Archive for June, 2012

Sutera Harbour Resort Dive & Accommodation Packages

Saturday, June 30th, 2012 @ 13:38 News

Sutera Harbour Resort makes diving easy

Dive with Downbelow and save on your Sutera Harbour Resort accommodation.

The short boat ride to our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in the nearby TAR Park depart right from your doorstep in the Sutera Harbour Marina.

By combining your accommodation at the Sutera Harbour Resort with diving with Downbelow, you win big on both your hotel stay and your scuba diving excursion.

Plus Sutera Harbour Resort is near enough to Kota Kinabalu city for you to be just a 5 minute taxi ride away from the nightlife, restaurants and other attractions that the city has to offer.

Apart from the pleasure of a dive, Sutera Habour Resort also offers golfing, spas, gyms, tennis and squash, and even a cinema and bowling alley.

To quell those after-diving hunger pangs, you will find a choice of over 11 restaurants and bars at the resort.

Get in touch with us today and save big on your Sutera Harbour Resort accommodation when you dive with Downbelow.

New Divemaster Candidates at the Dive Centre in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Thursday, June 28th, 2012 @ 10:00 Courses, Divemaster, News

The new divemaster candidates with resident PADI Course Director Richard (centre)

Meet Downbelow’s latest PADI Divemaster candidates. A crazy bunch, as you can see.

Brian, Linda, Marissa and Laura will be busying themselves with the business of becoming Divemasters over the next couple of weeks.

They will gain experience and acquire the needed skills at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island here in Kota Kinabalu.

Because we dive every day, our dive centre is the perfect spot to sign up for PADI courses. Most courses require a certain number of dives to qualify for, and with diving 3 times a day, every day, you can see how Downbelow makes life a lot easier.

That we specialise in professional diving internship and training, have a resident PADI Course Director and a dedicated Go Pro Team who lives to teach and share their experience, are just some of the reasons why more and more diving students choose Downbelow’s dive centre in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Our Divemaster candidates are in for a fun learning experience over the next 2 weeks, and we look forward to following their progress.

Downbelow is a PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre Our international staff provide personal, premier service at our PADI 5 Star Instructor Development (IDC) Dive Centre, where we pride ourselves on small group tuition with extremely high safety standards & procedures.

Do visit us at our Dive Shop & Travel Centre where we offer free wireless Internet and refreshments.

Tel: +6 012 866 1935

Visit our Facebook page to see what we get up to over here in paradise!

Tourism Management Students Take EFR Course with Downbelow

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 @ 10:31 Courses, Emergency First Response, News

The group of Tourism Management students from the Sandakan Politeknik during their EFR training session

Downbelow has been hosting an awesomely energetic group of Tourism Management students who came all the way from Sandakan Politeknik to spend a week with us.

Having spent most of their time with us on the island, the group briefly invaded our offices and classroom for the Emergency First Responder course they signed up for.

Resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann, who is also an EFR Instructor trainer, took them under his wing to teach them these skills, which are literally life-saving.

It was apparent from the excited ruckus coming from the classroom, that Richard and the Pro staffers from the island, were being their entertaining selves, doing a good job of teaching the important information in an interesting way.

The sizable group did their part, and all tied up the day qualified as trained Emergency First Responders.

Well done!

Choking Hazard: Removing Illegal Nets from Kota Kinabalu’s Marine Park

Monday, June 25th, 2012 @ 12:03 Diving Kota Kinabalu, News

PADI Course Director Richard Swann and one of the net removal crew cutting the net down to size

A few days ago Downbelow discovered, and reported to the authorities, a horrific find.

A fishing net had gotten stuck on Ribbon Reef, one of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park’s healthiest reefs, and stretched from where it was entangled on a coral block on the shallow reef-top, down to the sandy bottom at over 35m.

Downbelow is experienced in net removal and we have the right tools and knowledge of the importance of removing these menaces as soon as possible, so we stepped up yesterday and set about freeing the park and reef of this choking hazard.

PADI Course Director Richard Swann lead our Pro diving staff and our wonderful Professional Divemaster Interns on a crusade to slay the net.

Our first encounter with the net surfaced a sad report. Not only had the net already needlessly claimed the lives of several marine critters, but saddest amongst the tally was a small blacktip reef shark.

Richard and Wellson did the first dive and severed the net at 20m, freeing live, trapped marine life further down below the 30m mark. They then hauled the entire stretch of net from the depths back up to the surface with lifting devices (a tricky and problematic procedure).

Back on the boat they spent around 30 mins cutting free and releasing various creatures, whilst educating guests on the situation.

On the second dive the group faced different challenges. The rest of the net deeply entangled the reef and required a delicate touch, but with the full team assisting short work was made of the problem area and the net was completely removed.

In spite of fishing with nets being illegal in the TAR Park, unscrupulous fishermen still try their luck every now and then. This exercise is often expensive to both the fishermen, when they lose their not-inexpensive nets, and the reef, when the net entangles and chokes the marine environment.

Downbelow have built up a wealth of net-removal experience as we’ve conducted many, self-funded net removals over the years, which requires careful planning and skilled dive leaders.

If you ever witness net fishing or find a discarded net, please report this to the authorities or us for removal.

Successful Students Become PADI Rescue Divers in Kota Kinabalu

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 @ 12:08 Courses, News, Professional Diving Internships

Downbelow's new batch of PADI Rescue Divers who qualified yesterday at our dive centre in Kota Kinabalu

Our group of diving students who participated in a PADI Rescue Diving course at our dive centre on Gaya island in Kota Kinabalu has tasted success!

Yesterday the group finished up with skills for oxygen use and a couple of scenario practices under the expert guidance of Downbelow’s PADI IDC Staff Instructor James.

It was a beautiful day in Kota Kinabalu and the conditions at our dive centre were perfect for those out of the water, and in the water, which is where our newly minted PADI Rescue Divers will soon find themselves as they move on to Divemaster.

Excluding the students who joins us for the Sandakan Politeknik’s annual visit, the PADI Rescue Divers will now start their Divemaster internships with us, working their way to becoming professional scuba divers.

Under resident PADI Course Director Richard and his Go Pro Team, they will work their way up through building skills, knowledge and experience at our busy dive centre at which we dive every single day.

Get in touch with us for recreational diving and courses, as well as professional scuba diving courses and internships in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Downbelow is a PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre Our international staff provide personal, premier service at our PADI 5 Star Instructor Development (IDC) Dive Centre, where we pride ourselves on small group tuition with extremely high safety standards & procedures.

Do visit us at our Dive Shop & Travel Centre where we offer free wireless Internet and refreshments.

Tel: +6 012 866 1935

Visit our Facebook page to see what we get up to over here in paradise!

Downbelow Educates Students and Youths on the Plight of Sharks

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 @ 17:31 Groups & Schools, News, Project AWARE, Wild Borneo Expeditions

Resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann gets the Sandakan students hooked on shark conservation

It’s been a busy day Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya Island here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

We are currently hosting 2 groups; the one includes 24 students from the Sandakan Politeknik and the second involves 17 people from our friends at Wild Borneo Expeditions, who brought international students from a school in the UAE to visit us.

Despite the hustle and bustle around the island dive centre, Downbelow’s resident PADI Course Director still let his passion for marine conservation burn bight.

He managed to squeeze in some time for the good of sharks.

Explaining the peril that sharks face today – chiefly unsustainable finning and by-catch practices – he also gave a big-up to the AWARE Foundation and the good work that Project AWARE does concern this and other causes.

After the talk the students and participants were all keen to do their bit to help prevent sharks from disappearing from our planet and signed the shark petition.

Marine education and conservation is a constant and ongoing battle, and as ocean lovers it is everyone’s duty to do what we can. Have you signed the shark petition? Do you part here.

Rescue Diver Training for Local Students & International Interns

Monday, June 18th, 2012 @ 17:07 Courses, News, Professional Diving Internships

Downbelow's next batch of Rescue Divers

Downbelow’s PADI IDC Staff Instructor James was having a ball today with our latest batch of Rescue Diver students.

The group consists of 2 participants from the Sandakan Politeknik we mentioned on Saturday, as we as 3 new professional diving interns.

The 3 international interns will immediately start their Divemaster internship courses once their Rescue Diver training is completed.

The 2 students from Sandakan are spending the week with us and the rest of the students from the Polytechnic and will engage in all sorts of diving related activities with their friends and fellow students.

It’s all happening at the Kota Kinabalu dive centre that dives every day. Join us!

Politeknik Sandakan Water Safety & Life Saving Certification

Saturday, June 16th, 2012 @ 10:08 Groups & Schools, News, Sandakan Polytechnic

Politeknik Sandakan joins us for a week of learning and fun

Today we were joined by a very excited crowd of students from the Sandakan Polytechnic who will be with us for the next week learning a whole host of skills.

We hosted the Politeknik Sandakan last year and everyone had so much fun while learning, that we’re very excited to have them here at Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre again.

The group this time is organised by the Corporate Industrial Services and Employment Unit.

In total, the students will take part in 22 Emergency First Response courses, 19 PADI Open Water Courses, 4 PADI Advanced Open Water Courses and 4 PADI Rescue Diver Courses.

Clearly resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann and his Go Pro Team of instructors will have their hands full, but if last year’s group is anything to go by, it’s going to be a fun learning experience for everyone involved.

Downbelow Teaches 3 New AWARE Shark Conservation Instructors

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 @ 14:05 Courses, News, Speciality Instructor

3 new AWARE Shark Conservation Instructors with resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann (2nd from left)

There you have it! 3 more AWARE Shark Conservation Speciality Course Instructors to spread the shark love to divers everywhere!

Our recently qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors attended this course with Downbelow at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island and joined the fight for saving our sharks.

Downbelow’s resident PADI Course Director, Richard Swann, donated his time to teach this speciality for free.

PADI also assisted by donating the application fees to the AWARE Foundation and Project AWARE donated all the learning materials used by both the Instructors and the students.

Essentially, all our candidates had to do was attend and pass the course, and commit to spreading the word on the plight of sharks.

Together we make a great team and set an outstanding example of how, as a collective, we can be more effective in the ongoing battle for the protection of sharks worldwide.

We wish our new AWARE Shark Conservation Instructors the best of luck in teaching as many students as possible about this important issue.

New OWSI do Speciality Instructor Courses with PADI Course Director Richard

Monday, June 11th, 2012 @ 15:09 Courses, News, Speciality Instructor

Unruly Subjects 101: Essential knowledge for any would-be underwater photographer

The May Instructor Development Course is well and over, but our new Instructors are not done soaking up as much of resident PADI Course Director Richard’s knowledge as they can.

Over the weekend the OWSI started a few additional speciality instructor courses, with PADI Course Director Richard leading the pack.

Most visually impressive of the courses is the PADI Digital Underwater Photography course.

Richard has a wealth of knowledge thanks to years of experience on this subject, as you can see from our photography collection as well as the images that decorate the product pages of our website.

Our Open Water Scuba Instructors, presently Photography Speciality Instructor students, thus has the opportunity to truly master the camera before becoming UW Photography instructors themselves.

Have a peek at the Facebook album from the course and you’ll see that the students produced some stunning shots, all by using Downbelow’s rental Canon G12’s with Underwater Housing.

After the fun they had with the photography course, the students will also tackle the Nitox, Wreck, Deep & Fish ID Instructor courses, to help them reach the PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer level and position them perfectly for employment in the industry.



Learn to Dive with PADI Scuba diving courses for divers visiting Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Borneo.
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