It is with great honor and respect that we share the remarkable journey and enduring legacy of one of our own, Jorge Rodriguez (NAUI# 11062L). We are also proud to announce that Jorge’s daughter, Catalina Rodriguez (NAUI# 61085), assumed the role of NAUI Rep for Central South America. Jorge’s story is one of passion, dedication, and a deep connection to both land and sea, all while mentoring and leading his daughter to carry on his legacy as a NAUI professional.
During his time at university, Jorge’s pursuit of adventure led him to the Andes mountains in Colombia, where he became a trailblazing figure in rock climbing and mountaineering. His dream of reaching the summit of Mount Everest remained one of his greatest ambitions.
Yet, Jorge’s desire for exploration extended beyond the mountains. While double majoring in physical educationwith a focus on aquatics and economics, he discovered a profound fascination with the ocean. In 1980, he embarked on a new journey by becoming a scuba diver.
Jorge’s scuba diving journey began in Colombia, where he sought instruction from a limited pool of experts. It was after achieving his advanced open water certification that he found his home within the NAUI community, becoming Instructor #11062 in 1989. From that moment onward, Jorge devoted himself to upholding NAUI’s vision of enabling people to enjoy underwater activities as safely as possible by providing the highest quality practical education.
Jorge was unwavering in his belief that every student should be exceptionally well-prepared, embodying the core NAUI principle of “dive safety through education. “His reputation within the Colombian diving community soared, earning him a place of honor as a resolute and devoted NAUI instructor.
However, Jorge’s contributions extended beyond the classroom. He enjoyed organizing seminars and workshops, ensuring that instructors throughout Colombia were equipped to educate their students in safe diving practices and marine conservation. Once again, Jorge emerged as a pioneering force in the realm of scuba diving in Colombia.
In a testament to his lasting influence, Jorge taught up to four generations of family members during his lifetime. Beyond being a NAUI instructor, he served as a beacon of motivation for fitness, health, and life. His commitment to promoting NAUI’s thorough educational standards never wavered, as he instilled in his students the values of safety and proficiency.
In June of 2023, Jorge passed away, but his legacy lives on through his daughter, Catalina Rodriguez. Catalina, raised in an environment immersed in the ocean, shared her parents’ passion for the sea.
She transitioned from snorkeling to freediving, eventually earning her open-water certification in the Colombian Pacific Ocean at the age of 16. Her early years were spent working in the family’s dive shop and attending scuba conventions.
Catalina’s journey with NAUI began at a young age, and she diligently completed every required course, culminating in her preparation for the Instructor Trainer Workshop. Her father’s words echoed in her ears: “You are my representation, and you are NAUI.” She realized the depth of his training and guidance as she ventured into the world as a NAUI leader in Santa Marta, Colombia.
Despite initial challenges in a male-dominated field, Catalina persevered, earning respect and recognition for her skills and dedication. She evolved from being “Jorge’s daughter” to proudly being known as “Catalina, the NAUI girl.”
Jorge’s guidance extended further, as he began mentoring Catalina in expanding NAUI’s presence in Central South America. He saw her potential and encouraged her to network with fellow NAUI members.
With his passing, Catalina assumed the role of NAUI Rep for Central and North of South America and joined the Diversity Committee of NAUI. In these positions, Catalina aspires to reconnect the NAUI Latin America community with the global NAUI network. She seeks to honor her father’s legacy by becoming the NAUI leader he envisioned, representing NAUI with unwavering pride and dedication.
With time, dedication, conviction, and hard work, we can realize the positive change we all seek. As we evolve, so does NAUI. Let us believe in ourselves, our agency, and our mission to connect people with the sea and protect it.