Part of project “Tireless People under 40”
Ina Dimitrova – age 34
I met this girl when I first hosted “Survivor” (“Expedition Robinson” in the Dominican Republic). She was a participant in this reality show. Humble, quiet and naive. That is how she was in the show. There was something very funny about her. On the tribal council, when they voted her out, she came without panties. She was sitting in an odd way and I asked her why. She said a wave hit her and her panties disappeared. There was much laughing. How would the wave hit you so your panties would disappear? But the fact was there. She came to this council with a shirt, hair and nothing else. Well, they threw her out. She just over-trusted her teammates and chose the wrong side. It should be noted about this game, because in her life she always takes the right side and is not at all naive and humble.
“Survivor” was over and next summer I decided to fulfil a dream of mine – to learn to dive. I went to Sozopol to visit Julian Vergov – at that time he had a caravan at camping Smokinia. I searched the net for diving centres in the area, and a few came up. I chose one that seemed the best, I called them and I agreed to go there the next morning. I went early in the morning, opened the door, and there was Ina standing in front of me. At first I got slightly confused what she was doing there, but then I remembered that she was a diver. I knew that from “Survivor”, I watched the casting videos of the participants, hers too, and there she was explaining about it. But I did not remember at all that I could call earlier. She was happy to see me, I was happy, and that is how my diving adventure with Ina began. She was my teacher in the next years. I started with the first level – Open Water. Every morning lectures, after that – diving. All summer was like that, going through the next levels – Advance Open Water, Rescue Diver and Dive Master for beginners.
I remember the first diving with her. It was on the island of Saint Ivan around Sozopol. It was exciting because I did not know how it was down there. My teacher turned out to be a dragon under water. After all, this is a risky business, if you underestimate some detail, unpleasant incidents may occur. She is pedantic under water. And very responsible. In some time, when I got better, we were splitting our sides with laughter under water – so much, that we were almost spitting our regulators.
Ina is a person who does a lot of things. She does not stop improving herself. She also does not stop developing this sport in Bulgaria. She constantly takes courses, about rescuing, deep diving with various mixtures, conducting extreme water savings. Almost year round, she runs courses for beginner too, and introduces them to the underwater world. In the winter in the Sofia indoor swimming pools, in the summer – in Sozopol. For several years, she was publishing the first luxury monthly diving magazine – Diving.bg. Extremely interesting reading for the keen divers. It had valuable tips and interviews with the big names in this field, tips for the right equipment, diving destinations and more, and more. She was publishing this magazine by herself, with enthusiasm and love for her calling. It was amazing, because if you think how complicated this activity is, how whole editorial boards of the large magazines, with many people working there, barely manage to do it, and she organized this process by herself with photos, writing texts, pre-publishing, distribution. And that was not all. She and her husband also own a diving shops chain in Sofia and Varna. It is also not an easy task – staff, supplies, repairs, accounting, salaries, advertising, customers. This she also did with a smile without blinking an eye. On top of all that was the diving centre, which she managed alone, and besides administrating it, she also dived with students and clients every day. A person gets very tired from one dive, it is very exhausting. And to do it every day, you need extra physical training.
We also travelled a lot, to dive in Greece and Jordan. She has also evolved a lot into underwater photography and video capture at serious depths. From Jordan I have a great memory she has made. A play with two clownfish that were both enjoying me and attacking me, but from aside it looks like a man has come to their world and they accept him and even enjoy him.
In the last few years, Ina has worked also for the great artist Christo Yavashev. She was involved in his project “Floating Piers” in Italy on Iseo Lake, and in “Mastaba” at Hyde Park – London. In these projects, Ina has played a leading role both in their making and in the logistics and organisation. To prepare the project in Italy, Ina and Rossen Zhelyazkov spend two years there and do things impossible in scale. Starting from bureaucracy, permits, talks with the government, manufacturing pier elements, labour, tests, a bunch of responsibilities, and day-to-day work. For these two years, she goes through a serious grinder, and as a result, nothing can scare her. And all this to achieve something overwhelming, which is huge in scale and complexity, but if you do it – you have taken a step further than the normal, the step that I too strive for. To exceed your own abilities! Only few people know that behind these large-scale projects of Christo stand these people. A professional diver and a girl who fights and wants to achieve big goals.
Precisely because of this desire to make a step beyond the possible, two years ago Ina has set the mission to become one of the few women to dive under 200 meters depth. An extremely dangerous thing, which requires tremendous preparation, knowledge and serious skills. So she becomes the second woman in the world to reach this depth. The diving takes place in the Red Sea, Rossen Zhelyazkov is with her, and Ina dives to 201 meters. Why does she need this? In such a diving, something small, a distraction, can kill you. Everything comes from the desire to achieve something great in your life. To leave even a small mark, something to show you that you have not lived in vain but you have enjoyed life in the best possible way.
Ina keeps on challenging herself. Now she has a mission with a charity work that she has initiated and realises. She is training for free the national wheelchair basketball team and she has set a goal this summer the whole team to dive in the Black Sea. The task is not easy, but she is sure that those athletes, who tirelessly work and present our country at all Paralympics, will take this step and will touch the underwater world. A noble mission, and it absolutely covers the quote “to give your neighbour what he does not have, without looking for reward”.
She is an example how people should not be judged by their appearance. When you meet her, nothing will tell you about the things described above. You will see a beautiful woman you would rather meet in a night club or in a beauty parlour. Yes, you can meet her there too, but that is some 5% of her. The important thing about Ina is that she is a person who does not whimper, does not deal with the talk of the town, but looks ahead and boldly sets great challenges. She perfects herself and never waits for someone to invite her.
We have become close with Ina. I have tried to help her with whatever I can. I do not have much time to dive, with all the work and my everyday life, but whenever I can do it I enjoy it a lot, because I return to the carefree summers when we were diving every day around Sozopol, we laughed and made nice memories for the old age!
Supported by NIVEA
Text – Vladimir Karamazov
Photographer – Vladimir Karamazov for #Karamazovfoto
15.07.2019 Vladimir Karamazov®