Photo thanks to Phillip Willis.
Kym Pollard - PADI Staff Instructor, Surf Launch Skipper & Owner
‘Two thirds of the earth is covered with water and anyone who does not dive has been short changed by life and has seen only part of what our planet has to offer.’ – taken from Len Jones’s Guide to Spearfishing.
Being a coastal girl, I have been fortunate enough to have had the ocean as my playground. My dad was an avid diver, fisherman and surfer. For as long as I can remember, I was spending my weekends and school holidays on the beach or on my dad’s fishing boat ‘Polly’. After school I started studying but could not see myself in an office job ...
The travel bug bit, I traveled extensively and worked in the United Kingdom and Switzerland. In Egypt I did my Open Water Course in the Red Sea - it was love at first dive and I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life. Funny enough, I also saw a small reef shark, which started my interest and passion for SHARKS. On my return to South Africa I continued with my diving. In 2000 I did my Instructors and got involved with AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER.
PROTEA BANKS is my ‘home’. I have been diving on PROTEA BANKS for more than 17 years and still get excited each and every time I get to dive it. It is a ‘wild’ dive site in the fact that each and every day is totally different and I have had MIND BLOWING experiences, diving with a wide variety of shark species, including: TIGER SHARKS, BULL (ZAMBEZI) SHARKS, RAGGED-TOOTH SHARKS, OCEANIC BLACKTIP SHARKS and the odd Great White ... to name just a few. With the incredible shark diving on PROTEA BANKS it is very hard to pick a favourite dive ... BUT if I had to, it is diving with hundreds to thousands of shoaling HAMMERHEAD SHARKS on PROTEA BANKS … I cannot even try and explain the feeling …
AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER is a ‘small family business’ where our motto is: ‘Arrive as a diver, leave as a friend’.
AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER is not a business to me, it is my passion!
Jaco Esterhuyse - PADI Divemaster & Surf Launch Skipper
In January 2010, I completed my PADI Open Water Course and immediately fell in love with diving and the ocean. I decided to make a career out of it and in June that same year I applied for a job at AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER, which I got. Over the past 7 years I have worked my way up in the dive centre, getting to know all the aspects and running’s of AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER. During this period I also obtained my PADI Divemaster and Skippers license. I am currently the main Skipper at AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER. I still love diving and being Skipper for AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER and I look forward to each and every day out at sea on PROTEA BANKS.
Mighael van Staden – PADI Divemaster & Surf Launch Skipper
I am Miggie. I started scuba diving with AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER when I was just 12 years old. Over the years I worked my way up to PADI Divemaster, through AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER. I am passionate about diving and love all marine life. I will never give up diving at PROTEA BANKS! What a privilege to dive with SHARKS and all the adventures that go with it.
Michelle Boshoff - PADI Divemaster
I started scuba diving when I was 14 and immediately fell in love with it. Unfortunately, I did not have many opportunities to dive. After finishing school I decided I wanted a career in the dive industry and needed some experience. I got the opportunity to work at AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER, while completing my PADI Divemaster Internship with Kym. The ‘crew’ made me feel welcome right away with their sense of humour, kindness and hospitality. I have been given the opportunity to build a career out of something I love to do and I will always be thankful. I am a Divemaster on PROTEA BANKS.
Samantha Strecker - PADI Divemaster
As soon as I did my PADI Discover Scuba Diver (DSD), in Mozambique, I WAS HOOKED!!!! I just loved the feeling of being able to breath underwater and enjoy seeing all the beautiful living things under the water. I gave up my whole life in Johannesburg and moved to the coast so that I could start doing my PADI Divemaster Internship, with AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER. I am so very happy that I have made this choice because the people are so friendly and also very welcoming. I am very grateful for this opportunity and I am now a Divemaster on PROTEA BANKS.
Dirk Pienaar - Skipper
Since a young age I have been around the ocean. I love being under the water if it is spear fishing or just sitting on the ocean fishing waiting for that good catch. I have done my Open Water Course. I have my skippers now, it’s my dream to work as a skipper on Protea Banks. I just love being able to see the amazing things not everyone gets to see. I see it every day that I am out at sea. I love the Ocean … Thank you Aqua Planet for the opportunity.
Donovan Perrins – PADI DMT (Divemaster In Training)
My love and respect for the ocean, with all its wonders, started in 2013. I signed up for my PADI Open Water Course with AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER. Upon completing the course, I knew that I had found my dream job. While still employed at my previous job, I went on to complete my PADI Advanced Open Water Course and PADI Rescue Diver Course. I have since started my PADI Divemaster Internship with AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER and couldn’t be happier with my new career choice!
Nothile ‘Nothie Girl’ Mfukuli – Tourism Intern
Upon completing N4, N5 and N6 in travel and tourism at Esayidi Tvet Collage, I got the opportunity to do an internship in tourism at AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER, in August 2017. My goal is to gather as much knowledge and ideas about scuba diving and the tourism world around it. So far I have already learnt a lot. All the different sharks, marine life and beautiful colours makes it amazing to be part of such a different world. Soon you will see me blowing bubbles and one day I will be teaching the world about diving, sharks and all the exciting adventures the underwater world has to offer.
Ntombentle ‘ Zee’ Xhapha – Tourism Intern
I did a course in travel and tourism with and was hooked. I did my N4, N5 and N6 with excitement knowing I’m working towards something better. I arrived at AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER for tourism training and could not be happier and more thankful for the opportunity. I am super excited to learn about scuba diving and about the different people from around the world who come to our beautiful country to dive. I would like to do my dive courses and then help spread the word about scuba diving in South Africa. Hopefully one day I will end up working with people from all over the world.
Zanele ’Bonitta’ Makhosimani - Tourism Intern
I am Zanele Makhosimani but some call me Bonitta. I am South African and was born in Bizana, Eastern Cape. From a very young age, I knew how to interact with different people and cultures, which made me even more interested in tourism. I studied tourism at Nombuso High School and from then I realised the importance of tourism. I continued my studies in travel and tourism at tertiary to learn even more. I am now with AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER doing my in service training, learning all about the tourism world and the underwater world. Diving is amazing not just because all the wonders under the water, but cause it brings people together from all over the world. In the next 5 years I would like to open my own dive centre to greet the world!
Dru de Bruyn – Divemaster in training ... long term
My mommy owns and runs AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER. I have grown up in the dive centre ... and have a passion for SHARKS. I am busy with my PADI Junior Open Water Course and my first dive in the sea was on a BAITED SHARK DIVE ... it was so amazing and the SHARKS came in so so so close. I can’t wait to finish my course and continue diving.
Ty de Bruyn - Divemaster in training ... long, long term
My mommy is a PADI Staff Instructor and owns AQUA PLANET DIVE CENTRE AND CHARTER. She is my inspiration, so of course I want to do what she does ... breathe underwater. It was so awesome when at age 8, I snorkelled my first BAITED SHARK DIVE. I just wanted to be under the water and much closer to the SHARKS. I am not scared of SHARKS ... for as long as I remember I have heard all the divers talk about the different SHARKS on PROTEA BANKS ... I LOVE SHARKS!!!! I am busy with my PADI Junior Open Water Course.