Archive for August, 2012

Product of the Month – DiveRite TravelPac

Friday, August 31st, 2012 @ 10:00 News, Promotions

From Downbelow’s dive shop in Kota Kinabalu we present you with the Product of the Month. Every month we highlight a quality product that provides great value-for-money and might often be over-looked.

Learn more about this travel-friend BC below and stop by our dive shop in KK Times Square to arrange a test d(r)ive.

Product Overview

The DiveRite TravelPac is the ultimate recreational travel rig with an all in-one harness and wing that is a hybrid combination of the Travel EXP wing and TransPac harness.

Weighing only 2.62kg, the TravelPac is streamlined to reduce the weight of the rig and keep it lightweight with a small profile.

The DiveRite TravelPac available in our dive shop in KK Times Square, Kota Kinabalu

Perfect for traveling to warm-water destinations, the DiveRite TravelPac BCD provides up to 12kg of lift, easily able to accommodate one 12l tank.

Additional weight can be added in pockets or with a weight belt, that does not exceed 7.2kg. Weight pockets are sold separately.

The DiveRite TravePac, which is made in the USA, is available in sizes from XS to XL.


Specs at a glance.

The DiveRite TravelPac hardware is streamlined with

  • one epaulet on the left shoulder
  • standard shoulder pivots
  • 2 bent chest D-rings
  • 2 waist D-rings and
  • a stainless steel belt buckle
  • TransPac sideplates are narrower and give more room on the waist belt for accessories.


  • a chest strap
  • one standard 36-inch cam strap with a stainless buckle and
  • 1.5-inch crotch strap
  • Weight: 2.62kg
  • Dimensions: 55.9cm x 35.6cm

IDC Prep Starts at Downbelow’s Dive Centre in Kota Kinabalu

Monday, August 27th, 2012 @ 13:46 Courses, IDC, News

Class of Sep '12 - IDC Prep is underwater and future OWSI are intensely at work

Most of our Instructor Development Course candidates have reported for duty, so our resident PADI Course Director, Richard, started with the IDC Prep at Downbelow’s offices in Kota Kinabalu.

IDC Prep is like a warm-up for the main event, giving the candidates a little sneak peak at what to expect during the Instructor Development Course.

Our classroom at Downbelow HQ in KK Times Square in Kota Kinabalu is ideally suited for this purpose.

It has all of the equipment and facilities for a focussed learning session, sans the beautiful views, alluring blue waters and jungle sounds that is so tempting to our instructors-to-be when they’re on the island at our Gaya island dive centre.

The IDC is all about developing an instructor that can teach students how to dive.

The skills learned during the Instructor Development Course should become second nature, so that Instructors act instinctively.

To achieve this, it is important for the would-be-instructor to first understand the coursework and skills, before repetition and practice help make the skills second nature.

The more time you have to understand and practice the skills, the better you will be able to implement it – not just during the Instructor Exam when you have to illustrate your skills to the PADI Examiner, but also in the future when you’re working on your own as a dive instructor.

As the Instructor Development Course starts, Richard and Downbelow’s Go Pro team is keen to help our September IDC candidate achieve the success required to live the diving dream.

Downbelow’s Kota Kinabalu Dive Shop On Facebook

Friday, August 24th, 2012 @ 12:36 Dive Shop, News

Like our Kota Kinabalu Dive Shop Page on Facebook

Downbelow arguably has the biggest and best stocked dive shop in Kota Kinabalu, making it well worth a visit for scuba diving enthusiasts, marine lovers and people like us, who love the outdoors.

But don’t take my word for it. Our Kota Kinabalu Dive Shop now also has a Facebook page, so that you can have a browse whilst keeping your pokes, likes and friend chats within clicking-finger reach.

You will find all sorts in our dive shop. As you would expect, there is the wide range of diving equipment from masks and snorkels, to wet suits, regulators and Suunto dive computers.

We also have fins, tanks, BCDs, weights, safety sausages, hoodies, underwater flashlights and pretty much everything else you as a recreational or professional diver might need.

For the great outdoors we have things like leech socks, DEET insect repellent, sunblock, head torches, backpacks, all-weather clothing, waterproof containers and various other nik-naks.

But if it’s not available in our store, or perhaps we don’t have your particular size or colour, we can always order it with only a few days lead time.

Our dive shop is also home to our travel centre as well as the HQ of our Kota Kinabalu Dive Club, which is open to residents of Sabah and offers great discounted deals on equipment and diving programs.

We are growing the page’s membership and will soon be offering exclusive Facebook deals and treats, so do click Like the page to stay up to date with what’s new in the store.

Join us for the Sep PADI IDC in Sabah, Malaysia

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 @ 10:48 IDC, News, PADI 教练发展课程, Professional Diving Internships

Join Downbelow this September and become a professional open water scuba instructor

As you’ve probably noticed from our recent posts, we’re gearing up for the September PADI Instructor Development Course at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island in Sabah, Malaysia.

We have a lively group of Professional Scuba Diving interns resident at the moment, 7 of whom look forward to becoming PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors during next month’s PADI IDC.

We still have space available on our September Instructor Development Course, so now is the time to join us and become a PADI Scuba Instructor!

Downbelow provides quality PADI education at world-class facilities in Sabah, where we strictly adhere to PADI procedures and British HSE guidelines.

We also dive every day and as we’re a busy dive centre, our interns always have the option of getting involved and gaining more experience or, because our interns have access to unlimited diving, there is never a reason not to practice diving skills.

It’s no wonder Downbelow-trained graduates are known as highly skilled and experienced scuba professionals.

Once our Interns have completed the IDC & IE, combined with the real-world, hands-on experience they are gaining right now under the direction of resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann and his Go Pro team, they will have a significant edge in the professional scuba diving job market.

The Instructor Development Course starts on 31 August, runs until 11 September and is immediately followed by the PADI Instructor Exam on 12 & 13 September.

Get in touch with us now and this September you too can Go Pro with Downbelow.

Kota Kinabalu PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre Prepping for Sep IDC

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 @ 11:03 IDC, News, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

The crazy bunch of candidates on our Sep 2012 PADI IDC with Downbelow's Richard and James standing tall in the back.

Downbelow’s dive centre is in full swing with the bulk of our September IDC candidates on deck at our Gaya Island PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre.

Resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann and his Go Pro team have started IDC prep with the very eager candidates who will participate in our September PADI Instructor Development Course.

On Monday they started the week with a fun day of Adventure Diving and Search & Recovery skills practice, which took them to the clear waters of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.

It’s been a fantastic week in Kota Kinabalu, with blue-skied days and sunny conditions almost constantly. How to stay out of the water in weather like this?

Meanwhile, as the bulk of the candidates have arrived, the Instructor Development Course start date has been brought forward by a few days, to start on 31 August.

“It’s not too late though,” said Richard in a post recently, “to join our September IDC if you’re interested.”

The next PADI IDC here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah takes place from 31 August – 11 September, and is immediately followed by the PADI Instructor Examination on 12 and 13 September.

If you feel 31 August is too soon, then consider the next IDC after that, taking place in November. Also check out our Professional Internships, which will make a full-fledged, experienced diving professional out of you.

Contact us today to Go Pro with Downbelow.

Latest IDC Candidates Joins Dive Centre in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Monday, August 20th, 2012 @ 10:14 Courses, IDC, News

New IDC Interns Meredith and Jess with resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann in the middle

Resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann took great delight this weekend in welcoming our latest Pro scuba diving interns and IDC candidates, Meredith and Jess.

They immediately jumped into their PADI Divemaster courses and, under Richard’s guidance, made great strides towards climbing the first rung on the Professional Scuba Diving ladder.

Sunday saw them conduct the Scuba Review program, which formed part of their PADI Divemaster course, along with a stamina test. Pro scuba divers have to show that they are in good shape, you know?

Soon they will be up-to-speed and ready for the September Instructor Development Course, which starts on 31 August, runs through until 11 September and finishes with the PADI Instructor Examination in Kota Kinabalu on 12 and 13 September.

If you too want to take the leap and become a professional scuba diver, consider the next IDC course at Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island in Kota Kinabalu, taking place in November.

Also consider a pro internship, the way to go for those serious about training for a professional diving career. Quality education comes with hands-on, real-world experience, which sets you apart in the job market when applying for that dream job.

Get in touch with us and lets talk about how you can Go Pro with Downbelow.

Prince William and Kate Middleton to Visit Sabah, Borneo

Friday, August 17th, 2012 @ 11:01 News

Prince William and Kate Middleton to visit Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

If you’ve had a conversation with anyone in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah recently, then the topic of an impeding Royal visit has undoubtedly been raised.

The whole of Sabah is abuzz with news of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, visiting our fair eastern Malaysian state here in the northern part of Borneo.

Sabah, previously known as North Borneo and a former British Crown Colony, has a rich history tied to the UK.

As part of a tour to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – her 60th year as Monarch – Prince William and Kate Middleton will visit Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, before spending a few days in Malaysia’s second largest state.

Rumour has it that the royal couple will stay in one of Kota Kinabalu’s top 5 star resorts, before spending time in arguably the world’s oldest rain forests and possibly staying at a sought after jungle retreat.

During Prince William and Kate Middleton’s visit, they will undoubtedly discover what so many visitors to Sabah already know – that this special land below the wind is home to the most amazing people, culture, sights and wildlife.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is expected in Sabah towards the middle of next month, and we know that Downbelow’s British owners are indeed very excited about the visit of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

New EFR Update for Sabah Malaysia IDC Candidates

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 @ 12:18 IDC, News, Professional Diving Internships

PADI IDC Staff Instructor Bob leading the IDC candidates through the new EFR incl. Childcare updates

Our September IDC candidates have been busy here on Gaya island in preparation for the Sabah Malaysia IDC start in the first week of September.

Over the weekend Downbelow’s Staff Instructor Alvin (affectionately known as Bob) took the candidates under his wing to bring them up to speed with the new Emergency First Response course.

Our local interns, who are part of our Divemaster Internship Program, also joined the course to get up to speed and join all the Downbelow staff who are all EFR trained.

The September Instructor Development Course takes place from 31 August – 11 September right here at Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre, and will immediately be followed by the PADI Instructor Exam on 12 & 13 September, to held on the Kota Kinabalu mainland.

This is our second-last IDC lined up for 2012, with our next IDC taking place in November.

If you want to upgrade your professional qualification, or if you want to make the leap from recreational diving to professional, then contact us and that’s work out how you can Go Pro with Downbelow.

Getting Wrecked with Downbelow. The Usukan Bay Wrecks that is…

Monday, August 13th, 2012 @ 12:06 Dive Sites, News

History envelopes the Japanese ship wrecks in Usukan Bay, Sabah

The Downbelow team revisited an old favourite over the weekend; the ship wrecks found at Usukan Bay, an hour by speedboat away from Kota Kinabalu.

Richard, our resident PADI Course Director and Speciality Wreck Instructor Trainer, along with Joanne and the island crew enjoyed an awesome couple of dives on the Japanese shipwrecks, which have been down there for around 68 years.

Part of a Japanese World War II convoy that was attacked by an American sub on a rainy night with low visibility, the 3 wrecks are generally accepted as being the warships Hikane Maru, Hiyori Maru and Kokusei Maru.

However, they have never been precisely identified, and is locally referred to as the Rice Bowl Wreck, the Upside-down Wreck and the Usukan Wreck.

Perched between depths of 20m and 40m, the wrecks are best dived with a Nitrox setup so as to allow for a longer bottom-times to explore these history sites.

We’ve dug up a bit of history on the Usukan Bay wrecks and have a photo album with a few selected shots of this and previous dives on the wreck.

Downbelow organises trips out to the Usukan Bay wrecks every so often, so do get in touch with us if you’re dive happy history buff – or just dive happy.

Marine Debris Clean-up Training for Downbelow’s Local Trainees

Friday, August 10th, 2012 @ 17:47 News, Project AWARE

Downbelow's staff does a beach clean-up every morning and gets a head start on September's Debris Month of Action.

Trained for Debris Action

Downbelow’s Local Trainee Program takes Sabahan talent and nurture them to become professional scuba divers, trained to the highest standards.

As all-round skilled pros, and inline with Downbelow’s conservation philosophy, we ensure that our trainees are aware of the environmental threats to the very ocean we as divers enjoy from the start.

Due to various reasons, a fair amount of buoyant trash makes it into the sea around Kota Kinabalu.

Every so often the breeze and tide collude to send what we call “trash tide” our way. That’s when we arrive in the mornings to find the shores in front of our dive centre cluttered with litter.

The first thing our trainees learn, however, is the importance of a daily clean-up when they join the rest of the team in cleaning up our beach.

Visible and Invisible Enemy

At our location marine debris that sink to the bottom is one problem, but the buoyant marine debris threatens a whole different eco system.

Around our dive centre are sensitive mangrove swamps, which provide an important intertidal zone that acts as a nursery for many reef-bound juveniles.

With the hard work of our staff, Downbelow saves our environment from a substantial amount of marine debris.

Get in on the Action

In conjunction with awareness programs such as Project AWARE’s Debris Month of Action campaign, Downbelow is active, not just in highlighting the problem of marine debris, but also in getting our hands dirty in doing our part to reduce the problem.

What are you doing to reduce the problem? Watch this space for how you can get involved in the September Debris Month of Action.

September is Project AWARE's Debris month of Action. Get involved and contribute to keeping our oceans clean.