater filmmaker in my life. It wasn't written that way. Not at all. But it just something that deep inside I had to do. And when when you maybe a couple of years after I became a cave diver, and I was driving, because I went to Florida with which is like, 21, I was driving from home, and I was driving with my instructor. And you know, what is funny? At that moment, I was like, Oh, I understand why I'm doing cave diving. Because when I was a little girl, I wanted to be a geologist. But once again, back then, you know, it's not it's not a job, you know, it's not a career and not for a woman. So it was like, Ah, you're going to do something else with your life, but you're not going to be a geologist, you know, or it's fair Lankan, you know, it's too dangerous. So it's always something that I put in the back of my mind, and I completely forgot for years, until that day, when we were driving sales, and was like, You know what, it's funny, because don't even try to not listen to the person you already because at some point in your life, it's just come back, like a slap in your face. It's like, Haha, you are supposed to be that person. So just embrace it and, and do it, whatever it means.
Matt Waters 06:55
Wow. That's a very fortunate time in your life, then to just have that realisation so early on.
Nathalie Lasselin 07:05
Yeah, and, you know, it just it. It wasn't still, you know, and, and even still, now, it's, Is it really your career to spend your time diving and filming? Is it worth it? Is it you know, it's not something that you say, Well, I'm gonna be able to see all this step, you know, and you see, this is how it's gonna go, you never know, every single day's a surprise. And it may work really well for a couple of times, months, years. And we may have amazing projects, sometimes everything may collapse, like during pandemia. But you have to go back on your feet and, and find something else. Because there's always something more interesting or newer, or something that nobody knows about. And you're like, Hmm, I'm going to try to figure out what it is about. So it's, it's at the end of the day, just, I think I was someone who was always curious. And I'm still that child who is curious and want to know, want to experience wants to see to feel, even if sometimes, it's it can be really, really hard on your body on on the fatigue and all that. But for me, this is the definition of life. It's to live it to feel it. So whatever it's going to be, I'm just going to go and try to figure out how to save to fill it to live it, and most importantly, how to share it. Because if you don't share it, it's just like, Ah, did it. So what,
Matt Waters 08:49
take off the box and move on to the next one. No one else knows I. Yeah,
Nathalie Lasselin 08:53
yeah. But to share it to just to, not to tell the people I look what I did, you know, but to see like that place that we thought that was kind of boring, and not that interesting, there is something in it. And this is what I saw where I discovered what I could document and it might be of interest for some more many people. So and from that, some people might say, You know what, maybe I will do a career about that. Maybe I can bring me something more interesting on in my life. Or maybe I can overcome some fear of something in my life that I want to achieve. So I think in the in the sharing for me, it's really how we can share in an humble way. Because we might impact people we might inspire people, and that's the best salary you can have in life. You know, when you did something with passion and you have that impact on someone that you don't even know you didn't even know. And that person contacted you and said, You know what I saw your lectures or you I read your book. And because of that, this is what I could achieve. And this is one of the best gift that I appreciate in life.
Matt Waters 10:17
Yeah, yeah, I can, I can relate enormously to that. It's fantastic. So when you're on your way down to Florida and going doing the cave diving, at what point did you decide right? Now I've got these new skills, and coupling that with my skills with a camera, actually combine the two, when did that start?
Nathalie Lasselin 10:39
The minute I put my head on the water, I knew that I wanted to film it to be able to show the images to all the people who will never be able for so many reason to do the same to see that on the war. And but I was like, Ah, I'm better be a good diver. Good boy and see, and the minute I feel that I can trust myself, then I will take a camera. So I believe it took me maybe six months, maybe a year before I dare to take a camera down there. And when I but when I did my, my cave diving training, I already took a camera down there. So I went there. And I was like, I want to document why people want to be a cave diver. How come you love it? Or you hate it? But how come it's so strong? What is the meaning of that environment that is so different from one person to the other one. And then I started to do my own projects. And because I was already in the film industry, I started to film for a commercial feature films documentary on the water. So slowly, you know, step by step. And at that time, we did an AV video which was filmed so you know, it was less accessible, affordable, and there weren't any GoPro back then. So you couldn't go and okay, I'm gonna buy myself a camera. So I did to one of the big company in the US in California in Hollywood, to see the the housings and how it was working and how the business was and how I could one day you know, achieve to to do something in that specialisation of underwater filmmaker.
Matt Waters 12:41
And what I was trying to get the chronology of all of the stuff that you've done, but what what was the very first one production that you put out there.
Nathalie Lasselin 12:51
Um, I did some short films, but the first one that was really meaningful, was facing darkness, which was the documentary in which I interviewed Jim Bowden. I don't know if you remember him. He was the one was diving in zakat done in 94. At the same time, then check is x day. At that time, he brought the debt free cord in in a cave. And unfortunately, Chick actually died that day. And I did several interviews of the first generation of cave divers, in Florida. You know, and, and that film, I mean, I sold them on DVDs in 25 countries everywhere. And it was really a documentary, you know, just to demystify, what is it about, you know, why? Why people they pick or portray themselves as a cave diver, you know, it's something interesting in the, in the industry, in a diving industry, and in the divers, you know, because you define yourself as a diver Oh, yeah, I am a diver. You know, it's you. Some people may say, you know, I am a judoka, or I am, but when you are a diver, for many people, it's something you feel they are proud of. Yes. And when you're a technical diver, you know, it's like, Aha, I'm there. And then I'm an instructor. There is something really interesting about that community, you know, and the bound between people and the level they're at, of how proud they are of what they achieve, of what they dare to do. And I think there's a lot to do with achieving, because we're not supposed to be underwater. I mean, we're not fishing. We don't really, it's good. It would be really nice to be able to go down there without a tank or rebreather, but it's not. We're not made to last a long time on the water. So, I think a lot of people, they are really, really proud. And there's that feeling of belonging to a community. And because because it's, it can be a long path, to be a good diver could to be a confident diver, a comfortable diver, an experienced diver, it's you don't do it overnight. So I believe it might be one of the reason why people are so close to their community. And they are so proud of being one of us, or one of them, whatever. No,
Matt Waters 15:42
yeah, yeah. It's something that comes up on the podcast a few times about it. You know, it's been one of our questions later on, as well. You know, how do you describe describe the Scuba diving community to someone who's a non diver. And it's, it is that, that that beauty of the sport, I mean, like all sports, there's a there's a commonality if you're a football player, you love football, if you're a rugby, play, love rugby, tennis, blah, blah, blah. But with Scuba diving, there's that there's that inequality that is made equal by Scuba diving, you know, you can be a barrister, you can be a Ben man, you can be unemployed, but you're a Scuba diver, no one really cares what you do in life. But that Scuba diving element that you've got, and the recognition of how far you've come and progressed in a non life sustaining environment is just, it's unrivalled. In any other kind of community, in my opinion.
Nathalie Lasselin 16:34
Yeah, maybe there's a little bit of that in, you know, like, I can live long I know, today's i or climbing. But the thing is that you can hike by yourself, you can climb, you're kind of by yourself. But diving. I mean, you can still sell a diving and I do a lot of Slowdive I love that. But to a certain extent, you can't, you need to have a team, because you rely also on that team. And if you want to go further, if you want to push your limits, there's a lot of things you're gonna learn why your diving, the, the amount of time you spend on the water, and you learn by mimicking the others by the command of the others by the experience of the others. And, and it's not something you can learn on an internet. You have to be down there and do it.
Matt Waters 17:44
It's a very hands on kinesthetic sport, isn't it? It's yeah, like you say. And, again, on the experience level, we learn from much more experienced people. But the amount of times I've picked up little snippets of good information or good forms in the water from lesser experienced divers as well. It's, it's very much an upward and downward kind of share in society. I like it.
Nathalie Lasselin 18:09
Yeah. And you know, I think that's I teach not full time. But I will not quit teaching. Because for me, every time I teach, it's someone who's going to ask me question that I that are questioning why I'm doing things that way, is it's still the most optimum way of doing things. And it's, for me, it's a way of not having bad habits. And you know, I just worked 10 years ago, it's gonna work like in 10 years. You know, at some point, you are in that comfort zone that you don't want to question yourself while I'm doing it, because I'm doing it. Because it fits me. Yeah, but what about if it doesn't fit you anymore? Because you're not maybe in the same shape, you're ageing, you're not doing the same die. It's not the same condition. So for me teaching is yes. Explaining, sharing, trying to improve the the students skills, but at the same time, always, I mean, I love when I have students and I'm like, Gee, they are so good. What I am going to be able to teach them and I love that because I've got some some of my students in the two last years and I'm like, Gee, I have to find something to find something, but it's like, have we all have something to improve? We'll all have weakness. And by finding that little crack, and think, okay, maybe the equipment is perfect, maybe the configuration is perfect, but maybe the mindset is not always perfect. And it's how to be as perfectionist and as good as you can to make everyone improve because when the others improve, you are improving as well. And this is something really, you know, at the end of the day when when you succeed that day, it's just perfect. It's, it's like a good day job.
Matt Waters 20:17
I want to pick up on a little comment that I had there as well about the mental state of of your students. Now I did notice that you are also into hypnosis. How did that come? Yeah.
Nathalie Lasselin 20:37
We are in 23. So that mean, five years ago, yeah, five years ago, I did a crazy project. I do for 44 Miles 70 kilometres from one end of Montreal to the other end in the centre once River, and I had to go underneath nine bridges, rapids, and I wanted to do that to share to raise awareness towards our source of tap water of drinking water. But in order to do that, it would take like 30 hours on the work. And I was like, okay, I can train, you know, find the best mate for the rebreather that adapt, but at some point, I'm gonna have to sleep, I'm gonna have to take by My energy, and how would you do I do that. And I talked to different different divers who did long long dives, and told me, We didn't find the best way of doing it. And then I thought of a guy named Beth Tom pica is a French guy and is the guy who had the solar plane, I don't know if you remember the, the two guys who did the first round trip around the world with a solar plane. And that guy is it's a non believable Explorer is of psychiatric, and is so acknowledges in ignorance, and II uses a trick to be able to put yourself in a state that you're gonna kind of not really sleep, but if of your brain and your body's asleep. And the other half is kinda in a state of awake of alertness. But by doing that, in 20 minutes, it could be the equivalent of four hours of sleeping. Now when, yeah, it's it can be really, really powerful. And I say it can be because some people you say, oh, you know, it noses, you're gonna make me do things I don't want it's like, it's not the way it can work for some stuff, you know, like for to make a show, but it's not the way it's working. If you want to achieve some stuff, if you want to overcome some fears, or if you want to overcome some pain, while I did that dive, I had a lot of pain because I was good scootering for so many hours, and I had a full face mask and all this stuff. And, and Dav equipment, and you're able with training, to take some pain of your body, and to move it somewhere else. So that part of your body's more relaxing, and you are able to choose to sustain the pain or to to endure it more easily. So there's so many things you can do with it. But once again, it's not a magic pill. It doesn't work with everybody in the sense that if you are not willing to let it go to live the moments of the hypnosis, if you don't want to participate in it, it's not going to work if you're like in our is not going to work on me. No, it's not. Of course, it's not. But if you're like, you know what, maybe I'm not at ease to let it go. But I'm going to try, maybe it's not going to work the first time, but the more you do it, and it's pretty amazing what you can achieve with that again, and for me, this is something you know, in diving and technical diving. It's something that I feel I felt that there was a lack, you know, because you can have all the amazing equipment top notch. Like the best, you know, like all the people I always make fun like, what is the best regulators? I don't know. It does not exist for me does not exist. There are good ones better ones. Not so good ones depending on what you're doing. But what is the best one? I don't know. I don't have I don't have a clue. And for me most of the time I say look at All the guys and the girls were doing explorations. Look at their configuration. It's amazing. It's amazing what they have on their back. Yeah, but what they have in their mind what they have in between the two ears, oh, this is something you cannot buy. That's the difference. Yeah, that's a difference. You can have a huge anti cat. And I met many divers who, you know, were disabled. And it's amazing. And always impressed by what they are doing, what they can do. And what Scuba diving can do for them as well. You know, and at the end of the day is not how strong you are. Maybe it helps, of course, but it's not how strong your DJ equipment you have. It's what you have in between you two ears. If it's a good day, your mindset, it's top notch. But the conditions are shitty, you're going to go through it. But if you have all the rest, but your mindset is not there. I don't know what's going to happen. If you're not ready to fight when it comes to that. You're not going to go through it. Yeah, yeah. So I think that's the huge difference. And I, I wish we had more conversation. And when I teach I talk a lot about that, you know, like the buddy system is like, Okay, do you know what your body feel? Is it you know, he didn't just argue with his wife or husband a minute ago, before a big dive, it's gonna make a huge difference. Did you argue before Dr. or the day before it, there's something you don't feel you're not confident with, you have to talk about those things, before you do a dive that is going to be a big die for you. Because if you don't go through that, the minute you down there and you have a huge problem, or you're going to fight for yourself and your buddy, or you're going to go just leave because you want to save yourself.
Matt Waters 27:07
So it's it's a very interesting conversation. And I had a conversation, I don't know whether I can, I'll have to check after the podcast, whether I can, whether I can leave this in the show or not. But I was talking with a colleague of mine that's here in Australia, and he's formulated a system which actually checks in with the dive professionals within the dive industry to make sure that they are mentally healthily, okay. It's something that just isn't in the industry whatsoever, and you think about the environment that we're in, and whether they can be recreational or professional, or if there's that constant pressure to be diving all the time, those outside influences can have one hell of an impact. And it does need some sort of system in place to look after our mental well being.
Nathalie Lasselin 27:59
Yeah. And I think, in a general way, in life, you know, we put a lot of emphasis on the tools we can purchase we can have, but the best tool we have is ourselves. Yeah. And the more work or attention, we're going to put on what we can do what we can achieve with what we have. We're going to be so self sufficient, or confidents. Because we know we have it within us years ago with running half marathon and marathon and while I was training, I never trained listening to music. Because I had one fear. I said, if I always train with music, and today I'm gonna run the marathon or half marathon, I have a problem with the equipment, no more music, what's going to happen with my brain? So I said, Okay, it's harder, I have to motivate myself. You know how the way but I don't depend on something that may not be there the moment I need it, but I can still carry it in my pocket just in case that you know what I know that song is going to help me to finish and go to the finish line, you know, so for me, it's really important. Whatever the kind of diving we're doing, because you know, it can be shallow dives in strong currents. It can be deep dive in the caves on a wreck to make sure that whatever is going to happen during that dive, whatever the level you're at, you you're gonna finish it in in a perfect way. I'm just going to close up because my email software is open. And I don't know if you can hear the Bing Bing. So
Matt Waters 30:05
you're safe at the moment? No bear fires, you're all good.
Nathalie Lasselin 30:11
So it's closed? So yeah, yes. You know, the mental, the mindset, the mental preparation is important. And I would say, to teach the people, the students how to think, to ask them in that situation, what are you going to do and why? And not give them the solution? Like, okay for this, you do this for this, you do this for this, you do this? No. Because if that solution does not make sense to the person, and if the situation arrive, is gonna say like, what's, what did she tell me to do? I can't remember. But if you walk the person through how to think, to find a solution, is going to go back to intuition. Because maybe you will not remember. But the intuition the path, he walked it, or she walked it, so they're gonna find it back. And most of time, it's like, okay, you do this that way, that way, that way, and I'm like, Ah, it helps for some stuff. But more so. So it's like, okay, how would you do it, and then you can tell them, Okay? Not that we because this is what you can encounter, not that we bla bla bla, this is a good way, but maybe this one is better try both. And you will see, your body will search and you will have your muscle memory, fill it and your brain, you know, it's like most of the time when you do something, you can write it, read it and say it. So three way to remember it. So there's so many tools like that, that we can use. And at the end of the day, just to be a more satisfied diver, you know, because the experience is going to be more interesting.
Matt Waters 32:02
Yeah. And we haven't got that, that massive advantage that, you know, we're putting this to dive in, which is a physical entity, so we can put it into practice. And practice is repetition, like you say, just brings that intuition on board and the second nature of automation. But without having to do the prescriptive section and her prescriptive bits that you've just discussed, and being able to formulate that into your own mould. Yeah. That leads nicely actually onto one of my questions that I had for you. And how I want to know, how do you handle unexpected situations that arise when you're shooting underwater? Because you, you take it's not small amounts of equipment underwater. And so you're in these extreme environments. So how do you actually deal with anything that's unexpected?
Nathalie Lasselin 33:01
As a French person, the first thing I do I scream you know, so you let it go. So it's done. So yeah, I'm someone who can react a lot. So yeah, when I'm not helping you again, you're gonna know it. So I might, I might screamers like what the? And then it's like, okay, what are my options? What can we do is just to try option one, option two, option three, until the find the one that is going to solve the situation. Because it's nightmares at work. I've got tonnes of them, where nothing is working. And you're like, sometimes asking yourself, How are we going to make that happen? Sometimes it can be weather, because the weather is not coping. And at the end of the day, you can't control it. And I think you have to accept the fact that you may not have the shot. Yeah, and for me, it's something that I acknowledge and and it's it became something ethical as well. What I mean by that, for example, regarding marine life, I'm under kind of person who made the decision that I may not have some shots because I know my interference with the marine life is something that I don't believe in, or I'm not comfortable with. Because I don't think it's completely respect the animal. So this is my line and it's completely personal. I mean, some people have the line somewhere else. So So yeah, there are some shots I didn't get. And I was like, I could have. Yeah.
Matt Waters 35:12
Never at least at least it's in there. You've got that memory.
Nathalie Lasselin 35:15
Yeah. But on the other end is like, you know, you have to, to work until you use it until it's not safe anymore. And that brings me to something else, you know, what is safe? Go for it. What is your tolerance to risk? What is your view on what is dangerous? And what is not? We don't have the same definition. And I learned it in many, many shoots, either in really strong current cold, dark waters, for shipwrecks in the Arctic on or in my expedition, when I traverse, Montreal? What seems to be really dangerous from one of my team member, and what is the limit? They will not go beyond? It's not at all the same than the one I have. And this is based on what experience do you have? How would you feel them this morning to face that situation? So whenever there is, you know, something really unexpected. If it's something that it's kind of too much, I'm gonna scream or if it's something that really, how come this is happening, you know, wish it shouldn't have because we could have planned it, I'm going to scream for a couple of seconds, I'm not going to be a happy cookie. And then it's like, okay, so now we can do this, this, this this. On the other hand, when it's something that no way we could have planned it. Or if it's not like a human error or something, because we're not that focus. If we're not that focused, I'm not going to tip but if it's not, because of that, I'm going to be on that resolution problem, like, okay, let's find, there's a way, there's always a way and we will find it, maybe we will not achieve the results we thought we were going to achieve, but we're going to be pretty close. And we're going to do whatever we can to to be close to the result. Because if if you I think and it's once again, it's a question of mindset. And I think there's two two compartment there. Sometimes there you can leave your emotion, just you know, scream or like, or really, you know, not be happy for a couple of seconds and blah, blah, blah, and then just emotions go in the box. It's not the moment to have emotion, because they're not going to serve you and you will you will deal with them later on. But okay, you have that five seconds. Like, you know, like any diver was the beginning of a panic, like, Okay, you did it stop now, you know, stop owed something, look at a point and Okay, now, what is the solution? Step one, step two, and then I try to go in that mindset of a robot, I have a job to do. My job as a diver is to complete the dive, to come home, to have a drink a glass of champagne. Whatever it is, and, and have a good story to tell or you know, but if I'm if I let my emotions overcome me, or win over me, I'm gonna lose everything. Yeah. So when there's a situation depending, yeah, I'm gonna, you know, react for a couple seconds and then it's like, okay, let's find a way
Matt Waters 39:17
have you had any? Have you had any close calls where you've thought Shit this could this could end my diving career?
Nathalie Lasselin 39:24
Oh, yeah. Yeah. It's and I wrote this story in you know, the book close calls. That strategy scan published three two years ago, I believe. So it's a collection of stories from many, many explorers in the world. And mastery is kind of a awkward one when I did to Travis. Everything went wrong. Really? Yeah, don't kind of problems. And but so I had like 70 kilometres to dive And just maybe three kilometres before the end of the dive, we were something like 12 hours later than planned, everybody was tired. And everybody thought that I was going to person will go was going to have a problem. So I was diving by myself with a bit directional communication system, a buoy at the surface with a strobe. And it's pitch black on the river. And if you do a little bit of boating, you know how difficult it is to see another boat? Yeah, because those light they are really deemed. And so everyone is looking at at my buoy, you know, just Am I okay. And at some point said, Okay, we're gonna have to switch the scooters. So they asked me to come to the surface. And yeah, at the, at that exact moment, there was a big tugboat just coming towards us. And we were in the middle of the Seaway. So basically, the minute I arrived at the surface, my own boat, pushed me out of the way, by pushing on the on the cat on the canister of my rebreather, I had a metal framework, which was a big luck and push me out of the way. Otherwise, the talk would have it me very badly. Jesus. So not only I could have died, but part of my team as well, because the boat, the chasing boat was just in the middle of this, you were as well. And what is funny is, at that moment, I didn't fear anything. Because I was like, when I heard the boat pushing me I knew it was my boat because it was, you know, the not a single hole but the to like your catamaran. catamaran? Yeah, kind of it's not the same the right word, but we, yeah, twin hole. So because of the sound of it, I knew it was my boat. And I was like, I'm stuck under the boat, and I work, why are you pushing me and I'm just stuck on the boat. So I was just telling them, I'm there. Because I was I was worried that if I slide along the whole, my legs, were going to go into the props of the engine, and then no more legs, which will have been really, really bad. But everything was filmed because of the documentary we're doing. And I saw the the footage, maybe one year after the dive. We were Yep. Because I didn't edit the film. It was. So I didn't see the footage. But the director sent me the footage of first editing of the film. And when we saw the sequence, I had to stop watching. Because I really realised what was going to happen if the team didn't react the way they did. So it would not have ended my career. But after that, I took my licence for a boat captain, my commercial licence because I wanted to know more about all that and how come we made such an enormous errors, series of errors. But honestly, if if it has been the last day it would have been the last day you know it's I'm the kind of person will really think that if I die tomorrow, I'm not going to be happy. But gee, I can't complain. I saw an experience so many things that I can't I can't complain. So
Matt Waters 44:06
everything that gets you get the opportunity to do it you're doing it enriches your life.
Nathalie Lasselin 44:13
Yeah, and for me, it's not about what you possess. It's really about what you experience which can it's it's kind of building your memory or experience and you know, so no, I think as long as I have the energy and the passion I will keep doing the kind of diving I do and when I will be really old then I'll do more blue warm water diving
Matt Waters 44:49
Nathalie Lasselin 44:51
yeah. I don't do a lot of them. I you know, in the caves, not you know, it's most of the time. It's pretty warm. are many. But no, I think I do one expedition per year where it's really blue, warm waters. But funnily enough, it's not in my comfort zone. Because diving with one tank in the blue ocean, I'm like, something is missing. Oh.
Matt Waters 45:22
Good idea. Good on you. Hey, since we're talking about the river that's another question I had for you. Can you talk more in more detail about the documenting of the St. Lawrence River and what awareness? What drew you to this particular location?
Nathalie Lasselin 45:43
Yeah, well, I live in Montreal, so it's Shaima land in Montreal. Actually, we are an island so we are islanders it's a 500 kilometres square kilometres I Island. And I was like, it's funny, because I travelled everywhere around the world. But I don't even know what's in the waters in Montreal. So it's pretty funny. But it's brown green waters. No exotic fish. Lots of currents. shows a lot of marine traffic's when it when it's not where it's not the shoals. So it's not really 60 nor appealing. And I was like, Oh, it would be funny, you know, since it's an island to, to dive in, do the round trip. But there's a hydroelectric dam. So you can't really do that. So one, so maybe I can go from one end to the other end. It's really nice to be like a drop of water and see what it's like. So that was the starting point. And then the more I think about Israel as well, for 50% of the population of Quebec, we drink the water from that river. And all the wastewaters go back in that river. And 70% of material, we drink that water, and wastewater is going back in that river. And I was like, Huh, what is the state of the water? Is it that clean? Is it really better than in the 60s 70s with all the BPC? Mark mercury, we said, you know, leads and all that is it way better, or we're just kind of. So that's why I wanted to do that big dice because I wanted to do something that was a symbol of commitment. Because if you want to achieve something, it's not something you're going to do in one day, something that you do step by step every day if you want to take care of your body, don't go spend one hour two in the gym and that's it, nothing's going to happen. So you need to do it little by little every day. So how do we take care of what I believe is the most important thing after air is the fresh water because if we don't have good water drinking water in three to five days with dead end of the story, you can have a PhD you can have a fortune if you don't have drinking water you're dead within three to five days. And in Canada, we have the false feeling that we've got plenty of the waters it's all good. Is it really? So I wanted to check that and for me one of the question generally life is that what is more important what you see or what you don't see what you know or what you don't know. So we're like okay, I know there's emerging contaminant emerging contaminant basically is like pesticides, although the medicine all the drugs you know, all the produce we put to grow plants in a non organic way non yogic way. Yeah. So
Matt Waters 49:15
and all that kind of stuff. Chemical the chemical nationals,
Nathalie Lasselin 49:22
yeah, all the chemicals additional. Because all those chemicals, we know that they have a BU accumulation effects in, in the fish and in ourselves, but how can you prove it because it's gonna take so long? So I was like, Okay, do we have a lot of them in the centre, Lawrence River. So we did a series of dives in 250 kilometres, to take samples of water and sediments, and the chemical Department of the University of Montreal analyse everything just to tell us okay, what do we find in the water? Alright. And funnily enough, it's, it's not that clean. I mean, the numbers are not huge numbers, but they are. They're euros. So it's almost drugs. How would you call that English? antidepressant? anti depressant? anti tip antidepressant? Yeah, it's the good word. Yeah, yeah. As a drug. Yeah. Okay. It's a drug. Yeah. So, so you find them and all the drugs, you know, so. And the thing is that in many, many places in the world, they don't have the, the plan to remove those contaminants from the water because you need to use organisation, which cost a fortune, of course. So that's one of the things I wanted to raise awareness about. And the other thing, which is easier is the plastic pollution. So we started to do cleanups, and so far, we removed just in Montreal, 13 tonnes of debris, plastic tires, aluminium can be can cup of coffee, all kinds of stuff like that bicycles. And because it's the source of our tap water, it's something really important for me. So, you know, it's not big expedition to which it's not an expedition to do some cleanups, you know, but at the same time, you're in a murky waters, you don't see your hands, and you're just, you know, fitting stuff, and you don't know what it is. You know, so sometimes we find some weird stuff with we found some referrals, some guns, some bags, and you're like, Oops, never know what you're gonna find. And but no, no dead bodies. So we're good so far.
Matt Waters 52:01
Good. Good. Yeah. Now, obviously, you're heavily into the photography and videography, documentation, etc. But, so one of the clear questions has to be Yeah, you know, how do you see the role of photography and videography and raising awareness about environmental issues?
Nathalie Lasselin 52:25
Photography is a wonderful way to captures one single moment, you know, it's a fraction of a seconds. So it can be really, really powerful. In that capturing that precise moment, we often see that a picture worth 1000 words. At the same time, nowadays, every pictures can be modified in a way that they are not true anymore. So I'm not sure in the future, if I'm still gonna see imagery image the same way. I don't know, I'm ambiguous about that, you know, with a AE at the intelligence, artificial intelligence as well. I don't know how it's going to become but so far, so good, it's an amazing tool to show a proof, not the proof, but a proof of, or a sign of what is going on down there. So it's still the best medium to show to the people that are going to go there or not. What we can see in that 70 Person of the planet,
Matt Waters 53:59
do you think do you think do you think we're, you know, with everybody having a camera nowadays, that kind of photography slightly diluted as to what it used to be and that videography is, is kind of the one that you can't really effective effectively cheat on what you're displaying as much.
Nathalie Lasselin 54:19
It's, it's, it's funny, because, you know, most of the videos that are being watched by numbers are not the best ones. It's not the quality that you know, I you can have like, hundreds of 1000s of clicks or views on videos that are not that meaningful. But it's still the best tools, because it's so it's so quick, you know, and An image can stay in your brain for so long. So, yes, it's deluded. But at the same time, there's always that picture. And we don't know who's going to take it. Maybe it's just the youngest armature that was just there at that precise moment and good for him or no, it's perfect. But there's will always be that picture that will reach something in your brain or in your art, that's going to make any difference.
Matt Waters 55:37
Yeah, yeah. No, I see that. Very true.
Nathalie Lasselin 55:41
And at the same time, you know, I'm not the most active person on social media, I don't post a lot, I don't watch a lot. Because sometimes I have to clean my eyes, you know, because if I see too much, and sometimes then go in some, you know, diving place, and I don't want to see images from that place. You know, it's like from I always say, I'm a really bad tourist. Because if I saw pictures on the internet, I'm like, Why? Why should I go there? I saw it on the internet. I read the review the stories. What is it? Where's the surprise? And I want to have the surprise, so I'm right. On the other end, sometimes I can see one picture. I'm like, Oh, this is something
Matt Waters 56:37
different. Take me there. Now.
Nathalie Lasselin 56:40
Take me there. Now. It's not black and white. It's a mix of the two, you know.
Matt Waters 56:48
I agree with you as well. I mean, I'm not, I would say I'm not that active on social media anymore. I tend to do, or use social media for an answer in the podcast. And, you know, once my travel agencies back up and running full swing, it'll be adverts for that. But for my personal side of things like Instagram, and Facebook, or like, I very rarely post the for me now, I just got bored of wasting my time doing it.
Nathalie Lasselin 57:15
Because it's so time consuming, you know? And, and it's funny, because when when you're kind of a public figure, you have to be there from time to time. And I'm really bad at that. Rarely, but sometimes I'm like, Okay, if I don't put something people are gonna say, like, she's doing, she's not doing anything anymore. And it's like, no, it's because I'm too busy doing stuff like that. I'm not there, you know, but, but it's not how it seems, it seems you know, so it's anyway, it's, it's something that is in our life, and we have to, you know, to deal with it or play with it or, you know, it's part it's part of the game,
Matt Waters 57:58
leave the kids do it and get on with what we want to do. Let's, I know, I want to know all about your exploits during COVID.
Nathalie Lasselin 58:13
During COVID, it's it's COVID was really an interesting moment. I am really lucky. I didn't suffer from from it. Because of their support part because of the way I deal with everything that is not predictable. So I always have backups of backups of backups if something happened. I didn't see that coming, of course, but in being always exposed to something that may happen that you can't control. I believe I was more prepared.
Matt Waters 59:04
Nathalie Lasselin 59:06
That being said, Of course, I had tonnes of flight tickets that I just, you know, my comfort en with them. But that brings me to my dearest project, actually, that I started during COVID which is called the eye of Quebec. And the eye of Quebec basically is one of the features on the planet that the astronaut liked to photograph. It's basically the fourth biggest impact crater on Earth that has been filled with water because of a big hydraulic trick dam in Quebec. Okay, so you have a shape there's an island in the middle and you have the wrong shape and the river and Add that give waters to the dam, and it covers surface of 1972 square kilometres. So it's really huge. And on top of that that's, that's a daily so I'm just gonna, I just got to let my, my partner open the door and take the package
Matt Waters 1:00:35
delivery of champagne for jazz really?
Nathalie Lasselin 1:00:38
Yeah, no, it's not, it's not champagne. Ah, that means I don't know what it is, but okay. Um, so, yeah, and that place, the crotchet manicouagan reservoir. So the, the eye of Quebec is really special. And you will understand that, because in Canada, before the Europeans arrived, there were Native people. And unfortunately, the way the situation or the occupation has been made, is not the sole happy story that every people is proud of. So we are the states that that land that has been flooded, was a native land. And for the for the First Nation, people. D attachment, the bill, how they belong to the land, it's not at all the same than for us, you know, Europeans or Americans or me many cultures, we build things. We occupy the territory, we build things, the Egyptians, they build pyramids, the Maya, they build some stuff, the European, they build castles, and so on and so on. But for the first nation, you don't have a footprint on the land. You coexist with it. You hunt you fish, you you have your tent and all and that land that has been flooded, where there none were some people gave birth, and every winter they went go, they were going back there to hunt, etc, etc. But the thing is that because of the dam, the level of water rise 440 metres. So it's completely flooded that
Matt Waters 1:02:46
lens 140 metres. Yeah, well,
Nathalie Lasselin 1:02:50
it's pretty high. Yeah. Yeah. So and it was the boreal forest that hasn't been cut before the flood. So, what I did I the first time I went to, to the reservoir with with my partner and and a friend, a boat captain, and I said, Okay, I'm gonna go there because I can't find any pictures. There's no pictures of what it's like on the water. So it's about 1200 kilometres away from home. So we drove there. We went in, in the woods, and then we start diving, but it's pitch black waters. It's like diving in American coffee waters. So it's dark. It's pretty cold. It's like five degrees below the term applying. And it's a huge forest. So the trees are still there. They are dead of course, but they are still there upright sometime crops sometimes on the way. But the forest is there. So it's can it can be really hairy yet eerie, hairy.
Matt Waters 1:04:15
Scary. Eerie. We're
Nathalie Lasselin 1:04:17
hearing Yes. Pookie. Yeah, yeah. So it can be really a spooky environment. And you can get stuck in a tree and stuff like that. And you can't see further than five feet away. But at the same time for me. It's like diving in space. Yeah. You're like in the universe. And you've got this the particles that you're like just make alive and you don't know what's what's going to happen, what you're going to see. And it's amazing to see the resilience of that environment that is completely submerged. So we started the for the first expedition during panda Yeah, and we did three, and we're going to go back to do the fourth one in September. And each time it's to go deeper and deeper and deeper to reach the ancient shore, where the first nation people, the new people used to go and, and camp in family. So for me, it's the exploration of a world that disappeared from our view of sight. But that will never died. Because we know that wood in fresh water will never die.
Matt Waters 1:05:38
Yeah. So I noticed you were taking samples from the wood as well.
Nathalie Lasselin 1:05:45
Yeah, yeah, we did the we did take some samples, we we cut some trees, to take some slice of trees, to do some dendrochronology. With the university we are working with, with two different universities, it's one of the thing that I love as a Scuba diver is to do you know, some a citizen science, some people would say, of your Oh, it can be archaeology, citizen science, you know, and working with scientists, at universities, we have all the tools you can dream of, that are going to be able to understand and analyse what you see on the world. So we work with them. And what they're gonna do with those analysed is to have a better history of what that forest forest went through during the years, you know, during the past. And it's a good tool, to study history, to better understand the future and to prepare the future. For many, you know, it's not only for the forest, but for many, many aspects in life. If you go back to what happened in the past, and you study that, you better understand how we may react the same way than in the past, redo the same thing, or the same sheet again, or a differently to have a different result. So for me to work with scientists is really, really important because it's what it's a way you can contribute to knowledge that is way beyond yourself, to better understand, and then to better show why it's important to document those kind of environment. And how the evolution you know, like, Okay, you flood the forest, what is the effect on on the fish? Can they adapt? Or no? What is the effect of erosion? Is there an effect on the land on top? On the on the, the deer and all the wildlife around?
Matt Waters 1:08:04
People? Have they come back with any interesting results from the samples that you took so far? I know, it's an ongoing thing when we're going back, but
Nathalie Lasselin 1:08:13
yeah, I know that they're going to publish some stuff in June. So until June, you, we can't know anything. Oh, they are like, yeah, it's going well, it's going one but most of the time, when we work with scientists, it takes anywhere between one year to two years before we have the results. And and I completely understand them, because they're gonna publish the result. So if they don't go through the entire process, you know, some people may use that information but not with all the neurons. And you know, so we know we don't have the result of those samplings now,
Matt Waters 1:08:56
we'll just have to wait until June then I exactly. Okay, moving on. Another question for you. How do you balance the technical aspects of underwater photography with the artistic and creative aspects of your own mind
Nathalie Lasselin 1:09:14
how I balanced the technical aspects and the creativity I think like all the craft you need to know perfectly your camera, the controls, everything needs to be a second nature. So the moment you on the water, you can come you can focus on the artistic side of it. So there's a lot you know, even when I buy a new camera, I'm more I'm still now with the same brand so they're not completely different, but there's always Little new things are, you know, buttoned how they are placed, it's a bit different. But everything needs to be known by by heart, you don't, you have to not have to think about it. If you have to think about it, don't do a big dive with our equipment, it's not the right time. I mean, go in your, in your bathtub, in your swimming pool in and sit in your couch and just close your eyes, put your big gloves and do anything, do everything you think you might need to do. So the moment you're filming or taking the pictures, you're doing the artistic part of it. And, you know, it's like, when I teach underwater or or even topside photography or videography, and I'm more video riffing and photo is like, when you you look in your viewfinder you never look in, in one point, your eyes is always going to the four corners of the images, and your other eyes like okay, what's what's next. And I learned that when I started in documentaries, because back then we had a roll of film, 400 feet 120 metres, it was 12 minutes. And you had 12 minutes and and you were not going to see the results before you go back to your country that goes to the lab. And then you go to the projection booth. And then do you see the results. So a month and a half after you couldn't see it. So you had to make sure and to be confident enough that the exposure would good. It was in focus and blah, blah, blah, and why you were filming. So and you had to push your eyes against the viewfinder, otherwise, there was light going through the viewfinder, and you were going to flare the film. So it was not good anymore. So you had to push your eyes and the other one was open. Because you you wanted to see okay, what is going on outside of the frame? Because I'm filming this, but maybe I should do this. So you and it's the same thing on the water is like, this is the shot I'm doing. But it's like playing chess. What is the next move? And so I was like, Okay, what, what is the next move? No. And still, it's a bit different. Because you're like, Okay, you, this is your subject. And you really want that precise moment where you want to play. But now you can do like a high fire. So you're good if you're not using a strobe. But when you're on video is like Okay, is it a static shot? Or should I pan should I tilt? And it's something that becomes organic? With what you're doing? Yeah. So it's, it's the balance is really, and and on top of that, in order to be able to express the artistic of the image you want to do is to make sure you know what you want to tell with those images. I remember years ago, I did a film in in Alaska, a documentary. And the minute we arrived on the on the liveaboard the captain told me where we were supposed to go not but we're gonna go 1000 Because we're gonna have the storm of the decade. And I was like, Oops, all the research I did. All my contacts was uh, they're not there. So you take your script, and you can do this. And was like, What do you want me to do? Yes, so I was screaming No, get out of the way. And it's like, okay, wait a minute. What do you want to say with that? What is the meaning of that film? The true meaning. And then it's like okay, it's time we were going to a new location. This fill the purpose of the film? This no yeah, this because, you know, when you know what you want to do? It's the same thing when you plan travel, you plan travel if you don't plan anything, you're going to arrive somewhere Oh gets nice. But maybe we're gonna miss some stuff because you didn't do the research. Yeah, and it's a balance of let's be open to what life can brings you. But be prepared to what you expect. What would you would like to see or discover or experience or whatever. It's really a mix of the two. So make sure you will know the technical same thing for technical diving, you know, you, everything needs to be second nature's muscle memory. And then you can focus on what you want to do with that dive. With that filming, it's there's a lot of similarity in those two, highly technical domain.
Matt Waters 1:15:28
You're literally echoing some of the comments that I got when I was talking recently with Nicholas Remy, who's an award winning photographer. And he's just starting his own business online business coaching people. And he says exactly what you've just said about the, the practising with the camera, above the water's surface, as you mentioned, you know, get you get your camera out, put your gloves on, put a blindfold on, do it on the sofa, whatever. And he he said he learned more, or he does learn more by doing those practice moments than what he does anytime in the water. Naturally, because he's wanting that second nature, you know, auto response time, you know, you see something a slight change, whatever, as you mentioned, one eyes here, the other eyes there. I get this, and the body just does. And it's got to be that practice that puts it into place.
Nathalie Lasselin 1:16:29
Yeah, and, you know, it's the same thing that any ilevel sports, you know, when you think of the skiers, you know, they close their eyes, and this this same thing cycling the No, and the release of it, you know, when I do auto hypnosis, it's what I do. You know, I envision I see my dive, I live my drive, I rehearse my day, what I want to do with that. And, and because when you do that you're like, Okay, so this might go like this, this? Ah, not not, that doesn't feel right. And by reversing, you know, it's the same thing with the configuration of your equipments. You know, sometimes you just put it on a new, it's like, okay, because you shouldn't be there ever, maybe for me to be there, you know, it's, where is it the most comfortable, you know, it's like the clip, you know, the clip, it's time at the same place, and rare. Hundreds of time, cameras, same thing. And you can do it physically with a camera. And just before you go to sleep or before you, you wake up you you go out of bed, you know, just I close my eyes, I've got my position, and I relive the moment relief what I need to do, you know, it's like, okay, because why you are doing it. You can see the stuff that are not going to work the way you want come in. And then Oh, okay. And then you're going to have the correction, how are you going to do it? And the more you do it at some, at some point it can be it can be crazy, because you just, I'm working on some stuff right now. And I sometimes it's like a commercial, you know, that goes over and again and again and again and again. And until I don't have the solution, it just whoops, goes as i Okay, repeat, repeat. And then bye. Thank you Rica. Yeah.
Matt Waters 1:18:51
We're doing a lot of talking about videography, and photography. What about the equipment that you use when you're underwater? How do you choose? What products work for you? And do they differ across the different projects that you do?
Nathalie Lasselin 1:19:05
As a Scuba diving equipment?
Matt Waters 1:19:08
Well, camera equipment, camera equipment.
Nathalie Lasselin 1:19:11
Yeah, camera equipment. Oh, yeah, they differ a lot. Depending, for example, if it's a feature film, if it's a commercial, most of the time we are in a swimming pool. So and in Canada, it's like in Australia, you have to be a first level of commercial diver in order to film on the water. So you have big sets, lots of people. When you say commercial, you've got the clients. You've got the agency. You've got the produce the production company, you've got the director. You are the DP the director of photography. Oh, you have a topside director of photography and you're doing the underwater work. And then you have the talents in front of you. You've got the electrics. The team for machinist, you know, for the old the big parts, the safety divers, the medics, so it's huge team. Most of the time we have we are like 70 person, really, you know, just Oh, yeah, it's it's huge, and a feature film a crew, you know, because we've got the costumes, the makeups hairdresser. It's so many people. And what is funny is that, so you've got big cameras, of course, you don't do the focus yourself as the assistant is most of the time at the surface. So as a filmmaker, as an underwater camera person, you're kind of by yourself, on the water you with your assistant with bi directional communication, and everybody on top, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, about what you're doing. And then you try to have the most fluid communication with them to make sure that we have the proper shots. And what is funny in feature films, is that most of the time when you're doing the prep, so you have the scouting of the location, and you explain how it works, and blah, blah, blah, most of the time is the first time they are going to do that kind of shots. And this Okay, so we're going to start the day with the underwater shots. But it never happened that way. You're always the last shot of the day. And because of the regulation and the way we work, we have like 12 hours day. And if they go over those 12 hours, days, it 12 hours day, a big buck, Big Bucks. So it always ends the same way. You've got one hour or even less, to do the most complicated shot of the day. But because they postpone everything is like, Okay, you got to be next you got to be next, but you never next, it's always last. And then it's like everything is squeezed. And then they realise out complexities. But you have to honestly do miracles. So it works perfectly. And everybody's happy.
Matt Waters 1:22:30
Do you? Do you feel the pressure to get it done in that time constraint? Or do you? Do you sit back and think 20 minutes more from now and I'm on double pay?
Nathalie Lasselin 1:22:41
Off? No, I don't think that way. No. I mean, as long as it's safe for the talents. And most of the time. The problem is I put Urmia with a challenge when we shoot, yeah, yeah. We don't think about that. But you know, and most of them they are not used to spend hours and hours and hours in underwater. And it's more complex, you know, and they are actors actress, but they are not used to do that kind of shots, and they want to push it. So you train them to make them as comfortable and efficiently as possible. And make sure that everything is all good with them. They are safe, they're comfortable, and they're not gonna go into hypothermia an hour after the end of the shoot. But for me, it's really to make sure that we're going to have the shots and even a better shot than what they thought they were going to have. I always happy when I can surprise them. It's like who you know, and when I hear them will close. Yes, we did it. I'm really happy with that. Not all the time but nearly
Matt Waters 1:24:01
Okay. Women divers Hall of Fame. Let's let's talk about these fabulous ladies. What's your involvement and what does it mean to you? And when did you enter into the women divers Hall of Fame? All of the above?
Nathalie Lasselin 1:24:19
I believe it was in 2019 It's quite recently. I believe it's first 2019. And it's really amazing because let's face it, even if we are in 2023 Even if the place of woman is more imbalanced in society. We're not quite there yet. Yeah. There's still a long, long way to go. And to see that In the 50s, there were women doing amazing stuff on the water, right from the beginning, and that the first generation of women work together to put that organisation to acknowledge the achievement of woman, it's, it's really, really it feels really good to, to have been accepted by them.
Matt Waters 1:25:38
Because you've done quite a lot of achieving.
Nathalie Lasselin 1:25:44
Yeah, and it's like, okay, so it's like, people recognise the value of what you put your art in, you know, in your, in your heart. So, yeah, that that means a lot. And I think it's inspire or the woman and younger woman, and I think that's a huge goal of the organisation is to show, although we women young woman that, you know, it can be possible, no matter if you're big, if you're small, if you're white, black, yellow, red, whatever, we don't care. It's, it's achievable. And you're gonna have some help from the other ones,
Matt Waters 1:26:37
from some or inspiring women for sure.
Nathalie Lasselin 1:26:41
Yeah. And when you look at the biography of all of those women, some of them are not well known. But when you look at the biography, like really did that back then how they're No, it's funny, it's wow, you know?
Matt Waters 1:27:02
Brilliant. What's your, you say, going? Back to the lake? Oh, back to the I in September? Is that your next major project? So have you got any others on the go?
Nathalie Lasselin 1:27:14
I'm gonna go back in the Arctic, I'm going back in the Arctic nearly every year, for kind of product projects, sometimes it's for filming sometimes is to take divers to dive on the flow edge. So this time, I believe I'm gonna have seven divers to go with me and I may do more stuff there. So and we can on the flow edge. So this is something I really, really enjoy. We're going to do a liveaboard in south of Red Sea, in a place where they just starting to see what it's like. So it's kind of a exploratory liveaboard. Which is going to be really, really nice. And I've got another project in Quebec, also in lakes, with related with the, the logging of wood we did in the past and the impact of that. So it's two different worlds situation. But it's the impact of those two, yeah. And I'm working on different projects, more artistic for virtual reality with other artists, because I am a mix with my own project, they produce and you know, find the fundings blah, blah, blah, and working with others for their project, where basically what I'm doing is either writing or editing, or filming, diving. So there's a mix of those two in my in my life. So basically, you know, like a year in my life can be working for my projects, the projects of others, doing lectures, either for corporation you know, like motivational, how to face fear how to work together, equity, minority, that kind of stuff. I use a lot of in neural, neurological programmation
Matt Waters 1:29:28
Nathalie Lasselin 1:29:30
Yeah. So I work with that also. Because for me, everything is connected. Yeah, so it's really a mix of the end. Nowadays, what I add as a project which has nothing to do with diving is longer I so we're going to do chondroid nearly 300 kilometres hiking in June and it's something I really enjoy because I just serve my house is my backpack. Yeah. And I have to be able to carry it. But once again, that fulfil some needs I have to be able to do some deeper exploration. You know, because you push your limits you push yourself how your body's gonna react? how your mind is going to react? How are you going to be able to push even if it hurts? Yeah, so everything you're doing, you know, it's an a different level of training. Because if you want to do some push dive, if you want to go further, whether it's deep or chord or occurrence or type plays, it's not going to be comfortable. So for me to do different activities that takes me out of my comfort zone. physically or mentally. It's so important. Yeah. Because how you can improve? Yeah,
Matt Waters 00:29
where are you doing the hike?
Nathalie Lasselin 01:28
It's going to be around a lake down near the border of California. And funnily enough, you're gonna laugh maybe it's the worst year of snow fell. They had 12 metres so far. Bloody hell. 12. Yes. So we're not quite sure how it's gonna go. Because it was to be to, even if it's in June, it's supposed to be summer Ike. Yeah. But now it's might be a snowshoe hike. Yes, so it's changing the game. But it's gonna be really interesting.
Matt Waters 02:09
Very interesting, and I'll certainly push your boundaries.
Nathalie Lasselin 02:16
We're gonna see what we got. We got to be able to adapt.
Matt Waters 02:19
Yeah, I'll think about it slightly while I turn the aircon on at home
Nathalie Lasselin 02:28
I send you a picture to keep you cool
Matt Waters 02:37
hey, well, I should have asked you know, when we're talking about women divers Hall of Fame. Have you yourself faced many challenges as a woman in the male dominated field. I mean, you've got, you know, as a camera woman or camera person in camera, people camera person nowadays, as a camera woman, you must have entered into that industry, heavily outweighed way by by male. And then you're into the dive industry and you're doing all of this exploration and deep and fascinating documentaries. Again, it must be heavily weighted on the male side. So if you personally had an uphill battle to overcome that indifference.
Nathalie Lasselin 03:26
How would you answer that? And I know you're kind enough not to mention my size.
Matt Waters 03:32
Yeah, well, I didn't want to say that. You could probably sleep in your backpack.
Nathalie Lasselin 03:38
Yeah, I could. I couldn't sleep in my backpack. So, um, yeah. And, you know, it's funny, because it's always the same thing. When people see me it's like, huh, she can't do it. Even though it is when when people don't know me is like, did doubt it. And then within a couple of minutes or hours is like, okay, it's, it's done. You know, we're, we're just human, we're just person. And I'm gonna do the job. But I had really bad situation where it wasn't fun at all. And you know, when people tell you stuff they shouldn't, but you can't control the others. Yeah. So if if they are not comfortable with the fact that you are a woman's for me, it's it's their problem. You know, in the, in a sense that I'm not stealing your job. I'm doing your job and there's room for everyone. I'm going to do it maybe differently. Maybe sometimes better, maybe sometimes not better. But it's going to be different. And I'm gonna do it. And there's room for, for everybody. There was some situation in which, for documentary purposes, I remember we did. It was for UNESCO back then a documentary about the condition of woman in the world. And at that time, it was a camera assistant. It was in film, and the camera person was a guy, and he's a friend. And but there was some sequins, some little girls, he couldn't film. Because those little girls were victim of prostitution. So that no way he could have filmed them. So I filmed them. So in some situation, it's a plus, it's an advantage. In some situation, you just have to overcome what other people might think. But at the end of the day, except a couple of situation where it was not fun for a couple of minutes. I made my way, anyway,
Matt Waters 06:21
yeah. Yeah. You know,
Nathalie Lasselin 06:23
I think I think because I always said, you know, what, if you want to open the door for me, thank you. But I don't need it. But if you're doing it, I would appreciate it. But I don't need it. And I don't ask you to do it. And if I'm here, it's because I'm going to do everything. So I always carried my own equipment. I remember when I drove at the beginning with big twins. Were too big for me. But it was the way it was, you know, even though my first wing for my twin. I remember, Mr. Ayers told me the first time I did my training in caves, he told me You look like you're remonter because the winds was just too big. I'm just too small. But I'm doing it. You know, maybe it's not the most nicest piece of equipment on me. But I'm gonna do it. Yeah, you know, and at the end of the day, I will go from A to B and B to A. And that's it. And yeah, I may, I may breathe much more than the others for to do some stuff and work harder. But it's, for me, it's just one of the one of the boys, one of the girls. I don't, I don't make a difference. And at the same time, however, I really enjoy to put together a team of women to do stuff. Because I feel that we still need to do it just to show that it's possible. It's not. It's not better. It's different. It's not better, but it's possible. You know, it's just, we everybody can be autonomous. And you know, there are some guys that bullying by a woman or the guys you know, it's not something just woman and some minorities have an issue or problems. And for me, it's just you know what, we're just one of the other and we're all different, that big woman, that small, tiny guy, but if you want to do something, you will find your way of doing it with your weakness and your strengths. And the rest well, you know, if I've got a bad comment is like, okay, it's a bad comment. I know you Ciao.
Matt Waters 08:59
How about what kind of have you got the hypnosis and the and the minds, you know, focusing on the mind there? Do you have any kind of additional strategies that you may adopt to motivate and keep your creativity inspired?
Nathalie Lasselin 09:20
Um, yeah, well, for the creativity, I think, being being curious about all kinds of arts, it can be painting, it can be dancing, it can be even sometimes gravity, you know, all kinds of creativity by others. One of the things that I love is to listen to TED Talks. I had a chance to do a TEDx here in Quebec. And I was really happy to do that because remember what When they first started with TED talks, I was like, wow, this is amazing. And, and back then every single day, I was listening to one TED Talks per day. And I wasn't choosing the topics. Against i, okay. Just I go through them, sometimes I was like, oh, okay, well, doesn't really touch me. Or, basically, there's always something different to learn something different to, to think about a different way, a different reality. Even sometimes, you know, with the globalisation, you know, it's funny, because we have access, for example, to comics, but from so many different countries, and I love that, because their reality is so different from mine. But when I listened to them, it's like, huh, I never thought of that that way. That's interesting. And all those points of views. For me, it's the richness, and how you can just change and evaluate in your art and how you, you're going to do things. Yeah, so yeah, I mean, the inspiration can be, and from so many different things, you know, sometimes just to, to see someone that is not well equipped in life, and struggling, but succeeding. Yeah. And you and you learn from those people,
Matt Waters 11:37
you do your mind, and they they stay in your mind, like you said, the photo earlier on, you know, photos capture in
Nathalie Lasselin 11:44
your life. You know, they don't, they don't complain, they don't settle down, they keep fighting, they keep doing it, then. And I have a lot of admiration and respect to all the person who didn't have the tools to start with in life, and achieve some stuff that may not be there for most of the people. But for them, it's like, how did you do that? You just keep keep doing. So this is something else. You know, and it can go from that to, you know, how the First Nation people need in Canada, how they, they always laugh, they laugh all time. They always, you know, Joe can. And it's funny, because they suffered a lot. But it's funny how they they are. And sometimes, you know, it just bring you back to the level of ground, you know, the level of, of Earth is like, okay, whatever you're doing, you know, keep your two feet on the ground and, and just enjoy. Even if you have a bad day, a bad dive, you try to achieve something and you didn't succeed you, you kind of fail that they say, You know what, you will have a second chance you're still there? To do it.
Matt Waters 13:11
Is it fair to say that, you know, these these experiences that TED talks, you listen to the the indigenous people that you come across and laugh with? Is it that those kinds of experiences and people that inspire you to pass on inspiration into others to, you know, take notice of the environment? And ultimately try and look after it better?
Nathalie Lasselin 13:40
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think they, they are a big part of it. And, you know, regarding the environment, I always said to the people, you know, because we often hear, do that for future generation. Yeah. And I must admit, I don't understand that then the sentence. And I don't say it, and I even tell the people, I don't do it for future generations. And it's simple because I don't know them. And since when do you do something for someone you don't even know exist? You know, it's like having an objective that is completely out of nowhere. It's an if you want to achieve something, you need to be able to quantify your objective, to give you a deadline, and give you the tools to do it. If you don't have a deadline. If you don't have a quantity or how you're going to do it, you're not going to do it. So for me to say that I understand and I you know, I'm I understand the sentence, but for me, it doesn't make sense. And I tell to the people, the reason why I want to take care of your environment, is because I know I'm gonna get old one day, hopefully. And I want to be in the best possible Earth. And states of mine, I can. And the only thing I can control to have that is to take care of my environment, what I eat, what I breathe, what I have around me how I'm going to take care of my mental health as well. And this is really important. And if I take care of my environment, if I do cleanups, if I avoid to use chemicals, if I do that, and I have a cleaner environment, maybe my neighbours gonna see like, Oh, that's true rights nicer. It's nice to have a garden, it's nice that the beach is clean, that the ocean is clean, that the fish is good state of health. Maybe I should do it. Because I can see the result. I can see why it's important. And for me, this is when you, you know, talk the walk and want to talk. When you show Bye. Bye. Bye, doing example, exactly by example, each time we're doing cleanups, it's funny, because people walk in, oh, what are you doing? Oh, you're driving there, it's disgusting. It's brown, it's, it's muddy, blah, blah, blah, you're not afraid you're not scared, you're going to get sick? No. And then you tell them Do you know your, your drinking water comes from there? Oh, really. I'm going to show you what we found there. And I'm going to show you why it's there. So next time you smoke a cigarette, good for you. But the but don't put it in the water, don't put it on the ground, put it in the garbage, you drink a coffee, don't let the wind take the empty cup, you know, walk after it. And we're doing a cleanups with 250 kids from school in Montreal each year. And it's amazing because they are the next generation that I can see, I can rely and we can have a conversation. And I can tell them, you know, don't judge the other generation because you're going to be judged as well. And they their stuff they did. That was the best they knew back then. But it's not by putting people against each other that we're going to achieve something. You know, for me, it's really important to say, you know, like, you know, it's it's the same in the diving industry, we are all in this together. And we want to do it to a better dives, better experience to share something that is amazing. Because we're just sharing that planet. And why diving, we are amazing witness of the richness of the oceans, or the rivers, whatever underwater it is. And, and, you know, when we dive, we can have a small net, and we if we find some garbage, put it in your pocket in your net, and then you put it in the garbage and remove it from the oceans. And each time we were doing that, yes. Take your pictures. Yes, sure. That pictures Yes, still to do this. Because the other gonna say, Oh, that's true. I couldn't do the same. Yeah. And it does not cost you anything. Taking care of the planet of yourself does not cost you much more. So why what why we, we won't do it more. You know, it's an it's fun. I mean, it's funny to see, when I organise the cleanups, the divers send me emails or texts. When is the next one, because it's something that is make a bound. You know, it's, it's it's taking, it's forming a community. And people are proud to do something and say, I'm a diver. And I clean the river. I do something and I was there. And most of the time, it's other people. You know, when you do that, you will be able to say, when we were saving the world, I was there. I did my part. Even if it's a tiny part, you did it.
Matt Waters 19:29
But if a million people do all of those tiny parts it's it's colossal, huge.
Nathalie Lasselin 19:34
Yeah. And why do we want to do it because the ocean is unbelievable. The underwater environment it's it's amazing. And no matter why why you you die if you may die because it's beautiful. You may dive because you want to be the top tech diver with the perfect configuration. You may want to dive because you're are disabled and you don't feel the weight of your body while you're under water. I mean, aren't you under water? Something is happening to your body and your mind and your brain? People are just relaxed, like, oh, I can't wait my next dive.
Matt Waters 20:17
Yeah. Mine is my place of serenity. If I'm in the water, yeah, it can be the shittiest dive in the world, but I'm just so happy to be in the water.
Nathalie Lasselin 20:26
Yeah. Just to be there and breathe. Yeah.
Matt Waters 20:30
He did. You know, we're talking about environments and saving, etc, etc. You see that the high seas treaty announcements in the last last couple of days?
Nathalie Lasselin 20:43
Saturday? Yeah, yeah, a couple of days ago. Yeah. Yeah.
Matt Waters 20:47
That's marvellous news. And I didn't expect to see that coming out.
Nathalie Lasselin 20:55
You know, I think we can be really optimistic. Seriously. I mean, there is a lot of thing we can complain. But at some point, if you spend most of your time complaining, you know, you put too much importance on that. And I think, nowadays, there are so many, many communities everywhere in the world, doing something for the planet for the environment for the others. And I'm not quite sure that we had that many in the past. Yeah. And by being able to share all dat is just inspire others to say like, Oh, I could do the same in my community. So I think there's a lot of I don't feel, I mean, sometimes you can be like, you know, but most of the time, I'm pretty optimistic that so many people are trying to do something.
Matt Waters 21:50
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it's a good thing. It's a feelgood factor thing as well, that's for sure. Oh, yeah.
Nathalie Lasselin 21:57
Feeling good. Yeah, feel good on the water and doing something for the environment. It's win, win,
Matt Waters 22:03
win, win. Hey, I'm gonna, I'm gonna fire the 10 questions at you that each guest of every show going through season four of the podcast are answering. So we'll, we'll see how that goes. Are you ready for number one? How do you describe your job as a diver and underwater videographer to people who are not familiar with the activity?
Nathalie Lasselin 22:38
My job is to go to places that are not well known. Take your camera, film those places document what is going on there and share it with the others through film, lectures, articles. Basically, it's what I'm doing in life.
Matt Waters 23:01
And always smiling while you're doing it. Maybe always, with the. Question number two, can you share a memorable diamond experience that stands out to you as the best you've had?
Nathalie Lasselin 23:25
How am I good? That question is so it's so hard. And I'm going to be really bad because, you know, sometimes people ask you what is your best dive? And it's the one I didn't do yet.
Matt Waters 23:40
Yeah. That's for me that I like that,
Nathalie Lasselin 23:44
for me is that one because I don't know what it's gonna be like. So, but but not to be a boring person and gave you the feeling that I didn't answer the question. I'm gonna, you know, still I'm going to try to give you an answer. But it's really hard because there are many, many of them. But there are, you know, does some of the dives that may be more meaningful because sometimes when you want to do something, but you can't access it right away, and it takes two years, for so many reasons. And finally, you're there. Two things might happen. Either you're gonna be deceived. Okay. You know, because then you go, Oh, I thought it would have been better. Or it is why finally, you're doing it. You're there. And it's just like fireworks. You know, it's just amazing because, finally, you know, it took you so long to be there. And there's a place for me, that is really meaningful for For me, it's a silver in Iceland. Oh, yeah, yes. Yeah. And for many reason, first of all the best water in the world is in Iceland, for me. The clarity and you can drink it, it's like it for me the water smell flowers. It's it's, I don't know, it's that water is so good. The clarity and because because it's the crack in between the continent, and the geology of it. And I love Icelanders, all the places. I really love that Iceland. I love it. Because the beauty of the landscape, the art, environment and purity environment. It's, it's amazing. So that place was one of my of my best one. And I was a, I was lucky enough to be able to access that place before all the tourists doing some smoke round. So that was good. So we work up and we had an authorization to go before. Yeah, otherwise, I would have not been the same answer. Yeah, because when I dive somewhere, and there's 50 other divers
Matt Waters 26:15
not interested. Yeah.
Nathalie Lasselin 26:18
Sorry, it's not for me. We're,
Matt Waters 26:21
we're just planning out my my 50s next year. And nice. Yeah, and I used to work in Thailand, in assembling islands running a liveaboard boat. And it's a very popular location. So much, so there's lots of boats. So there's lots of divers, it can be a royal pain in the ass on the dive sites. However, we've decided to go ahead and just charter a full boat. And it just happens to be the company I used to work for. But because we've purposely charted the boat so that we can offset away from all of the other liveaboard boats. And I'm super, super excited to see what the dive sites are going to be like, without other divers on it. You know, I had little snippets in my time, while I was working there were we'd offset it a little bit. And you just see a couple of divers every now and then. But I think to be able to control the boat and disappear off away from all the others is going to be an absolute amazing time. In beautiful location, hopefully.
Nathalie Lasselin 27:26
And you don't you don't experience the job environment the same way. You know, sometimes you could be I remember when I when we went to the Galapagos, we were at Darwin. And okay, um, um, I'm sorry. And people aren't going to be maybe ashamed of me. But I'm like, Yes, I'm really happy that I did it, that I had the opportunity to dive it. But, but sometimes being by myself, in a small lake in front of a tiny fish, and having that connection is more meaningful. Being in front of rocks or a REX that nobody died before. And you don't know what to expect. And and it's, it's, it's different for me.
Matt Waters 28:33
Yeah, no, I understand that. Understand? Yeah. Yeah. I, I think some of my most memorable dives of all time have been in Papua New Guinea and diving reefs that I know. No one else has ever laid eyes on, let alone dived. That that for me just sticks in my mind. And it's ingrained there forever. So I completely understand where you're coming from and the Galapagus it's fantastic. We're going again in July. But as you say, if you've got set 56789 divers around you, you don't have that unique moment of solitude.
Nathalie Lasselin 29:13
Yeah, I think the why diving, it's, for me being in an environment where you're a guest. Yeah. And you have the opportunity to see that an environment that is not controlled by human while it is but you know, not it's like going not freely. Yeah, you know, it's like going in the woods or in the mundanes. I mean, do environment is going to win, you're not going to win. You're not in a city you're you're not going to win if the weather is gonna hit. Try to understand it because You're going to lose. And this is, for me the real connection with nature, either in the water, and that's why I love those dives, where I know that I have to trust your nature, trust the environment, understand the environment, to be able to live with it, and to fit in it. And the moment it's happening, it's magic, it's something you can't forget, it's something way bigger than you. And I think this is for me the true beauty of it. So of course, if you have in your, in your frame in your eyesight, 10 other divers, it's, it's it's fun to share with others. But sometimes it's also interesting interference, because you're in there in the frame. And what you want is just to see the sharks, or, or the fish or the totals of the tiny creatures, you know, that's are so different to you. And at the same time we all connected. Yeah. You know, like, I remember, we did the Northwest Passage, Dr. Canadian Arctic. And of course, at the beginning, what do you want to see like the big animals, but most of the time, expect, except in some places, you won't see them. So you're like, well, there's nothing to see. And then you try to look within the colour of water. And then you see the small creatures, the jellyfish and all the others unicellular creatures. And then you're like, This is magic. Yeah, we are in a different universe. And and for me, this is another amazing dive that I will never forget.
Matt Waters 32:06
The passion comes through strong and lady that's for sure.
Nathalie Lasselin 32:10
Sure, short answer.
Matt Waters 32:15
I'll give you the next one. Let's have a drink of water first. Go ahead. If someone wanted to pursue a career similar to yours, what advice would you give them? Other than don't.
Nathalie Lasselin 32:30
Um I wouldn't, I wouldn't say if someone would carry similar to mine would be follow your heart. I mean, we will remember only one life, whether we have one on I don't know, but we have just one. If you're going to be doing something that will occupy to a third of your life, B. You better be happy with it. So if you want to do something, be ready to do a lot of sacrifice. A lot of sacrifices. It's unbelievable. Don't count. Don't count the hours. There's no Sundays. There's no Sundays. But it's the most unique and rewarding way to satisfy your curiosity. So I think the people we're doing that kind of lifestyle because it's a lifestyle is not a career, it's a lifestyle. You know, I've got some friends and they're okay, okay, I'm gonna retire in two years. And I'm like, You know what, I don't even think about it. Because what, when I'm going to be retired, I'm going to do exactly the same thing, but maybe less intense. But it's going to be same thing. I don't know what else I'm going to do, you know, maybe just a bit less because I'd be you know, slower, blah, blah, blah, but I do the same so and for me, it's it's it's a good thing, you know, because it's a good choice. And I'm still passionate about what I'm doing. Even when I'm having bad days because not working. I don't have two grand so I don't have the so that I don't have the best tools to do it because I can't afford them. But I still at the end of the year. Have a great year.
Matt Waters 34:43
Yeah. Yeah. It's that it's that drive and determination and that, that just just do it kind of mentality that that makes it all good, really, isn't it? Yeah.
Nathalie Lasselin 34:53
Yeah. But if someone wants to be rich, maybe it's not the best option. Okay. is plenty of other jobs. Number two, you know, you have to know, you have to know what you really want from life. You know, if it's to have comfort, if it's to have a lot of money, if it's to be about being famous, these are not the good reason. Because if you think it's going to be easy, and all the doors are gonna burn, you get all the fundings and the partnerships and blah, blah, blah. No, it's not Instagram accounts, or Tiktok accounts where the picture is done. It takes a lot of work and effort to make the pictures but it's not. What is interesting is not the end result. It's the path.
Matt Waters 35:50
Yeah. And that's it. I mean, if the path is stressful as hell, and you're torturing yourself trying to achieve these goals that effectively unachievable for most, what kind of life is that? Back? Exactly. Okay, number four, if you could change anything about the diving industry, or Scuba diving in general, what would it be?
Nathalie Lasselin 36:18
Um, I think I would put less emphasis on the tools and more about the environment. Yeah, I mean, it's not and I love I mean, don't misunderstand me, I love tools and toys, you know, it's like, because those two words in what we're doing, they're basically the same thing. You know, you're buying a new tool, but it's like a toy, and you're happy with it. But sometimes, I feel that it's too much about having this or that, or the new thing or the new that. Yeah, but how many times did you do? You know, sometimes, I'm not always that comfortable about pushing people to buy stuff or buy certifications, like, try to take the most of what you have to enjoy the most. If you open water, you can do amazing dives. In many, many places in the world. You want to do your advanced to you advance, but it's not like okay, you have to buy like 510 specialties or blah, blah, blah, and, and within the two years and Yeah, but what else did you do? Just training? Yeah, maybe it's maybe so yeah, it might be something that will change the narration of the industry about that sometimes. But at the same time, it's a business. So
Matt Waters 37:57
yeah, that's the thing. It's a business, isn't it? They agencies are trying to make their monies. And for the instructors that are out there as well. But I do agree. I mean, there's been times in the past where I've actually said to people, you know, when they've asked, I want to do my advance I want to do my rescue course and then I'm gonna go on to do divemaster I'm like, so you're going to be working in the dive industry? No, just want to do it. Well, why don't want to do it, then. Why don't you use that money and go and do 3040 50 Fun dives and get the experience under the belt?
Nathalie Lasselin 38:31
Matt Waters 38:33
Okay, let's rattle through these. I reckon it must be closing on some dinner time for you over there. What are your thoughts on ways to minimise human impact on the oceans?
Nathalie Lasselin 38:47
My thoughts on on minimising human impact
Matt Waters 38:51
Yes. On the it's a very heavy and big question. Yeah. But in summer
Nathalie Lasselin 39:06
she She talks too much. I'm gonna countries. Okay, okay. First of all, it's not us against nature. We are part of nature. First of all, but to minimise the impact on the oceans is like I try to make sure that what I buy is what I need. If I don't need it, I don't see why I can buy I will buy it and if I can borrow it, I will borrow it sometimes not possible and to minimise the impact on the oceans just try to live in a better balance with the environment in generally. That means you may have have a big, big car. But you just use it when you need it and you calculate the best way you can do your travelling to make the minimum millage. It's another way, you know, because most of the time we have people that have big ideas of this group against that group. It doesn't work that way. So for me, it's really when you do something, is it going to own your or your environment? Is it the best natural product that you can? That you can buy and you have the means to buy if you have the you can afford, this is the word I was looking for? Is it the products you can afford? If there's some products that are re armful for the environment, do you really need to use them? You know, I'm just going to give you an example. But it's clean my house, I just use vinegar. I don't have to buy tonnes of products for every single thing. vinegars. That's it and it does the trick for 99% of the stuff so so I think for the the ocean is the same thing. We could say you know, every time you travel, you can buy carbon footprint exchange stuff, like for example, when we travel, we compensate with planting trees, stuff like that, which is good. So what can you do to have a balance in what you're doing? Yeah,
Matt Waters 41:48
I that that bit there, the carbon footprint offset? I think I need to delve a little bit deeper into that one at some point because I can't help thinking my spidey senses are up there. It's it's a bit open for corruption. And it doesn't necessarily say what's on the tin is actually occurring. Yeah, you know what I mean?
Nathalie Lasselin 42:10
Matt Waters 42:15
Okay, so speaking about conservation, is there a particular conservation effort that you are passionate about? And if so, which one and why?
Nathalie Lasselin 42:29
For me, the cleanups is really important. Because it's to put back nature, the underwater environment in their natural state. So for me, it's really, really important to keep on doing those cleanups. And I will just do them most of the time locally, because it's where I live. It's where I have an impact with my co citizen. So yeah, cleanups is really, really important. And because everything that goes from the rivers from the source, eventually will go to the oceans. Yeah, so doing some conservation effort where you live, where I live, is the most important. So for me, it's it's goes from cleanups, having my own garden, growing vegetables, adding my apples to do my jam, the old, all that stuff. Even if I'm busy travelling a lot. I always have a garden and I, as long as I can manage it, I will have one because it brings you back to nature on a daily basis. Because when you see a vegetables grow are a fruit. You have the value of it, you taste it, when you have a kid coming to your house and have that raspberry or whatever and tasted and just to see the kids taking it from the tree and eating it. It's just marvellous. Yeah, and it's the same thing with cleanups, you know, the kids come and they elves. It's like, okay, we're all in this together once again.
Matt Waters 44:22
Well said, well said keep it local. Okay. Of the many safety procedures we have in the industry, if you had to choose one as the most important, what would it be?
Nathalie Lasselin 44:37
I'm going well, I think I think it's the what if and anyone can call the dive at any time from any reason. I think that that one is my favourite. And in the drive we did we used it many, many times. And for good reason sometime. Maybe not that good, but I don't care. I don't care. I prefer scrapping a diet than scrapping the memory of someone that is not there anymore.
Matt Waters 45:14
Yeah, yeah. I've, I've only recently, I had to experience that myself as well having a thorough dive before even doing a dive. Just because the headspace wasn't right. And it's invaluable. absolutely invaluable. All right, here's another really difficult question for you. What are your top five bucket list destinations
Nathalie Lasselin 45:43
I that I didn't do or that I did.
Matt Waters 45:45
You might have done him or wished to do them. But if you had to write a bucket list and give your top five destinations as the best
Nathalie Lasselin 45:59
I would say Antarctica because I haven't done it yet. And I would like to compare to an Arctic Second, we'll be diving an iceberg. I on the flow edge, I love it because you cannot put a mark in your GPS because in a couple of days, it will not be there anymore. So you can't mark the dive site. And I love that fact that it's so ephemeral what else?
Matt Waters 46:34
So would you put the Arctic on there as well?
Nathalie Lasselin 46:38
Oh, yeah. Arctic is on my bucket list. And, and even if it's cold and sometime origin Oh, it's it's I love it. I love it just because it will not be the same iceberg. It's an iceberg, but it's not the same iceberg and you don't know maybe you're going to be able to dive it. And I remember one day within the course of the night, we lost more than three kilometres of flow edge of ice. Boom because of the winds. So the day before we're like, oh, tomorrow we're gonna dive there.
Matt Waters 47:14
Nathalie Lasselin 47:18
Why don't you want me to die if there's no iceberg anymore. So this is why I love it. It's amazing. Then there's, there's a shipwreck in in the centre once river called the city of Quebec. That is really, really nice. Another one is the good Nilda in the Great Lakes. It was a private yacht. That is 260 feet of water, which is pristine, really nice. Orcas I haven't I filmed the orcas but not dive with them. And it's on my list for next year. This is something I really want to do as well. cave diving and there's not a specific caves. They are all different. I dove in Cook RBD with yeah with I read Richard Aris Craig challen, and it was really really nice. We slept there. And it was amazing. It was a really nice dive.
Matt Waters 48:35
Five Yeah, there's definitely five there. Yeah,
Nathalie Lasselin 48:38
yeah. So and you know, and the places that don't know what, what to expect. Yeah. What to see if nobody died there.
Matt Waters 48:51
Just Just going back to the Arctic there. Did you did you see much wildlife while you're up there?
Nathalie Lasselin 48:58
Um, yeah. Well, when you are on the flow edge, not diving. But on the eyes. Basically, I think I checked all the box of what you can see there from you know, palabras belugas now was walrus. Fox must talk. We saw them all. Now all on the word was kind of not working. belugas for far away. But yeah, they are there but the most time you can spend there. And usually the best time is in near the end of June. It's just perfect. Yeah, because the ice is breaking the leader opening so all the wildlife is coming. Yeah.
Matt Waters 49:47
Yeah. Happy days. It almost makes me want to put a dry suit on and getting some cold water.
Nathalie Lasselin 49:54
You should come. It's amazing.
Matt Waters 49:58
I'll see I'll see if I can get the Get the message to sign off on the expense first. Okay, so final question on this one. How would you describe the dive community to a non diver?
Nathalie Lasselin 50:14
Well, there's different ways to describe the dive community. It's a bunch of people who spend 1000s of bucks on equipment, compare each other equipment, and I've loved lots of fun diving places it can be one of the descriptions. Um, honestly, I don't think there's one community of divers. You know, because they're there. There's the big community, but there are many communities of divers. You know, there's the ocean divers, the wreck divers, detect divers, the cave divers, the open water divers, the liveaboard divers, warm water only divers. But if you look at the community of divers that you met during festivals, or, or shows like us tech, or Silicon Valley, or beneath the sea, whatever. Those are people that before their own job, define themselves as being a diver. Because I think the value of the time spent, although on the water is the most important compared to the rest of their life. I think the someone who define him or herself as a diver, is that person that truly need to dive to be happy. Yeah, remove diving. It's not the same person. Yeah, I think it's, it's an addiction.
Matt Waters 52:08
It is massively.
Nathalie Lasselin 52:10
It is an addiction. So we are addicted people, to going on the water for so many different reason. But it's an addiction that makes us happy and participate in the good balance of our lives. Definitively. No matter the kind of divers your
Matt Waters 52:37
beauty, beauty. Last question for you, I'll consider letting you go after that. I'd love to know, or get a little insight into any future goals that you've gotten, you know, anything to do with your videography, photography, your exploration, what's what's on the horizon, and the long range plans for that.
Nathalie Lasselin 53:10
On the horizon, I really, really, really want to reach the original shore of the new land of the First Nation, people will land. I want to see it. And I want to bring back images for the community. Because it's been 60 years, since it has been flooded. And it's exactly like if you're your father, wanting to show your his grandkids where he was born. And is, is home, but you can't because it's there. But it's not there anymore. You can't access it. So for me, honestly, the way I see the my filming and the photography and my diving, it's really a means of transportation, of accessing places that are meaningful to some people, and in this situation is to the First Nation people. So for me, it's really important to to achieve that goal. It's going to be cold. It's going to be tough. We hope we're going to have the good weather because the weather is unpredictable. But I hope we're going to be able to reach that shore and do that jive. Yeah, this is what I finger cross
Matt Waters 54:48
will keep everything from Crossfield from this end of the world as well. I'm sure you'll have every success. Thank you. Natalie, it's been an absolute pleasure talking to you and thank you so much for coming on the show. You're a true inspiration to many, many people. And I look forward to many more of your adventures and maybe glass of bubbles at some point in the not too distant future.
Nathalie Lasselin 55:11
Yeah, thanks. Thanks, Matt. A lot of pleasure talking to you. Thanks for doing the podcast. sharing the experience and the stories of so many divers is inspiring others. And this is a huge contribution to the community. This is so important to do that. So thanks for taking the time to doing it.
Matt Waters 55:35
Lovely stuff. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Very humbling. Ladies and gents, I'm sure you'll enjoy this episode, and I look forward to hearing about Natalie's adventures. If you want to follow everything that she's doing then I'll put all the details in the show notes.