Karen van den Oever recently broke the women’s deep cave diving record.
Northern Cape, South Africa (01 April 2021) – Karen Van den Oever descended to 236.04 meters at the Boesmansgat Cave – a deep submerged freshwater cave in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Its altitude of over 1,500 metres makes this a particularly challenging dive, requiring a decompression schedule equivalent to a dive to 339 metres at sea level, but the determined South African managed to beat the previous women’s deep cave diving record by over 15 meters.
The greatest depth ever attained was by Nuno Gomes in 1996, diving to a depth of 282.6 metres which is currently the men’s record, and on the 24th of November 2004, Verna van Schaik set the Guinness Woman’s World Record for the deepest dive with a dive to 221 metres.
Van Den Oever started diving in 2001 while on holiday in the Eastern Cape; she later joined the Wits Underwater Club where she became an active member and committee member.
“It was here that I had the opportunity to meet Nuno Gomes and Verna van Schaik. Listening to the encounters of their expeditions and their journeys to become world record holders inspired me to move into technical diving; it was then that the seed was planted – maybe I too could one day attempt the woman’s world record.”
The dive lasted seven hours and 18 minutes.
“Getting to the point where I felt ready to attempt the record has been a very long journey to make sure my skills and knowledge where were they needed to be to ensure I came back alive.”
Before the dive and the days leading up to the dive, Van den Oever was very nervous and anxious, but as soon as she entered the water and started her descent, her focus was on the dive.
“You are truly present only in that moment with complete focus on the task at hand.”
The record winning South African believes that hard work and discipline can help anyone reach their goals!
“For anybody that has a dream or goal – it takes a lot of hard work and discipline to make it a reality, but the journey is very rewarding. Don’t give up, especially when things get tough; it’s not meant to be easy.”