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Regiona News Archive - Malaysia

 October, 2011  

Diving in Malaysia  

A week of PADI Diving Courses and Project AWARE conservation  

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah:   It has been a busy period at Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, taking 2 large groups under their wing for a frenzy of PADI diver training.  

Downbelow’s dive centre hosted 2 adventure groups for a variety of activities that  continued for 10 days. During this time 33 PADI Open Water courses, 5 PADI Advanced Open Water courses, 3 PADI Rescue Diver courses and 22 Project AWARE – Coral Reef Conservation courses were conducted for the various participants.  

Under the guidance of resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann, his staff ensured that the maximum ratio of 4 students to 1 instructor was maintained.  

The variety and volume of courses also afforded a unique opportunity to the professional dive interns currently attached to the Downbelow dive centre.    

They were able to assist with arranging the groups, which gave the interns real world experience managing logistics and training for group numbers that are very hard to role-play during training.  

“Our interns get to deal with real clients in real situations” said resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann.  “You can’t truly simulate this kind of experience, which is why our internships are invaluable in this regard." 

Recently qualified PADI Instructor Paul was especially impressed with the Project AWARE aspects of the training.  “I really felt like I did something to save the seas,” he said after assisting during a day of Project AWARE training.  Paul is about to start his career as a diving professional and this hands-on experience will give him an edge in the competitive employment market.  

The 2 groups, 7 Flight of the British Military and a Danish adventure group respectively, have become regular visitors and significant channels for training new divers.  

Downbelow’s Gaya Island facilities are ideally suited for group training, adventure activities and Project AWARE education.  

Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures  Visit for more information or talk to a friendly consultant on   

+60 12 866 1935.  


September, 2011  

Diving in Malaysia  

Scuba Diving Schoolies at Mantanani with Borneo Dream  

Borneo Dream is the preferred PADI Dive Operator in Sabah (Borneo, East Malaysia) for Camps International Ltd (a UK based business).  Every summer 100’s of British school children (aged between 15 – 18 years) visit Sabah as part of their school expedition organised with Camps International and Camp Borneo.   Many of these school children choose to stay at Camp Mantanani to learn to dive through the PADI Open Water Diver Course, or to progress their continued diver education through the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.  

Borneo Dream has recently returned after several weeks of running PADI scuba diving courses for Camp Borneo Students staying at Camp Mantanani.  It was a busy, fun time for the team..  

 • 168 students became PADI Open Water Divers  

• 15 students became PADI Scuba Divers  

• 11 students were certified as PADI Advanced Open Water Divers  

• This involved 1,124 dives across 178 boat trips and used 2.1m litres of air (underwater)  

One of the diving students, Catherine Johnson, shared her feedback regarding learning to dive with Borneo Dream at Pulau Mantanani,   

"One of the most amazing, if not THE most amazing, week of my life. Friendly instructors and an amazing location!  Who knew you could walk 5 meters into the sea from the beach and dive in the shallows for hours?  I didn't.  But we did.  Never before have I looked forward to a 5:30am start, but in Mantanani I did!  Diving started when you woke up!  It was the best way to live.  A life changing trip, where I met some amazing people and saw some amazing sights.  Words cannot explain. It's like another world down there!  Thank you Borneo Dream Dive Team for introducing me to such an amazing way of life!  I will never forget you all”.  

The Borneo Dream team had a lot of fun with them, and made many new diving friends, and wish them many happy diving days together in the future.  

Billy Hammond, Director at Borneo Dream, shared  “It was a privilege for us to introduce so many children to the wonders of the underwater world through the PADI Open Water Diver course.  We enjoyed showing them some of the fantastic diving available along the coral reefs easily accessible from Camp Mantanani by a 5 minute boat transfer on our RIB. Our team consistently delivered a high quality, safe and personalized dive experience to each and every student who dived with us at Camp Mantanani”.    

Borneo Dream is a PADI dive operator based in Kota Kinabalu.  They offer a full range of dive courses – from try dives, learning to dive through to rebreather training and PADI Divemaster courses.  For further information about Borneo Dream and the range of PADI courses and diving day trips they offer in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah please contact Joanne Cotterill, Sales & Marketing Director, email:- Ph: +60 17 811 8149, or visit  


 July, 2011 

Push to Support Project AWARE 

PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre, Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia,  has committed to support Project AWARE's environmental conservation efforts by signing up for 500 Project AWARE branded certification cards. 

Divers who contribute towards Project AWARE's causes, get a special Project AWARE branded certification card to show off their commitment.  Project AWARE Down Below 

This amount goes directly to Project AWARE whose current main focus is on Sharks in Peril and Marine Debris.  

By signing up for 500 Project AWARE branded certification cards, Downbelow contributed AU$5,000 to help with their invaluable effort. 

The prepayment of the cards shows that Downbelow believes that divers want to save the environment that they enjoy so much. 

Downbelow will continue to advocate the virtues of Project AWARE and why it's important to contribute. 

Every additional contribution to which divers commit is a bonus and will perpetuate their efforts. 

Plus divers gaining their new qualifications will receive a shiny and good-looking Project AWARE branded certification card and sleep easier knowing that choosing to support Downbelow is choosing to support the environment. 

So dive with the company that cares Dive Downbelow   

Environmental conservation is part and parcel of the Downbelow experience. Find out more at    email  or call +60 12 866 1935.


July, 2011 

Diving in Malaysia 


After the official opening speech by the Deputy Minister of Tourism (Malaysia) YB Dato Dr James Dawos Mamit, at the 6th Malaysia International Dive Expo 2011 - MIDE2011 - a delightful group of 10 PADI Seal Team kids, members from KIDS SCUBA in Kuala Lumpur recited the PADI “C.O.D.E”; a diving pledge which was followed by an explosion of colourful confetti.  At the MIDE show in Kuala Lumpur, KIDS SCUBA Malaysia was officially appointed a PADI Dive Center.

MIDS Kids Scuba 7.11
KIDS SCUBA is the largest training centre for children from 8 to12 years in Asia and has a membership of over 500 kids. Kids Scuba Camps are held 3 times a year at Redang, Tioman, Mataking and Mabul Islands. Recently they opened a successful branch in Denmark.

PADI Seal Team’s Master Scuba Instructor, Adrian Van Dooren - a New Zealander with over 25 years as a PADI member - stated that the rationale behind concentrating on teaching scuba diving to children is that it instils in them at a very young age to be a responsible diver.  They learn how to obey orders, look after their buddies and recognise team spirit, but most importantly it gives them an awareness of looking after and protecting our marine environment.  

The underlying message to all the young and up-coming PADI Instructors is not to ignore the youngsters. Look after the little ones and the big ones will follow. You have a huge untapped market at your finger tips.  

The Founder and Director of KIDS SCUBA Malaysia, Mr Syed Abd. Rahman said that he is proud to have PADI on board and looks forward to a prosperous future as an organisation specialising with Scuba courses for the younger generation.  

Contact KIDS SCUBA Malaysia at Tel: 6019-3176705 or 603-51918005, Email, or visit their website at 

PHOTO:  Centre stage at the official opening speech of MIDE 2011 
(Back) Henrik Nimb, Vice President, Marketing, Education & Business Development PADI Asia Pacific; YB Dato Dr James Dawos Mamit, Deputy Minister of Tourism (Malaysia) and Thayalan Kennedy, Organiser of Malaysian International Dive Show with the PADI Seal Team kids, members from KIDS SCUBA in Kuala Lumpur. 


 July 2011  

Diving in Malaysia 

Group of 10 year olds qualify as PADI Open Water Divers 

Sabah, Malaysia: A group of 14 youngsters from the Australian International School (AIS) in Singapore, aged just 10 and 11, completed PADI Junior Open Water courses with PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre, Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures, recently.  

When Katy Kennedy, a Year 5 teacher at AIS learned to dive with Downbelow in Sept 2010, she was so excited about her experience that upon her return to school, she started planning a trip to share that excitement with her students. 

With ample PADI Instructors for the 2-students-to-1-instructor ratio requirement and plenty of junior scuba equipment sets in stock, Downbelow in Kota Kinabalu Sabah, was more than happy to facilitate the group and help Katy organise the fieldtrip. 

PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Alvin Young (far left) and resident PADI Course Director, Richard Swann (2nd from right) collecting marine debris with 2 students from the Australian International School Singapore from from a secluded beach on Gaya Island, Kota Kinabalu.“At first the trip faced some opposition,” said Katy about initial perceived risks of diving, "but Downbelow supplied me with their thorough risk assessments, explained the diving process and their impressive group track record, proving a high standard of instructor supervision and experience.” 

With strict adherence to safety, PADI Standards and British HSE guidelines, Downbelow enabled Katy to allay the concerns of both school and parents and after much planning the group finally arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in late June. 

Over a 5 day period all the kids completed the course and of the 14 students - 11 are now qualified PADI Junior Open Water Divers.  

2 students demonstrated proficiency in all but a couple of the essential skills and obtained the PADI Junior SCUBA Diver rating, whilst another student, requiring some additional development, still managed to achieve the Discover SCUBA Diver rating and a handful of experience dives. 

During their program the students also participated in environmental conservation, specifically a Project AWARE “Sharks in Peril” workshop and beach clean-up. 

On their return to Singapore the students will present to a special school assembly where they will share their diving experiences in Sabah and what they learned about marine conservation, sharks and rubbish. 

Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures regularly facilitate groups - from schools to corporations and the military. They customise their programs to suit clients’ needs. Environmental conservation is part and parcel of the Downbelow experience. Find out more at   email or call +60 12 866 1935. 

May 2011  

Diving in Malaysia 

Actress Emma Thompson learns to dive with Borneo Dream Travel & ToursActress Emma Thompson & family scuba diving 

During April, Hollywood actress Emma Thompson took a family holiday to Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia with her actor husband Greg Wise and their daughter.

While there Emma wanted to complete the PADI Open Water Diver course with her daughter Gaia and after a recommendation from a friend, they decided to dive with Borneo Dream.

Whilst Emma and Gaia completed the PADI Open Water Diver course in the tropical waters of the South China Sea and Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Kota Kinabalu -  her husband Greg, who is an experienced PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, joined Borneo Dream for some leisure diving.

Greg also went diving in the TARP Marine Park and visited the World War II wreck the Rice Bowl Wreck and Mayne Rock (located 30nm north west of Kota Kinabalu).   Borneo Dream is the only dive operator in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah running regular diving trips to these two dive locations. Emma, who has both Oscar and BAFTA awards, shared her feedback regarding learning to dive with Borneo Dream, "The sheer fun, extreme excitement and elated camaraderie of the Borneo Dream team almost disguise the expertise, top-class instruction and faultless safety standards.  Thus, my daughter (11) and I (51!) became open water divers with ease and a joy I imagine is unparalleled. We will be a) eternally grateful and b) Back. All true and meant with the utmost sincerity. See you soon guys. Much love, Emma, Greg & Gaia"

The Borneo Dream team had a lot of fun with them and hope they will enjoy many happy diving days together in the future. Joanne Cotterill, Director at Borneo Dream, added “It was a Actress Emma Thompson scuba divingprivilege for us to help re-introduce actress Emma Thompson to the wonders of the underwater world through the PADI Open Water Diver course.  We enjoyed showing Emma, Greg and their daughter some of the fantastic dive sites we visit that are easily accessible from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. We shared with them the same high quality service we provide to all our diving customers and we were pleased to offer them some private family time during their time with us. The Borneo Dream team made new diving friends and we look forward to seeing them again in the future when they next visit Sabah.” 

Borneo Dream is a PADI dive operator based in Kota Kinabalu.  They offer a full range of dive courses – from try dives, learning to dive through to rebreather training and PADI Divemaster courses.
For further information about Borneo Dream and the diving day trips they offer in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah - please contact Joanne Cotterill, Sales & Marketing Director, email:, tel: +60 17 811 8149, or visit 
PHOTOS: Top: Greg Wise, Emma Thompson and their daughter, Gaia in Sabah, Malaysia. Bottom: Emma Thompson underwater.

Emma is now a certified PADI Open Water Diver