More doors have opened at Rich Coast Diving. We have started a new connection with Ernst van der Poll, founder of ConnectOcean Ernst will be helping out on expanding our Marine science program and as a Deptheraphy Instructor Trainer. We are now able to teach the Sin Limites Abilities Adaptive Diving program “We’re opening a big door so that people with reduced mobility problems can access the type of sports that normally are not accessible for people in wheelchairs.
Meet our first student: Natalia Vindas. The first Open Water certified disabled diver in Costa Rica. who has now started her PADI advanced and will soon be the first advanced open water certified disabled diver in Costa Rica thanks to Ernst.
“I feel very proud to be the first Tica to break that paradigm and show people the only limits are the ones in your head,”
Originally from Heredia, north of San José, Natalia became a civil engineer and traded the green mountains of the Central Valley for the pampas of Guanacaste, where she worked as a highway engineer.
One day in 2008, however, she lost control of her truck while not wearing a seat belt on the job. The truck rolled and launched her from the vehicle, breaking her back.
At 21, Natalia lost most of the mobility below her waist, and much of the self-reliance that she had come to enjoy living on her own. She needed help dressing, bathing and getting around as she adapted to life in a wheelchair.“That independence, that capacity to feel that I could do things for myself, that I could go where I wanted, that’s what I lost in the accident,” Natalia said. That’s the part of diving I love, because it gives me back that independence. I feel so free, I forget about the wheelchair.
Contact us if you have any questions about the program, or if you want to become and instructor for the All Abilities Adaptive Diving program
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Photo Courtesy Sean Davis