Archive for September, 2012

Blooming Rafflesia for Adventure Group on Salt Trails

Friday, September 28th, 2012 @ 12:14 Borneo Adventure, News

Our recent group of Borneo Adventurers crossing a river on the Salt Trails

The next batch of our Borneo Adventurers has arrived and is exploring Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

They are out our Gaya island dive centre learning to dive at the moment, but before they arrived on the island, they jungle trekked the Salt Trails along the ridges of the Crocker Range Mountains.

The Salt Trails is one of the popular jungle trekking routes we offer, which is a great nature outing and jungle experience for smalls groups.

Such is the Salt Trails that you never really know what to expect other than lots of virtually impenetrable jungle and river crossings.

This group, however, struck it lucky – because their trail started with spotting the largest bloom in the world – the Rafflesia.

Quite a rare occurrence, the Rafflesia takes ages to mature and in the end has a bloom that only lasts a few days. One of the icons of Sabah, it’s a sought after sight, missed by most visitors due to how difficult it is to find.

And oddity about the Rafflesia bloom, is that it has evolved to attract insects – vital to help it pollinate and procreate – in the oddest of ways. The bloom mimics rotten flesh, both in appearance and in odor.

Therefore, great as the sight of Rafflesia is, it’s difficult to hang around one too long.

Nevertheless, our Borneo Adventure group had the very rare honour of being able to cross the Rafflesia of their Sabah “Must Do” List.

Next, they’re working on crossing off “Become a Scuba Diver”.

The rare Rafflesia flower in bloom.

Interns Gain Experience Post IDC in Sabah, Borneo

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 @ 11:30 Courses, IDC, News, Professional Diving Internships

Two of our current IDC interns getting a bit of group instructing action

While we’re counting down the weeks to our next PADI Instructor Development Course in November, our recent IDC graduates are getting busy with the business of scuba diving.

Our September IDC candidates, who are now qualified PADI OWSIs, are continuing their pro internships and wielding it to gain lots of experience here in Sabah, Borneo.

Yesterday our interns were knee deep in the business of scuba diving, because our PADI IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island was humming with students eager to learn how to dive.

Under the ever-watchful eye of Downbelow’s resident PADI Course Director, Richard Swann, our pro interns busied themselves in all corners of the dive centre.

In one corner Sam had just completed teaching his first PADI Rescue Course, whilst in another Oliver was wrapping up teaching his first PADI Open Water Scuba Diver course.

One of our local interns, Matius, was also spotted giving his first fun-diving briefing as a Divemaster trainee.

And, surrounded by a group of 10 keen-looking students, were Wouter and Nena, starting day 1 of a group open water course. The group is the next batch of our European adventurers who join us for a month of action in Sabah, Borneo.

There’s plenty more action to come over the next few days and we look forward to seeing more of our Instructors’ professional skill being used in practice.

Sign up now for our November PADI Instructor Development Course in Sabah, Borneo and you too can benefit from Downbelow’s professional internships.

Email us now or contact us to take the next step in your diving career – Go Pro with Downbelow.

New PADI OWSI Become AWARE Shark Conservation Speciality Instructors

Monday, September 24th, 2012 @ 11:34 News, Professional Diving Internships

Recently qualified PADI OWSI are now also AWARE Shark Speciality Instructors

Our recently qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors signed up for the good fight when they became shark advocates this weekend past.

Downbelow and resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann is passionate about shark conservation and never lets an opportunity pass to recruit new friends for sharks.

That’s why when any IDC candidates sign up for the Master Scuba Diver Trainer program, they get the AWARE Shark Conservation Speciality Instructor course for free.

Furthermore, the fees for this course are donated, by PADI, to Project AWARE, meaning not only are you signing up to help spread awareness about sharks, you are also supporting Project AWARE’s invaluable work.

“Our successful IDC class of September 2012 are a very conservation minded bunch,” said Richard during the AWARE Shark Conservation Speciality Instructor Course, “so they’re all very keen to spread this important information.”

Richard lives by the mantra that together we can make a difference and he hopes that our new instructors will enjoy spreading the word for sharks.

Dividends for Supporting Project AWARE’s Efforts

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012 @ 10:00 News, Project AWARE

Black tip reef shark in Kota Kinabalu

Downbelow often holds Project AWARE events and we’re very active in promoting fundraising to support their effort and work.

The many little victories along the way aside, one of Project AWARE’s campaigns recently succeeded on a global scale.

At the IUCN World Conservation Congress, which ended last week, the global conservation community voted in favour of Project AWARE sponsored measures to implement important safeguards for the protection of endangered mako and hammerhead sharks.

To put the effort into perspective, the congress – the biggest one in history – was attended by 10,600 participants from 1,100 government and non-government groups.

Project AWARE sat down with the leaders and decision makers of 180 countries who got together to vote on and set, in a democratic way, the planet’s conservation agenda.

Thanks to divers and marine enthusiasts eagerly donating to Project AWARE’s effort, directly and indirectly, they were able to successfully sponsor a motion put to countries that will ensure the sustainability of mako shark populations.

Project AWARE proposed limiting catches, implementing conservation plans and coordination between fisheries & wildlife management authorities.

They also colaborated with other groups on motions they sponsored to help protect sharks at all levels, from national fisheries to international trade.

The conservation fight is a long and slow, but successes such as enjoyed at the IUCN World Conservation Congress prove that effort is worth it.

Get involved in Project AWARE through small gestures, conservation, courses and donations and help make even more of a difference.

Success for Interns at Instructor Exam in Sabah, Malaysia

Friday, September 14th, 2012 @ 11:45 IDC, News

Class of Sep 2012 with resident PADI Course Director Richard 4th from the left, and PADI Examiner George Weggman far right.

“They did it,” posted excited resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann on Facebook last night when he learned the results of the PADI Instructor Exam in Sabah, Malaysia.

“All Downbelow candidates passed,” added Richard, “maintaining our 100% pass rate!”

Indeed, all 7 Downbelow’s candidates who joined our September Instructor Development Course here in Sabah, aced their final exams are now all qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors.

The international group of candidates were all part of our professional internship in Malaysia, which means they now enter the professional scuba diving job market with the benefit of experience to showcase on their resumes.

We dive every day from our busy Gaya island-based dive centre, were our interns have plenty of opportunity to assist with a diverse clientele taking part in the spectrum of PADI courses.

Downbelow specialises in groups, and because of our strict safety standards, interns further get the opportunity to experience the implementation of stringent dive safety plans and workflows; experience you can’t obtain from simulated environments.

With our latest brood flying the coup, we now look forward to our next PADI IDC in November. The IDC runs from 8 – 19 November, followed by the Instructor Exam on 20 & 21 November.

Email or contact us today to join the IDC and gain the benefit of our professional internships.

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!

Candidates Sit for PADI Instructor Exam in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 @ 13:59 Courses, IDC, News

Practice briefings for the PADI Instructor Exam on the island before the real thing started today

The day has finally arrived which our Instructor Development Course candidates have been working towards for the last couple of months in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Yup, today is the start of the PADI Instructor Exam and our 7 PADI IDC candidates will be demonstrating their skills and knowledge to the PADI Examiner, showing that they have the right stuff to be PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors.

Resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann and the rest of Downbelow’s Go Pro team has full confidence in the IDC Class of Sep 2012.

Throughout their internships over the last few months, the candidates have learned, practiced and revised their skills over and over again.

Under the guidance of Richard and his team, the interns have honed their knowledge to a sharp focus and the team has full confidence that the candidates will emerge triumphantly.

The PADI Instructor Exam signals the end of the September IDC and with that we look forward to our next IDC.

Downbelow’s next IDC in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah takes place form 8 – 21 November 2012 at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island.

To join the IDC, or better yet, an internship leading up to the IDC, get in touch with us today and 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!

Open Water Divers Benefit from Divemaster’s Experience

Monday, September 10th, 2012 @ 13:44 Courses, Dive Kota Kinabalu, News

Instructor Wellson far right, with Chelsea, Calvin and Meredith next to him from right to left.

Two prospective PADI Open Water Diver joined us for 4 days of fun at our Gaya island dive centre in Kota Kinabalu recently.

Calvin & Chelsea, originally from Hong Kong, but now residing in New York, joined Downbelow to earn their PADI Open Water Diver qualification whilst on holiday in Kota Kinabalu.

They were under the guidance of Downbelow’s experienced PADI IDC Staff Instructor Wellson Lorons.

Meredith, one of Downbelow’s PADI Divemaster Interns, were also joining to assist Wellson, as well as Calvin & Chelsea, as part of her Divemaster Internship program.

The benefit to our two open water students was the extra attention they got from having not just a Pro Open Water Instructor present their course, but also a Divemaster Intern for extra assistance.

Plenty of fun was had by all and Calvin & Chelsea passed their passed their course with flying colours.

The two newly qualified divers will soon be jetting off back to the USA, whilst Meredith will soon qualify as a PADI Divemaster.

As for Wellson, well, he will continue to provide great service with Downbelow and he looks forward to you joining him when he presents his next dive course in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Contact us today, and let’s go diving!

You really made a difference for us

Sunday, September 9th, 2012 @ 16:43 Guestbook

Hi there Magdalene!

Thank you for your email and sorry for only just replying. It’s been hectic since we got back! We are both back at work and seem to still have jetlag!!

We had a fabulous time in Borneo, it was all that we hoped it would be and more.

The trips that we arranged with you were superb and we only have good things to say about them.

You really made a difference for us as you always responded straight away which gave us peace of mind as it is hard when you are trying to book something from the other side of the world!

You were always so helpful and we felt that we wanted to come and see you in person. We are so glad we did get to meet you.

Hopefully we will return to Borneo sometime and will in the meantime recomend you and ‘Downbelow’ to everyone. Will be in touch soon.

Kindest regards,
Peter and Yvonne

More Value for Your Money – Add a Speciality to your Dive Course

Friday, September 7th, 2012 @ 10:00 Courses, News, Speciality Instructor, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

Excellent value for money when you include a speciality dive course with your diving package

PADI dive courses are deeply rewarding experiences. The achievement of gaining new skills and knowledge and applying them as you explore our beautiful underwater world is, indeed, very fulfilling.

But did you know the reward is even greater when you combine a speciality course with your Open Water Scuba Diver, Advanced Open Water or other diving courses?

Downbelow offers the spectrum of PADI Speciality courses, designed to maximize the pleasure you derive from every dive.

Wether you want to ignite your passion for underwater photography, hone your love for shark conservation, perfect your buoyancy to hovering stationary in any spot, or learn how to pilot an underwater propulsion vehicle, Downbelow can offer a Speciality Course to make it happen.

Simply have a look at all the Speciality Course possibilities, tell us what you would like to achieve, and we will combine it with your diving and accommodation package in way that will save you the most time and money.

Visit our Speciality Course, AWARE Shark Conservation Speciality, AWARE Reef Conservation Speciality, Enriched Air Nitrox Speciality and Digital Underwater Photography Speciality course pages to find your perfect match.

Or get in touch with us and we will help you find the best Speciality course to fit your requirement.

Diving Sabah? Dive Downbelow.

Halfway Done with September IDC in Sabah, Malaysia

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 @ 10:00 IDC, News, PADI 教练发展课程, Professional Diving Internships

Downbelow's Go Pro Instructor Paul presents a module as part of the PADI Instructor Development Course in Sabah, Malaysia

We have a bunch of early birds attending our September PADI IDC, which means our resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann could start a little earlier and give our candidates a little bonus IDC time.

We’re now halfway through September’s Instructor Development Course and our candidates are doing exceptionally well.

The PADI Instructor Examination is set to take place on 12 & 13 September in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, which is – for all practical reasons – crunch time.

The Instructor Exam is the time to show the PADI Examiner how they have developed Instructors, the skills they’ve learned, the knowledge they’ve gained and how they will implement it in real-world situations when they’re working as professional scuba instructors and teaching new divers.

The PADI Instructor Exam is usually a stressful time for IDC candidates, but with the adequate preparation and excellent support our candidates are receiving from Richard and his Go Pro team, they will have nothing to worry about.

Besides, with just a bout a week left, our candidates have ample time to identify their pain-points and for Downbelow’s Go Pro team to give them extra guidance if needed.

But, with most of the skills in the bag and the required knowledge thoroughly crunched, all that is left is to practice, evaluate, rinse and repeat – then polish any jagged edges that remain.

We excitedly look forward to the PADI Instructor Examination and, until then, keep a keen eye on our candidates doing their IDC in Sabah, Malaysia.