Archive for February, 2012

Custard the Frogfish Resurfaces in the TAR Park, Kota Kinabalu

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012 @ 10:13 News, TAR Park Froggies

Custard the Frogfish

Last year July there was a lot of buzz around a tiny, juvenile frogfish named Custard.

It was found in the TAR Park, not far from our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre, and enjoyed some fame.

Custard was featured in a blog post, a video and even has a Facebook album dedicated to it.

Custard the frogfish was frequently visited by Downbelow’s staff and guests and become somewhat of a celebrity on Adik Reef.

Eventually Custard the frogfish matured and flew swam the coop and, we hoped, lived on happily in some other nutrient rich nook of the TAR Park.

Well, recently Downbelow’s Alvin was out diving in Ribbon Reef and, deep inside a coral bush, he saw a familiar face.

Wouldn’t you know it, it was our long-lost friend Custard the frogfish.

Hearing of the joyful reunion, our resident PADI Course Director Richard just couldn’t resist.

He popped back to get an updated photo of young Custard, which has been added to its album linked above.

If you want to meet the TAR Park’s young frogfish celeb, contact us and let’s go diving.

Hong Kong Couple’s Underwater Proposal in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 @ 10:22 News

Yan Lee and Pong from Hong Kong, after the romantic, underwater proposal in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Congratulations to Pong and Yan Lee, a scuba diving couple from Hong Kong, who got engaged underwater yesterday at Downbelow’s dive centre on Gaya island in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Pong had hatched the romantic scheme for asking the hand of Yan Lee in a special way and Downbelow was happy to help provide the perfect setting for him to ask the question of all questions.

James was their guide for the this special occasion, which required a large banner erected on the dive, complete with rings and underwater kisses.

Back on dry land at the dive centre, Sarah, their Downbelow travel consultant, had arranged flowers to mark the Hong Kong couple’s special moment.

Downbelow feels very honoured that Pong and Yan Lee chose Downbelow in Sabah, Borneo for this life-changing event.

We wish them a long life of happiness together and many more romantic dives with us here in Kota Kinabalu.

Downbelow Intern Spreads Shark Awareness to Danish Adventure Group

Monday, February 27th, 2012 @ 09:40 Courses, Danish Adventure Group, News, Project AWARE

Local Divemaster Intern Victor (far right) explains the peril sharks are in to our adventurers from Denmark

We have a large group of adventurers from Denmark at the Downbelow PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in Sabah, Borneo for the next few days.

Where some may see just scuba divers, Downbelow sees champions for the future of sharks.

This is exactly why local Divemaster intern, Victor, took the opportunity to tell the 18 strong group about the threat that sharks are facing and why sharks need protection.

He also collected 18 more valuable signatures from the participants for petitions used to secure legislation that will help ensure the survival of sharks in Sabah, Borneo and around the world.

Downbelow is 100% committed to Project AWARE helping preserve our beautiful environment, which is why every PADI qualification gained through Downbelow gets a Project AWARE certification card.

Supporting the environment is just 1 of the great reasons to get certified with Downbelow, so get in touch and get certified today.

Danish Adventure Group Arrives in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo

Friday, February 24th, 2012 @ 16:53 Danish Adventure Group, Groups & Schools, News

The February / March group of adventurers from Denmark arrives in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo

It’s that Danish time of year again when Downbelow hosts another adventure group from Denmark for a month of adventure in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo.

The day was a spectacular welcome for our group and couldn’t have been brighter.

A toasty day in Kota Kinabalu devoid of cloud and the bluest skies all month, perfect for our adventure group’s first snorkeling experience.

Over the coming month the adventurous Danes will learn to dive, climb Mt. Kinabalu, trek the Crocker Range mountains and explore Sabah’s east coast, all the in care of Downbelow.

Today, to help them ease into Sabah life and gently help them over any jet-lag they may be experiencing, they all went for a snorkeling safari to see what the TAR park waters have to offer.

Keep an eye on the blog see what adventures lie in store for our Danish adventure group.

Tiago Wraps Up Divemaster Internship in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 @ 14:12 Divemaster, News, Professional Diving Internships

Tiago, now a Divemaster, is congratulated by IDC Staff Instructor James for a job well done

Tiago from Portugal, joined us barely a month and half ago for a Divemaster internship here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

It feels like just yesterday that Tiago became part of the Downbelow family at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre.

During his time with us, Tiago has grown as professional diver.

Under the guidance of resident PADI Course Director Richard and his Go Pro Team, Tiago learned about the diving industry and gained invaluable insights into the business of running a dive centre.

During his divemaster exams, Tiago proved that he can talk the talk and walk the walk of a qualified PADI Divemaster.

It wasn’t just his academic performance for which we will remember the young Tiago.

He really endeared himself during his informal (but equally important) Snorkel Test; proof of a battled-hardened, action ready divemaster.

Tiago now embarks on his next adventure, and wherever he ends up we would like to wish them best of luck and hope to see him back in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah for, perhaps, our next Instructor Development Course?.

Adeus e boa sorte, Tiago!

Training for Kota Kinabalu Divemasters on Internship

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 @ 11:12 Courses, Discover Scuba Diving, Divemaster, News

Training for Kota Kinabalu Divemasters on Internship

Resident PADI Course Director Richard was hard at work training our Kota Kinabalu Divemasters on their internship recently.

Both local and international divemasters were enjoying the attention of Downbelow’s Go Pro team here in Sabah, Borneo as they worked on Skin Diver and Discover Scuba Diving skills.

Local interns Victor and Hillary, together with international interns Sara and Leanne, were learning various aspects of the two courses with Go Pro team members Alvin, James and Richard.

Today they worked on the Discover Scuba Diving Course, which as Divemasters will allow them to take DSD participants on experience programs, whilst yesterday they finished of Skin Diver.

New Instructors do EFR and Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor Courses

Monday, February 20th, 2012 @ 10:15 Courses, Emergency First Response, News, Wild Borneo Expeditions

Emergency First Response and Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor Course participants

The final step for our new PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors was to qualify as Emergency First Response Instructor.

Downbelow’s resident PADI Course Director and EFR Instructor Trainer, Richard Swann, took the helm to teach this course, and the Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor course to the PADI professionals.

Also spotted on the course was Mia, MD of Wild Borneo Expeditions, who joined to upgrade her skills to that of instructor as well.

After 2 days of mostly hard work and a bit of fun, everyone successfully qualified as instructors in both the Emergency First Response course and the Emergency Oxygen Provider course.

Well done to all.

New Divemaster Passes Snorkel Test in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Friday, February 17th, 2012 @ 13:50 Courses, Divemaster, News

Unlike other tests, which are in fact serious business, the Snorkel Test is very un-serious.

Nevertheless, Tiago, one of professional scuba diving Divemaster interns in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, took this test very seriously.

Tiago recently sat for and passed his Divemaster exam and, as a fully qualified PADI Divemaster, was required to pass this additional social test before being accepted into the professional diving fold.

During celebrations, which included the supportive graduates from the February Instructor Development Course, Taigo was put on the spot to the test.

The video below illustrates what’s involved in the Snorkel Test. Tiago was suitably speechless afterwards.


Next Instructor Development Course in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

Thursday, February 16th, 2012 @ 12:41 IDC, News, PADI 教练发展课程

Instructor Development Course class of February 2012 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

Our February PADI Instructor Development Course wrapped up here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah when our candidates successfully completed the PADI Instructor Examination.

“The February IDC has been one of the best ever,” recalled resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann, “with a great group of candidates from all over the world.”

“We also had whale sharks during the course for everyone to see,” he said with a glint in his eye, fondly remembering the awesome whale shark photos he got of these gentle giants who couldn’t have made a more dramatic appearance in the waters of Kota Kinabalu’s TAR Park.

Our IDC candidates turned PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor have mostly completed their work here in Sabah, Borneo, although some will stay around longer yet to gain more experience teaching and diving during the tail end of their professional internships.

Gaining a qualification is one thing, but being able to go to your future employer with actual, on-the-job instructing experience puts you in a league above the rest.

For aspiring Open Water Scuba Instructors, Downbelow’s next Instructor Development Course is scheduled for 16 – 25 May with the Instructor Exam following right after on 26 & 27 May 2012.

Contact us to book your spot and Go Pro with Downbelow, or get experience before hand with our professional diving internships, which we will tailor to your needs, for anything from 1 – 6 months.

Day 1 of the PADI Instructor Exam in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 @ 10:12 IDC, News, PADI 教练发展课程

PADI Examiner Robert Scammell leading the candidates through an orientation

It was Day 1 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah of the PADI Instructor Examination.

PADI Examiner Robert Scammell is leading the February IDC IE and started off with an orientation for the IDC candidates, prepping them for what lies ahead.

Over the next 2 days our Instructor Development Course candidates will demonstrate to the examiner that they have the stuff of champions and are qualified to be PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors.