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Melville photographer swims with sea turtles

Sea Turtles were once very endangered in Hawaii but have made a nice come back now that they are protected.

MELVILLE - Turtles have long fascinated Melville’s Tracy Kerestesh. 

“I love Sea Turtles,” she told Yorkton This Week. “They are such sweet peaceful creatures.” 

So as a professional photographer it was only natural Kerestesh wanted the opportunity to shoot photos of the turtles in their natural environment.  

But, to shoot sea turtles you need to be able to go into the ocean to where they live, so Kerestesh learned how to dive. 

“I have my Padi Dive Master and have logged about 160 dives in the last five years,” she said. 

That includes a recent trip to Hawaii to dive with turtles. 

“They (Sea Turtles) were once very endangered in Hawaii but have made a nice come back now that they are protected,” said Kerestesh. 

It wasn’t her first visit either. In fact, it is almost a favourite spot. 

“This is a spot I've been to about five times,” said Kerestesh. “Honokeana Cove is a sweet little cove north of Lahaina on Maui and has a large resident Sea Turtle population. 

“I just rent air tanks and dive from shore.  

“I love Maui, our honeymoon was spent there almost 40 years ago and I get there as often as I can. I love all wildlife -- above and below the water.” 

Through the years Kerestesh has added photographic gear suitable to underwater work. 

“In the ocean I have photographed lots of sea creatures,” she said. “I have an underwater camera, lights and housing, a Sealife DC200; it's not as high-end as my portrait cameras but it does a nice job.” 

And, it is well-used too, not always with gentle turtles as the focus. 

“I have done one shark dive in Bahamas and two in Roatan, Hondouras,” said Kerestesh. “I've also gone swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico.” 

It has become a passion for the prairie photographer. 

“I'm coming 60 in February,” said Kerestesh.” Diving was a bucket list thing after our grandson died of leukemia eight years ago.” 

And there are still adventures Kerestesh dreams of. 

“My bucket list dive (now) would be Manta Rays and possibly Hump Back whales possibly at Sorocco, an island off the tip of Mexico, or Elliot Island off of Australia,” she said. 

“My next adventure though is to Belize in December to dive with my daughter. It will be her first diving trip so I'm excited about that.”

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