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Karen Tredger – the first woman to dive Protea Banks

Karen Tredger … Wow!!! Where do you even start with this ’badass’ instructor that can teach us all something, in her 27 years of diving Protea Banks.

Karen was not just one of the first woman, but also part of the first group of divers brave enough take on these so called ‘ Shark Infested Waters’ of Protea Banks. This is well worth a read …

“On the 29th January 1992, I organised the first scuba dive on Protea Banks. I hired a fishing boat called 'Sensational' as there were no dive boats at Shelly Beach Ski Boat Club in those days. Divers from Durban came to join this unknown dive … all we knew was that there were sharks everywhere, from the stories told by the fishermen who would regularly have their catches eaten by sharks.

We ‘armed’ ourselves with pool cues, bang sticks and spear guns because we didn’t know what to expect. Other scuba divers thought we were crazy but it was an amazing dive with lots of Zambezi (Bull) sharks and Oceanic Blacktip sharks. We couldn’t wait to organise the next dive!!!

I still dive Protea Banks, 27 years later. There is no need for pool cues, bang sticks and spear guns which we soon abandoned; the sharks were just not interested in harming us.

Aqua Planet Dive Centre and Charter has a great vibe, with friendly staff and locals divers which add to the fun of each dive. Kym and her crew go out of their way to help everyone from the beginner diver to the most experienced, which gives each person the best possible experience.

General tips I would give to new Protea Banks divers would be to listen carefully to the dive briefing and ask questions about anything that concerns you. Stay fairly close to the Divemaster who is excellent at spotting sharks. Due to the depth, a nice slow ascent and long safety stop at the end of the dive.

I still get a thrill to see sharks every time I dive on the Protea Banks, the best being Tiger sharks and Zambezi (Bull) sharks … also don’t forget the schools of Hammerhead sharks. Protea Banks is always exciting and you never know what to expect … maybe a Sailfish or Dolphins … there is plenty of other sea life to see.

I enjoy telling people who don’t dive with sharks how incredible shark diving is. I encourage them to understand that sharks will not harm them.”

Karen Tredger
PADI #305596
NAUI #13276 (Course Director retired)

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