Diving In Malaysia
Downbelow Team Remove Killing Machine from the Seabed
Recently, the staff and crew from Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures in Sabah, Malaysia - a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre - got together and removed a hazardous illegal fishing net from a popular dive site.
The rather large net was found tangled among corals in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park in Sabah, Borneo.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is located just 10 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah. It was gazetted in 1974 as a state national park and is known for its stunning waters, beautiful coral gardens and its 5 islands with sandy beaches and rainforest.
The illegal net that was found is believed to have been left by irresponsible fishermen after it became tangled with the corals and evidently releasing the creatures proved too difficult.
Probably the thought of making an easy catch by dragging their nets through the shallow waters proved too tempting for the fishermen.
The danger posed to marine life by the discarded net does not end there though, it goes from bad to worse. Animals trapped by the net become prey for others - then predators are also trapped by the same net and so the killing cycle goes on and on until someone removes the net.
This particular net was quite large and it required strong team work from all of the crew from Dive Downbelow and also their PADI Go Pro candidates who were completing their professional internship programs with the dive centre.
In the end the net was removed, although sadly some fish had already perished.
In an ideal world, we won’t be finding nets in the park. But even though they might not be used for fishing so close to shore, sadly the nets sometimes become swept into the calmer waters. However with responsible dive centres such as Downbelow, at least we can remove them as quickly as possible to reduce the loss of life.
"Conservation is a big part of what people want to learn here, they want to learn the whole aspect of diving and protecting and conserving our environment" said Richard Swann (resident PADI Course Director).
See the video of this project from Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYecDfV2tiA
For more information please contact Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures in Sabah:
Phone: +60 88 488 997
Phone: +60 12 866 1935
Diving in Malaysia
PADI Seal Team Diving at Kids Scuba Camp Mabul, Sipadan in Sabah 2012 - 3 new members join the PADI ‘Master’ Seal Team
A team from Kids Scuba - a PADI Dive Centre in Malaysia - had a wonderful time at the annual Kids Scuba Camp held at Borneo Divers Mabul Resort, Sabah, Malaysia from 7 – 11 December, 2012.
The group of 12 children who attended the Camp were a mix of PADI Seal Team members and Junior Open Water students between the ages of 9 to 16.
A team of 5 PADI dive professionals and instructors from Kids Scuba and Borneo Divers assisted the kids on their dives with the Seal Team Kids allocated in groups of 2 to each instructor.
A well organised function, Kids Scuba Camp Mabul Sipadan 2012 was coordinated with the support and cooperation from Borneo Divers Mabul Resort, PADI Asia Pacific, Tourism Malaysia, SportDiving Magazine, DiveLog Australasia and A & L Adventure & Leisure Sdn. Bhd.
Departing from the picturesque Borneo Divers Resort jetty, one of the pioneer resorts in Mabul Island, Sabah, the speed boat with the kids, their instructors and parents passed by Mabul Village in sparkling calm seas during the 30 minutes journey to renown Sipadan Island, Sabah.
Approaching Sipadan Island on the turquoise, calm blue waters, the scenery is breathtaking and a promise of things to come. Arriving at the jetty built by Sabah Parks Authority on Sipadan Island, the first impression is one of peace, tranquility and a balanced eco-system of natural marine environment and beauty.
Back to the adventure! On arrival at the Sipadan jetty, one of the kids saw a lone 4ft Barracuda relaxing in shallow water beneath the jetty. It was a truly amazing moment for them all to come face to face with a real barracuda at the shore line. Following that, the kids went straight to the beach to enjoy the turquoise blue waters of the Island.
Sipadan boasts a tremendous diversity of marine life which lives in harmony within the coral and clownfish colony. It’s a reminder of how we human beings in modern civilizations should reside and practice in our everyday lives.
It was the first time ever that the Kids Scuba Camp participants and PADI Seal Team Kids got to view and enjoy the healthy marine life of Sipadan Island, from clown fish, jacks and sharks, to the great barracuda. A slow, patient approach with good buoyancy is necessary - especially for the new Kids Scuba divers - to really understand this unique experience and appreciate marine life.
They slowly descend from shore to a depth of 3m to 5m to view the lively and beautiful corals in protected Sabah Parks – and for the first time - to scuba dive alongside schools of fish. As they turn around, they catch a glimpse of a black tip shark swimming past. They dive and pass through the schools of “Jacks” in the thousands and later notice a huge school of barracuda circling near in the shallow waters.
One can imagine the length of each healthy barracuda swimming by - as long as 3 to 4ft - following their leader in circles. Excited at being so close to these sea creatures, they dive slowly over a group of clown fish hiding among the soft corals, buffeted by the sea current. Shortly, they see a group of parrotfish feeding on coral.
Near Sipadan Island, the Kids Scuba group managed 2 dives per day to a max depth of 5 meters, between which they seemed to do nothing but dive, play on the beach and squeeze in a quick lunch before going for their second dive.
During the surface interval time, a special graduation was held by the instructors for 3 boys, - Syamil Addin, 10, Syamil Imran and Syamil Irfan, both 9 - as they had qualified as PADI “Master” Seal Team Members, the highest level in the PADI Seal Team program. It was truly a proud moment for the family and parents.
On the way back to Mabul Island in the late afternoon - after all the fun and adventure dives - everyone was exhausted and did nothing but relax on the boat.
“Service and professionalism is up there with best dive trip organized by Borneo Divers Team and undoubtedly the most well planned trip by the organizer of the Kids Scuba Team”, said Dr. Khamsiah Muda, one of the parents accompanying her three sons Syamil Addin - 10, Syamil Imran - 9 and Syamil Irfan – 9, on the trip.
Even the non-divers were not forgotten. Snorkeling or just lazing around kept everybody occupied. Mabul and Sipadan Island, Sabah are perfectly good destinations for families with kids and teens who want to get away for a few days from the hectic city life. However, as the control of the quota of divers and snorkelers visiting the islands is now conserving the marine environment, less stress on the reef is becoming more evident.
As quoted from one of the parents - Mr Khoo with his two sons, -
“My 2 sons, Aloysius -10 and Alexander -12 truly enjoyed themselves at the Camp. It was their first experience diving in the open water and Syed and his Kids Scuba team ensured that they were well taken care off. The Camp not only taught them diving skills but also taught them about underwater marine conservation and more importantly strengthened the bond between father and sons. They also made new friends and can't wait for the next Camp. As Aloysius exclaimed - "Daddy, I feel like I am in a huge aquarium!!" - Thank you Kids Scuba.
PADI Instructor and Director of Kids Scuba, Syed Abd Rahman concludes,
“The serene setting of Mabul Island with a truly fantastic sunset - brings another perfect day to an end. The hardest thing about Mabul and Sipadan Island during Kids Scuba Camp is when we have to leave. All too soon it is time to return home, leaving what is truly one of the world’s greatest scuba diving spots and the perfect marine educational experience.”
Kids Scuba Camp, Malaysia – Mabul & Sipadan are also featured in X-Ray Mag, January, 2013 Global Edition read here
KIDS SCUBA - PADI Youth Diver Education Award Dive Center
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Website : www.kidsscuba.com
Diving in Malaysia
Downbelow’s Finathon™ A Big Win For Shark Finning Awareness
Twenty-four shark-lovers took to the waters of the TAR Park in Kota Kinabalu during Downbelow’s Finathon recently to go swimming to end shark finning.
The first of its kind in Asia, the Finathon is a 1km swimming marathon for which participants raise shark finning awareness and funds, 100% of which goes to Project AWARE Foundation, a non-profit that fights for global legislation against shark finning.
“We were amazed by all the support,” said Joanne Swann, Downbelow’s Marketing Director. “We can’t thank everyone who contributed enough, especially the funds they raised,” she said.
A total of RM14,709 was raised to support the fight against shark finning.
“The variety of supporters was astonishing,” said Downbelow’s Director Richard Swann, “which goes to show that people from all walks of life, regardless of age, care about the preservation of sharks.”
“This was a healthy and fun way to raise awareness for an important cause,” he said about the Finathon, which made such an impact that funding has already been pledged for the next one.
The Finathon's 1km, open-sea route, started at the Sabah Parks jetty at Downbelow’s Gaya island dive centre, stretched out to Turtle House Reef 500m away and back again. Individuals and teams, whose members each swam the entire 1km of the course, made up the Finathon participants.
Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre staff made sure participants was safe at all times. 3 boats, 3 kayaks and 6 Dive Instructors in life-rings stationed along the route ensured a fun experience for all.
After the last swimmer was out of the water a celebratory lunch was served, during which certificates and prizes were handed out. A talk about the importance of the Finathon’s anti-shark finning message underscored the day’s importance.
Companies who showed that they care about sharks, and donated generously to the Finathon, includes Kinabalu International School, Shangri La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Pulau Sipadan Resort, Sipadan Mabul Resort, Sepilok Jungle Resort, A&L Leisure, Sabah Parks and members of Downbelow’s KK Dive Club.
Heaps of encouragement and support were also received from Datuk Masidi Manjun and Sabah’s Ministry of Tourism, the family and friends of all who attended, Downbelow’s Instructor Development Course, IDCS interns and Downbelow’s office and island staff team.
For more information about how you too can help sharks, visit http://DiveDownbelow.com/project-aware/ or call Downbelow on 088 488 997.
Diving in Malaysia
Kids Scuba Camp Mabul, Sipadan Island - from 7 - 11 December, 2012
Kids Scuba, a PADI Dive Center specialising in diving for kids and teens are organising another exciting year-end Kids Scuba Camp in Mabul, Sipadan from 7 - 11 December 2012.
The Camp will be held in conjunction with Borneo Divers Mabul Resort, a PADI 5 Star Dive Center. Plans are in place for another fun-filled celebration of diving and marine education for kids and their families.
The 5day/4night package fee is ex Tawau airport. Kindly arrange your own return flight ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau.
PADI Instructor and Director of Kids Scuba, Syed Abd Rahman says, “Come join us for the Camp and get to see the lovely turtles of Sipadan and win lots of prizes including dive equipment!”
Kindly email to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org- if you need further information.
Diving in Malaysia
New PADI Instructors on Gaya Island, Kota Kinabalu
George Wegmann, PADI Asia Pacific Instructor Examiner reports that all the candidates were successful from the PADI Instructor Exam conducted on Gaya Island, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia from 12-13 September 2012.
Gaya Island is the largest island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, just 10 minutes by boat from downtown Kota Kinabalu and is covered with dense virgin, tropical forest.
Kota Kinabalu - the capital of the resource-rich State of Sabah in East Malaysia - is experiencing a renaissance in professional level PADI training activities. The newly-certified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors all have plans of exploring the myriad tropical islands and world-class dive sites in the region.
The internship programmes of PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centres, Downbelow and Diverse Borneo offer great preparation and training for these avid new professionals. The PADI Course Directors on this occasion were Mark Hedger and Richard Swann.
Great job everybody on the excellent Instructor Exam results!
Diving in Malaysia
Kids Scuba Camp - Pulau Payar Langkawi 2012 Graduates - two new members join the PADI “Master” Seal Team
Kids Scuba in Malaysia have just completed another successful kids scuba camp held in Pulau Payar Island Marine Park, Langkawi Island, Malaysia in which two PADI Seal Team members became PADI ‘Master’ Seal Team graduates.
It all started when Ms. Amni Marsha and Ms. Najwa Amni - both 8 year olds - took up the PADI Seal Team program run by Kids Scuba in November 2011. They started with the five Aqua Mission pool training sessions held every Saturday with Kids Scuba at the Maybank Training academy swimming pool in Bangi, 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur.
Once they had completed the five pool Aqua Mission sessions where they were trained on scuba skills very much similar to the adult program, they then continued further with the Aqua Mission specialties in the pool which include underwater navigation and underwater photography - where they can take photos of their friends underwater and learn about safety and the disciplines of scuba.
During the recent Kids Scuba Camp held in Pulau Payar Marine Park Langkawi Island from August 23 – 26, 2012, Amni and Najwa - now 9 years olds, officially graduated as PADI “Master” Seal Team members after successfully completing 15 Aqua Mission specialties from January – July 2012. It was truly a proud moment for the family and parents for the two cute little girls from Kids Scuba to achieve the highest level in the PADI Seal Team program.
The next Kids Scuba Camp for 2012 will be held in Mabul/ Sipadan Island Sabah from 07 – 11 December 2012, the 5d/4n scuba camp will be held at Borneo Divers Mabul Resort. Interested families - please email to email@example.com or visit www.kidsscuba.com.
Diving in Malaysia
Kids Scuba try Night Diving in Kuala Lumpur
Kids Scuba, a PADI Dive Center in Malaysia had their Annual Night Dive on Saturday, August 04, 2012. The event was held at the Maybank Training academy swimming pool, Bangi, 30 minutes from Kuala Lumpur.
The Night Dive was attended by 15 members of Kids Scuba - PADI Seal Team kids and Junior Open Water students. During the program, the kids watched an educational video on night diving procedures and this was followed by a briefing by Kids Scuba Divemasters on Night Diving equipment.
The kids and teens were grouped into 5 teams with their dive leaders and later scuba dived for about 30 minutes in the swimming pool environment under the watchful eyes of qualified Instructors and Divemasters from Kids Scuba.
The Night Dive is part of the PADI Seal Team Aquamission speciality training for the kids and teens in a swimming pool environment. There was a special graduation for one of the PADI Seal Team students, Ms Nethiasri Poobalan who qualified as a PADI Seal Team Member.
For more info on scuba diving activities for kids and teens, please check www.kidsscuba.com or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Also featured in Dive Log Australasia, September, 2012 click here
PADI Seal Team student, Ms Nethiasri Poobalan qualified as a PADI Seal Team Member, awarded by PADI Instructor and Director of Kids Scuba, Syed Abd Rahman.
The kids are briefed by Kids Scuba Divemasters on Night Diving equipment.
Diving in Malaysia
PADI Instructor, Syed Abd Rahman from PADI Dive Centre, Kids Scuba in Malaysia has expressed his thanks to PADI Asia Pacific for supporting the 2011 Kids Scuba Camp – an event which is held annually in Mabul.
“Words cannot describe my thanks to all of you in making a dream come true for another successful camp with the families. In another milestone for our Kids Scuba Camp Mabul, please see the following articles on Kids Scuba Camp at Borneo Divers Mabul Resort
Diving in Malaysia
PADI Course Director Training Course in Sabah, Malaysia
The ultimate goal for those Instructors who take recreational diving seriously and who believe that they have what it takes to help shape diving’s future in a positive way, participants from all around the world recently gathered in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, to attend PADI’s prestigious, Course Director Training Course (CDTC).
The highest achievable level of training within the PADI system – and representing less than 2% of the PADI membership worldwide – the twelve-day CDTC trains experienced PADI Master Instructors from all over the world in the responsibilities and duties of a Course Director.
40 PADI Master Instructors from 21 different countries including Poland, Mauritius, The Seychelles, Spain, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Japan, The Netherlands, Quebec and Croatia completed the PADI CDTC programme in March this year, including 13 attendees from the Asia Pacific region.
The large gathering of diving instructors from varied backgrounds and cultures made for an interesting course and added a truly international element to the programme.
The course comprised nine days of developmental work followed by three days of evaluation by PADI staff from the international offices. Included in the program were optional courses for PADI Oxygen Provider Instructor Trainer, PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Specialty Instructor Trainer and Sidemount Instructor Trainer.
Kota Kinabalu is an ideal location for this programme, with excellent conference facilities at the Shangri La Resort, an open water location a short boat ride away at Mamutik Island in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and outstanding logistical support from Borneo Divers – all this, with the warm climate and friendly people from Sabah.
Congratulations to all the new PADI Course Directors!
Left to right, back row:
Danny Dwyer, PADI Asia Pacific’s Director of Marketing and Business Development; Holly Macleod; Ikuma Aoyama; Mike Holme, PADI Asia Pacific’s Director of Training and Quality Management; Dmitriy Sobolev; Frans Rattu; Cedric Genet; Terry Hua (translator) and Wu Hua.
Tomasz Snaidowski; Johnny Chew, PADI Asia Pacific Regional Manager; Ching Ching Wong; Jamie Cox; Lee Butler; Marc Van Der Poel and Chanatip Arm Imsabai.