Archive for July, 2012

UK Gap Year Student Group Arrives at Gaya Island

Monday, July 30th, 2012 @ 13:06 Borneo Gap Year, Groups & Schools, News

Gap Year students Group 1 arrive a the Downbelow's Gaya island dive station

The first of 3 groups of UK Gap Year students arrived at the Downbelow PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre this weekend, where Managing Director and resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann was on hand to welcome them.

During July we are hosting 3 groups of British Gap Year students, who will travel all the way to Sabah to experience some awesome Borneo adventure.

First order of business, of course, is to learn how to dive, which the Gap Year students will be doing while camping right next to our dive centre on the tropical island of Pulau Gaya.

“Million star accommodation”, as Richard calls it, due to the fact that on a clear night, when you poke your head from under the tent canopy, the stars a clear and bright.

Over the next 10 days Richard and his crew of pro PADI instructors will conduct a total of 24 PADI Open Water courses, 5 PADI Advanced Open Water courses and 31 AWARE Coral Reef Conservation courses, peppered with a generous sprinkling of fun diving for the Gap Year students.

Under the fun wings of Downbelow’s island crew, there is much fun to be had by the Gap Year students.


Intern Gains EFR Instructor Experience before Sep IDC

Friday, July 27th, 2012 @ 12:58 News, Professional Diving Internships

Maija assists Liz during a PADI Rescue Diver Course


Pro Intern Maija was on hand yesterday to assist Liz, Downbelow’s former-intern PADI OWSI, who was conducting a PADI Rescue Diver Course.

Maija, like Liz before her, is gaining experience during her pro internship and is working towards the Instructor Development Course starting on 2 September.

Liz was conducting the Rescue Diver and Emergency First Response course, and Maija volunteer to play the victim during the role-play required for the coures.

The weekend is supposed to bring some brilliant weather, and no doubt our pro interns will utilise the unlimited diving that comes with being a Downbelow Pro Intern.

In the meantime, we’re egging ever closer to our September IDC, which still has space available if you want to join.

Get in touch and let’s talk about how you can Go Pro with Downbelow.

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!

Pro Intern Starts Experience for PADI IDC in Sabah, Malaysia

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 @ 11:39 News, PADI 教练发展课程, Professional Diving Internships

Victor (centre left) with PADI Pro Roy (centre right) and their DSD charges

Clearly here to learn, our September PADI IDC candidate and Professional Scuba Diving Intern Victor didn’t waste a moment to get involved and start learning.

He joined old hand Roy to present a Discover Scuba Diving experience to 4 of Downbelow’s guests at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre here on Gaya island in Kota Kinabalu.

Victor is taking part in the Instructor Development Course that runs from 2 – 13 September, but joined us early to gain that valuable edge with real-world, hands-on experience.

The value for Intern Victor is two-fold. First it will benefit him in the short-term, because it will make his IDC easier and ultimate benefit him in Instructor Exam. Ample opportunity to repeat the knowledge, will ensure that he retains it better.

Over the long term, and looking ahead to when he will be seeking employment as a professional in the diving industry, he will be able to say he has on-the-job experience at a busy dive centre where they dived every day.

Not only will Victor get to assist with Downbelow’s varied and interesting clientelle, but he will also get a hands-on, behind-the-scenes look at the operations of a busy dive centre.

This type of experience money just can’t buy, and Downbelow is in a unique position to be able to offer this experience to our professional interns.

Downbelow has an action packed month ahead, so our Interns are in for a treat.

Next Instructor Development Course Candidates arrive in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Monday, July 23rd, 2012 @ 14:44 IDC, News, Project AWARE

The bunch of early bird IDC canidates and DM interns, with resident PADI Course Director Richard and Downbelow Director Joanne.

Can you believe it? The next PADI Instructor Development Course is so near that we’ve started receiving our first batch of IDC candidates at the dive centre on Gaya island, Kota Kinabalu.

Yup, the next IDC in Kota Kinabalu is taking place at Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre starting 2 September, running through until 11 September, and ending with the Instructor Examinations on 12 & 13 September.

Our first batch of divers has arrived to start their Professional Scuba Diving internship with us.

The IDC interns are joined by a handful of Divemaster Interns as well, so once again the dive centre is humming with student divers becoming professionals or taking their pro qualifications to the next level.

Over the weekend the group of professional interns had a great time getting to know each other and taking full advantage of the beautiful Kota Kinabalu weather and the unlimited diving that we include with all our pro internships.

“Another batch of early birds are on the way,” said resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann. “We’re in for another fun and well-prepared IDC.”

Looks like. There’s more slots available on our September IDC, so if you’re keen on taking your scuba diving qualification to the next level, then now is the time to get in touch with us.

Drop us an email and Go Pro with Downbelow.

Beautiful Diving in the TAR Park, Kota Kinabalu

Saturday, July 21st, 2012 @ 14:18 Dive Sites, Diving Kota Kinabalu, News

Joanne and Richard encounter a trutle in the TAR Park

Amidst the unpredictable weather we’ve been experiencing in Kota Kinabalu over the last couple of weeks, the underwater world remains calm and spectacular.

But it’s been so busy at Downbelow’s Dive Centre recently, that it’s been a while since Richard and Joanne have gone on a dive together.

Well, that was remedied this weekend, when the two departed from Sutera Harbour Resort for some quality scuba diving in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.

Richard and Joanne headed to the very special Adik Reef for some diving and, armed with his camera, Richard was hoping for a few great photos too.

Wouldn’t you know it, they had the luck of the Swanns on their side and encountered 2 turtles willing to pose for photos.

Everyone was laid back, most of all the turtles, so Richard got a few nice shots of Joanne modeling with said turtles.

The coral reefs in the TAR Park were also looking particularly vibrant, and Richard snapped a few shots of that as well.

“Who needs Sipadan,” ponders Richard, “when you have such treasures right here Kota Kinabalu’s TAR Park?”

Indeed. So, come diving with Downbelow, in spite of the weather, we still dive every day, and it’s beautiful!

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!

Another Diver Joins the Professional Scuba Diving Fold

Monday, July 16th, 2012 @ 16:09 Courses, Divemaster, News, Professional Diving Internships

Paul on the left with brand new PADI Divemaster Linda on the right. Congrats!

Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in Kota Kinabalu was abuzz this weekend with, amongst other things, another scuba diver crossing the professional threshold.

Linda joined our dive centre a couple of weeks ago for a Professional Divemaster Internship.

Under the guidance of Downbelow’s Go Pro team Linda learned a variety of skills from a variety of sources, and we trust she will uphold the high standards and safety procedures she learned from Downbelow.

Paul, one of Downbelow’s PADI IDC Staff Instructors, was on-hand over the weekend to congratulate Linda on her successful completion of the Divemaster internship.

Linda will be with us for a little while longer and she will continue to enjoy the unlimited diving that all Downbelow’s professional interns have access to during their Internships.

For more information on our professional Divemaster internships, contact us or browse through the relevant section on our website.

Laura Qualifies as a PADI Divemaster with Downbelow in Kota Kinabalu

Friday, July 13th, 2012 @ 12:00 Courses, Divemaster, News

Pro diver and PADI Divemaster Laura with our resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann

Downbelow’s resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann proudly welcomed now professional scuba diver, Laura Bucalo, into the pro diving fold.

Laura spent the last couple of weeks with us at Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island, here in Kota Kinabalu, where she’s been working towards her PADI Divemaster certification.

Well, the hard work and dedication has paid off and this week Laura was crowned as a fully fledged PADI Divemaster.

She will short sail off, literally, and start her journey as a scuba diving professional where – not the sky – but the Marianna Trench is the limit.

We wish her all the best of luck and hope to have her back, perhaps for an IDC internship, when she decides to take the next step and become a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor.

Bon voyage, Laura!

Kinabalu International School Fun Dives with Downbelow

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 @ 12:51 KK Dive Club, News

Students and teachers from the Kinabalu International School enjoying a day of fun-diving with Downbelow in Kota Kinabalu.

Downbelow welcomed the Kinabalu International School (KIS) for another fun dive.

The day was organized by KIS teacher and PADI Instructor Gareth Pearson, who brought the bunch of marine-loving students around to our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island, for a day of fun below the ocean’s surface.

All participants live in Sabah and are members of Downbelow’s very own KK Dive Club.

The KK Dive Club is open to anyone who currently lives in Sabah and offers discounts on diving, courses and merchandise at our dive shop in KK Times Square.

If you, as a resident of Sabah, have been thinking about how close the TAR Park is to Kota Kinabalu and how little you dive, you should look up the KK Dive Club and take advantage of the benefits.

Stop by our head office and dive shop in KK Times Square and get signed up.

If you are attending the Kinabalu International School as either a students or an employee, have a chat with Mr Pearson. Either way, we hope to see you diving with us soon.

Brian and Melissa: Pro Scuba Divers

Monday, July 9th, 2012 @ 14:43 Courses, Divemaster, News

Brian and Melissa shortly before qualifying as PADI Divemasters

Congrats went out from our Dive Centre on Gaya island in Kota Kinabalu late last week, as the two hard working divers we’ve had over the last couple of weeks achieved an important milestone.

Brian and Melissa become professional divers with Downbelow, when they passed the Divemaster test at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre.

Over the last fortnight they’ve been gaining experience, studying the required skills and honing their abilities.

It was a proud moment for not just the 2 of them, but for resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann and his Go Pro team as well, when they achieved the first rung on the professional scuba diving ladder.

Brian, who is a boat captain, and Melissa, one of his crew, will set sail shortly and take on the open seas, free to explore the best diving that Sabah and beyond has to offer, safe in the knowledge that they are now professional divers.

Best of luck Divemasters, and bon voyage!

Downbelow Receives TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

Friday, July 6th, 2012 @ 10:26 News

The Certificate of Excellence that Trip Advisor sent us in recognition of our consistent ratingA pleasant surprise arrived in the mail for us today from the purveyors of travel information and travel reviews: TripAdvisor.

As the many guests who have been our customers over the years know, we are very active on TripAdvisor and always encourage people, who have experienced our world-class service, to read about and review our business on TripAdvisor.

Our MD and resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann keeps a close watch on the review page so that we can improve what needs improving and do more of what people love – it’s a win-win for our customers and ourselves.

Thanks to our ongoing efforts to provide the best service and value in Kota Kinabalu to our customers, the 254 reviews (as of this writing) we’ve accumulated over the years have been overwhelmingly positive.

And TripAdvisor noticed.

Bringing us back to what arrived in the mail from them; a Certificate of Excellence for the Year 2012.

“This is to certify that”, the TripAdvisor certificate proclaims, “Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures has achieved a TripAdvisor rating of 5 Stars by its guests and therefore has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence”.

This achievement is validation that we’re on the right track, providing valuable and enjoyable scuba diving and travel products and services to appreciative guests who visit Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

It gives us great pleasure that our guests appreciation is noticed in this way, because you, our valued guest, is the reason we get up in the morning :)