He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on September 24, 1958, although he insisted that his birthday was every September 16th when he celebrated another year of diving: his passion, his life. Those of us who were fortunate enough to accompany him in any underwater setting know that it was true, as he said. From that day forward, he lived with a passion, enamored and utterly captivated by the sea. Such was his obsession that he would reveal to us a secret of the sea every week, secrets that he knew well: “One cannot defend what one does not love, and one cannot love what one does not know,” right?
He was a silent witness underwater to almost all the secrets he unveiled. He was there; he knew the sea, and that’s why he could love and defend it as he always did.
And he continues to do so from where he is now because, unfortunately, on April 6, 2007, he left us. He died in the sea he loved so much, under a starry sky, with his fins and mask. He simply jumped into the water to swim, and the energy of his heart depleted. It happened in his beloved sea, in the best place he could have chosen.
I feel responsible for writing these lines because I witnessed, in May 2001, the birth in his mind and heart of the Secrets of the Sea, which he wrote with such affection every week, and because I read each edition before they were published. I am sure that he would have wanted those of us who are his disciples to continue his work, and we will do so with great humility and respect, seeking guidance and searching in his extensive library of marine biology and diving for a new secret to unveil. He wanted all of us to know the sea, so that we could love and care for it as he did because protecting, caring for, and spreading awareness about the sea was not just a matter of words for him; it was his way of life.
His professional achievements are remarkable and numerous, and he will always be an obligatory reference in the history of diving for his teaching methods. His classrooms have seen a significant number of students, with a current count of 3,850 certified divers since 1977. Undoubtedly, a record number of certified students. His courses have produced recreational divers, professional divers, military personnel, and firefighters. Currently, he held the position of instructor of instructors, the highest category that can be attained in diving education systems, granted by S.S.I. (Scuba Schools International).
He left an immense and invaluable legacy for all of us who loved him, followed him, worked with him, dove with him, and shared time with him. He was our teacher, mentor, guide, and always made us feel that he was “just another companion.” He constantly taught us humility, being “great” as he was, and we were proud to stand by his side.
I will never forget a particular class, during my first-level course many years ago, when Tito Rodríguez asked us to investigate “why do whales jump?” It had never occurred to me that something like that had so much to do with what I had come to seek in that diving course… From that course on, I never stopped being by his side and working with him at the Argentine Diving Institute, which he directed.
The pain seems to have no end today. His family, his three children, his friends, his colleagues, we find no solace. His former and current students still can’t believe it. Those who no longer physically accompany us only die if we forget them, and that’s why Tito Rodríguez will continue “living” among us because we will never, ever forget him. Thank you, MASTER, and until the next dive…
Claudia A. Pastorino
OWD SSI Instructor #37,569
Staff at the Argentine Diving Institute
“One cannot defend what one does not love, and one cannot love what one does not know.”