Many scuba divers are lucky to go on dive trips once or twice a year. With the expense of travel and limited vacation time, that’s all they can afford. But Francesca Diaco wasn’t satisfied with that…
“Money doesn’t motivate me,” says Francesca. “What motivates me is making people happy and doing something I love.” So, she designed a new income and life that allowed her to indulge her love of the water as much as she wanted—at world class dive spots.
During the year, she travels around the world, including Micronesia, Indonesia, and the South Pacific, diving in the most pristine underwater environment in the world. But she spends nine months out of the year in Roatán, a Caribbean island just offshore of mainland Honduras and smack dab in the middle of some of the globe’s best diving.
“My home is here. My dog is here. I have a tight-knit group of friends. It doesn’t take long to make friends on Roatán. There’s an openness here. We have barbecues at people’s houses…we hang out on the deck…or we’ll meet up at Sundowners (a local beach bar) for a sunset drink,” says Francesca.
On Roatán she enjoys the laidback island vibe. “I get up in the morning and walk my dog. I see everybody on the beach. I do my work on the computer. Then I go diving. It’s a really relaxing life,” says Francesca.
Roatán has long been on divers’ radar because the Mesoamerican Reef is just offshore—it’s a quick motor out—and there are dozens of places to see tropical fish, sea turtles, stingrays, lobster, and other species.
But Francesca has taken it a level further. Early in her dive career, after becoming a dive instructor and dive master, she learned underwater photography—getting published in some of the world’s premier dive magazines. And has now turned this skill into multiple different incomes.
She organizes specialized underwater photography tours, through her business Fisheye Expeditions, where she and her clients live aboard a boat that travels to the best and most remote dive sites at premier dive destinations in Micronesia and beyond. During expeditions Francesca mentors her clients and helps them create an underwater photo portfolio.
She also offers training in underwater photography online through her business Roatán Underwater Photography, something she can do whether she’s home in Roatán or on the road anywhere else in the world. Likewise, her students can be anywhere in the world.
“Underwater photography is like muscle. You lose it if you don’t use it. So, these classes are like a refresher course between dive trips to keep my clients’ skills fresh or to get ready for an upcoming trip. I also teach them how to edit photos and pick the right photos to submit to dive publications,” explains Francesca, who also sells and rents out underwater photography equipment.
“I do many things because you can’t make 100% of your living publishing underwater photography. I have a true passion for teaching this skill.”
It’s a far cry from the 70- to 80-hour weeks Francesca worked in the corporate world before quitting to travel the world as a scuba diver. She now has frequent stints in Costa Rica, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, and, of course, Roatán.
“I wanted to travel and have a more peaceful life…and really connect with people,” says Francesca.
And in her new life and work, she’s found the peace and happiness she was looking for.
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