Archive for October, 2014

Illegally discarded fishing nets are a scourge!

illegal ghost net, net removal dive, conservation efforts, marine protection, marine debris, padi instructor trainer, padi platinum course director, padi divemaster, professional diving internship, go pro education, professional diver

Illegally dumping a fishing net in the sea damages the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem, because it is ‘marine debris’, in other words unnatural!

Richard Swann, resident Platinum PADI Course Director and Downbelow’s Managing Director, removed a 50-metre net from the shallow depths of the coral reef between 8 and 10 metres, with the necessary assistance of our local Go PRO internship candidates Azhar and Mac.

The two interns are completing their PADI dive education with mentor Richard to qualify as PADI Divemasters within our 1-year Downbelow-created ‘Work4aCareer’ program! Soon-to-be dive professionals, they receive a unique education by physically experiencing the positive contributions to our marine environment.

As part of their 1-year internship, Mac and Azhar acquire amazing experience by participating in such challenging conservation projects as net removal dives. In their future dive careers, they will refer to all of their experience with us to fight against marine debris, a plight our local area faces on a daily basis.

We fully support Mac and Azhar to continue their dive education to become PADI Instructors in their future, so they may extend their passion for conservation to others!

Contact our Head Office for more details on our Go PRO internship programs to include professional dive training conducted at our Gaya Island beach house!

Diving with the fun-loving students of SEASFiRE!


It’s been non-stop fun at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya Island, as a group of fun-loving students of the SEASFiRE organization from Mont Kiara International School Kuala Lumpur visit for a scuba diving adventure!

This is their second year in a row, and many participants from the previous year returned with new members joining, to learn about the marine environment, its conservation and further their PADI dive education with our team of dedicated PADI Instructors! There are a variety of recreational dive courses being conducted by several of our Instructors, who are also of varied PADI professional levels. The list of courses being taught is the Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Digital Underwater Photography Specialty, Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty and PADI Rescue Diver.

There wasn’t a dull moment as our Downbelow team educated our friends of the SEASFiRE team to explore the beautiful coral reefs of Sabah, Borneo! Get in touch with our Head Office to arrange a visit for your own group of adventurers’! We offer years’ of experience in adventure training and team building activities to tailor a suitable program for any size group!

Go PRO camera and accessory combo on promotion!

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 @ 08:00 Dive Shop, News


We are anticipating for this promotion to catch the attention of many adventurous travellers out there!

Our Dive Shop Supervisor decided on creating a combination package of two great Go PRO products for you to capture the amazing sights and sounds of your Borneo holiday!


Decide on your Go PRO camera from the selection we have, and receive an LCD BacPac accessory too! The LCD BacPac is easily attached to any of these camera models and offers you flexibility when recording your photos and videos.

Visit our Dive Shop to discuss with our Supervisor the differences between the Hero3 (White), the Hero3+ (Silver) and the Hero3+ (Black) to help you make the right choice for you!

This promotion lasts until December 31st 2014, making its availability perfect for an end-of-year or New Year treat! Contact our Head Office (same location as our Dive Shop) for more details.


It’s a multicultural ‘melting pot’ in Borneo!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 @ 15:00 Borneo Adventure, Danish Adventure Group, Groups & Schools, News



Borneo is an anthropologists’ dream! A list of the ethnic tribes in the state of Sabah alone is astounding, compared to the rest of the world and this is what makes travelling Sabah so special for our adventure group on their Expedition Borneo!

All the way from Denmark, the difference in culture is so beautifully represented in the idyllic town of Sandakan, Sabah’s former capital. During their tour of the town, their itinerary includes visiting the elaborately decorated Puu Jih Shih temple and marveling at the panoramic vista of the Sulu Sea!

Sandakan is the gateway to the heart of Borneo, and our adventurers’ will be introduced to not only culture, but to the biodiversity of wildlife that can be found along the Kinabatangan River when participating on early morning and late afternoon cruises.

A week in Sandakan is just what they need to rest and relax after learning to scuba dive at our Gaya Island beach house in Kota Kinabalu, and more importantly before their Mount Kinabalu challenge!

For more information on how we can cater a suitable Expedition Borneo! program for you to explore Sabah get in touch with our Head Office! We are experienced in organizing both small and large groups for a variety of educational adventure programs, so contact us for more details!


Pavel arrives for our next IDC!

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 @ 08:00 Courses, IDC, News, Professional Diving Internships


Our next PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) is just around the corner, scheduled to begin on November 2nd, and Pavel has arrived in Kota Kinabalu to receive his educational materials from our Travel Centre Manager Alice!

Alice explains to Pavel the general schedule and logistics of the IDC and, as part of his Go PRO internship program, how our operations will provide him the support he needs to become a successful candidate for the PADI Instructor Examination (IE).

In each CrewPak, the contents are required for our IDC candidates to successfully complete their professional dive training. Our dedicated Go PRO team of PADI Instructor Trainers will advise and counsel the candidates on using the tools of dive instruction in an efficient manner for the benefit of their future student divers learning.

Some of the IDC will take place in the multimedia classroom facilities in our Head Office to deliver presentations on various topics of teaching in the dive industry. In-water teaching presentations are assessed at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya Island, right in front of the beach house, making it so easily accessible to complete as much dive training as possible!

For more details on how we can create a professional internship program for you to Go PRO in Sabah, contact Alice or any of our Head Office staff, and an itinerary will be arranged according to your individual needs!


It makes us happy to be part of your happiness!

Monday, October 27th, 2014 @ 16:23 Courses, Discover Scuba Diving, News


How flattered we were to be involved in one of the most happy and life-changing moments for our international clients from Hong Kong at our Gaya Island beach house!

During a lovely couples’ 1-day PADI Discover Scuba Diving program, their PADI Instructor assisted in setting up the perfect moment underwater for the marriage proposal! Of course she said ‘yes’!

Our team of PADI professionals’ main concern is their clients’ safety, and we are passionate to providing that ‘extra mile’ in our customer service to make their Sabah adventure extra special!

Downbelow’s island staff team have celebrated in so many occasions at our premier PADI 5 Star Dive Centre – always eager to sing the ‘happy birthday’ song! Sometimes, there needn’t be any reason for singing!

Get in touch with our Head Office staff team to arrange a visit to our beach house and experience one of our island activities for your next special occasion, and our team will create an itinerary catered to your individual needs!

Exemplary team of Project AWARE divers!

Sunday, October 26th, 2014 @ 15:00 Conservation, News, Project AWARE, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

netRecently, an organized team of our island staff team of certified and professional divers and our Go PRO interns, promptly removed an illegally discarded fishing net found by our PADI professionals.

A special guest who has been experiencing our daily dive package to explore the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park joined the team!

The crew completed their mission in a single dive and our resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann spotted a turtle close to the area where the net was only moments ago, proving our efforts of conservation make a positive difference!

It’s a wonderful feeling, to see marine life free in their natural environment and for us to protect our beautiful nature!

Conservation is a passion of ours and many of our programs involve a unique learning experience for travellers to Sabah to gain an appreciation and awareness on the benefits of preserving nature. Contact our Head Office to discuss a suitable itinerary for you to explore Sabah’s biodiversity!

Instructor Cindy upgrades Jade to Open Water!


Dedicated and full time PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor Cindy teaches the Open Water course to Jade from Hong Kong at our Gaya Island beach house!

Initially, Jade committed to the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program, which is a 1-day ‘try diving’ experience. Our travel experts will suggest this to clients who are uncertain whether they will want to achieve a license, but if they do enjoy themselves so much (and usually they do!) they only need to upgrade to the PADI Open Water Diver course.

Cindy easily continues Jade’s dive education to the PADI Open Water Diver because the first session of dive skills in the course and program are similar to one another. Two more days of dive training and she will be qualified!

If you’ve been considering to learn SCUBA, contact one of our helpful travel experts who will suggest a 1-day PADI Discover Scuba Diving program for you to discover the amazing underwater world at our Gaya Island Dive Centre in Sabah, Borneo!

Making bubbles and discovering SCUBA!


PADI Instructor Vic and his acting certified assistant Maria conduct the PADI Bubblemaker and PADI Discover Scuba Diving program for our international clients at our Gaya Island beach house!

It’s the first time for all our clients to ever breathe underwater, and the most typical description of it our PADI Instructors hear is, ‘it’s weird!’

Our Instructors, like Vic, will encourage their student divers to relax and give the time they need to acclimatize to the new sensations of scuba diving.

Rest assured, PADI standards require the participants to be taught steps from basic to complex, so their dive education is a gradual development.

The PADI Bubblemaker is for children aged 8 and 9 years old, and is structured in the same way as the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program, which is for participants who are 10 years of age or older. It’s easy for Vic to conduct both programs concurrently and adhere to PADI standards, and Go PRO intern Maria will receive so much benefit from observing Vic’s instructional skills.

Contact our Head Office for more details on scuba diving programs and courses we conduct at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre in Sabah, Borneo!

Danish adventurers’ learn to SCUBA on Expedition Borneo!


Expedition Borneo! is a program that invites travel enthusiasts to explore the natural beauty Sabah has to offer, and our 2nd group of adventurers’ this month from Denmark arrive at our Gaya Island beach house for overnight camping whilst learning to scuba dive on the PADI Open Water!

They will also receive a unique learning experience as they are exposed to the natural biodiversity through various island activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking and jungle trekking.

An experienced PADI Instructor of our island staff team delivers a presentation on the benefits of ocean protection, AWARE Coral Reef Conservation. The unique education we conduct takes the form of practical experience, so our island staff organizes a beach cleanup session along the shores of Gaya Island, and when snorkeling, mesh bags are brought along to collect any marine debris found. Participants of Expedition Borneo! are encouraged to reduce their ecological footprint as a result of their 30-day experience travelling Sabah!

Expedition Borneo! is a program that our travel experts can customize to suit the needs of your group, whether small or large, and create a unique Borneo adventure!