Discovering a new species in Sabah is very likely!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 @ 08:00 News, Sightings, University of South Wales

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Great friend, educator and honorary Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures staff, Professor Peter Roy Wiles, enjoys the fact that discovering a new species in Sabah is very likely!

On an exciting day trip to the Kiulu River, nearby Kota Kinabalu, the professor is joined by Downbelow’s Marketing Director Joanne Swann and admin executive Shirley from our HQ, in search of a watermite!

Professor Wiles’ years of research into watermite species have contributed enormously to the future of scientific studies of the miniscule arthropod, scientific name Hydrachnidiae.

For the first couple of weeks of his visit to Sabah, Professor Wiles accompanied a group of students from the University of South Wales on their 5th annual tropical ecology field trip, which is hosted by our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre.

Marine conservation is, and always will be, an important element to the Downbelow company mission, and it’s a privilege and honour to host groups of school and university students on their unique educational program.

The professor and his helpful assistants do find a watermite unrecognisable to our expert, however we must wait with bated breath for the results on whether it is definitely a newly discovered species, so follow this story to find out more!

For more information on exploring the beautiful and exotic nature of Sabah, contact our experienced Sabah Travel Centre experts, who will be more than happy to create a suitable program for you!

Practical experience as a PADI Divemaster!

Saturday, April 18th, 2015 @ 08:00 Divemaster, News, Professional Diving Internships

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Resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann attests that practical experience as a PADI Divemaster on our Go PRO internship programs is a favoured learning method for our ‘Work For a Career’ trainees!

Now they have completed their PADI Rescue Diver course, Oliver and Chris have only just begun their journey into the professional scuba diving industry.

Richard shares his experience on the running of a smooth dive operations that prioritises diver safety. They will gain confidence with more knowledge they have, so for their ‘lesson’ recently, Richard briefs them on spotting underwater marine life. It’s a skill that needs practise, which is why many of our island staff team (even those very experienced senior PADI Instructors), go leisure diving during their days off too.

The more they ‘fine-tune’ their eyes to search for certain animals, the quicker they spot it for their diving clients who will be very happy to see it! Richard briefs the boys on how to find a ghost pipefish he spotted on a recent dive, with very precise details of its behaviour – because its behaviour dictates its habitat!

The boys will be getting lots more experience guiding as we have plenty of adventure travel groups, such as Expedition Borneo, arriving at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre to explore TARP!

For more information on the variety of diver experiences our Go PRO internship programs offer, contact our Kota Kinabalu HQ to discuss a suitable itinerary with our experienced and helpful Go PRO advisors!

Planting in Sabah for rainforest conservation!

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Before returning to Kota Kinabalu city centre, our Expedition Borneo group receive another practical lesson about tree planting in Sabah for rainforest conservation!

Their itinerary is filled with the very best adventure activities and ecotourism-based attractions found in Sabah, which will offer the young adventurers’ a greater appreciation for the natural environment.

For 30 days, the unique educational programs are conducted under practical experiences, such as planting young sapling trees that are endemic to the Kinabatangan River and Bilit Village area! Eventually, the terrestrial biodiversity will thrive!

One epic challenge, which is probably the toughest in Sabah, is climbing to Mount Kinabalu’s Low’s Peak at an altitude of 4,095m! Before they begin each activity, they will receive a briefing of what to expect in a comprehensive presentation delivered at our Kota Kinabalu HQ, where its location is right next door to our Kota Kinabalu Dive Shop. This suits our participants very well, as they may purchase items they may have forgotten to pack.

Contact our Sabah Travel Centre, where our experienced experts will be delighted to assist in creating a personalised itinerary for a travelling group of any size to experience beautiful Sabah, Borneo!

Sabah Travel Centre prepares you for Mount Kinabalu!

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 @ 08:00 Climb Mt Kinabalu, News

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Expert Stephanie, from Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures’ Sabah Travel Centre prepares client, Karen, for Mount Kinabalu!

Karen from the US will be climbing to Mount Kinabalu’s Lows Peak, as well as descending via Ferrata. And the following day, after her mountain climbing program, she may visit our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre for a day of leisure diving! It’s not a problem to ascend to altitude before scuba diving, however the other way around will be putting health and safety at risk.

Karen didn’t have to think to much about that though because our Sabah Travel Centre experts are experienced in the rules of recreational scuba diving.

There’s more preparation to climb Mount Kinabalu’s summit trail than timing though! Our dedicated website to our mountain climbing packages references lots of advice and FAQs, as well as important information, for our clients to successfully achieve their goals!

Contact our Kota Kinabalu HQ and we will create a personalised itinerary for your journey in Sabah to include all the adventure activities you would like to experience!

Award-winning Go PRO internships at Downbelow!

Thursday, April 9th, 2015 @ 08:00 IDC, News, Professional Diving Internships

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Go PRO internships at Downbelow Marine and Wildlife Adventures are award-winning, and for the 4th consecutive year in a row, resident Platinum PADI Course Director and Managing Director Richard Swann, achieves Platinum status!

Attaining Platinum-level is very special to our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre because it means that the active teaching we conduct on our Go PRO internship programs is being noticed within the professional scuba diving industry.

There are 58 Course Directors in the world who have achieved the Platinum status, and 25 of those Platinum Course Directors are based in the Asia Pacific region! It goes to show the popularity of completing professional diver training in the tropics amongst prospective candidates!

Downbelow’s Go PRO team are integral to the achievement of our Platinum status, for each valued member contributes to the beginning of our PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC) candidates’ career!

For more information on our highly successful professional scuba diving internship programs, get in touch with our helpful and experienced Go PRO advisors at our Kota Kinabalu HQ!

GST is upon us, but our KK Dive Shop is ready!

Monday, April 6th, 2015 @ 08:00 Dive Shop, News

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Now GST is upon us, but our KK Dive Shop is more than ready with the thorough preparation they’ve had in the past several weeks!

Supervisor Karen attended to ‘waves’ of walk-in clients who came in to take advantage of our GST-free products up until April 1st!

Because of the increased popularity during that time, Karen is eager to order more to keep our stock healthy. She’s also been researching some additional items that would benefit our clients on their various travels in Kota Kinabalu and Sabah. It’s always one of the most exciting ‘happenings’ in our Kota Kinabalu Dive Shop, as well as our Sabah Travel Centre, when Karen’s orders are delivered to our HQ. The reason being that our staff get the opportunity to understand the features of new items to benefit them with their product knowledge and assist our walk-in guests where our Dive Shop Supervisor Karen might need assistance from time to time.

Many of our clients are recreational divers, and they are inspired to progress their diver education to become professional on our Go PRO internship programs to qualify as PADI Divemaster or PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI).

Get more details on the products of our KK Dive Shop and the value-for-money packages we offer our Go PRO internship candidates!

Future marine scientists help out TARP mangroves!

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From the University of South Wales, a group of future marine scientists help out the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park mangroves!

Mangroves are an essential environment for the health of our marine ecosystem, particularly for juvenile species, small crustaceans, sea turtles and dugongs.

It’s a part of our duty as PADI professionals to protect and preserve our marine environment, and the university students believe likewise of themselves, especially after qualifying as PADI Open Water Divers.

The students had already certified back in the UK, and arriving at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre, our experienced Instructors conducted a refresher session to acclimatise them to the warm tropical waters of the South China Sea – not that it’s tricky!

After plenty of buoyancy practise, resident Platinum PADI Course Director and Downbelow’s Managing Director Richard Swaan, introduced a underwater visual census survey technique. With each dive, the students underwater tasks for the benefit of their scientific degree field study gets more complex, and as is expected, they will be all the more confident after such practise!

The better part of an afternoon is spent cleaning the mangrove area nearby our island beach house, where our island staff team organised a clean-up to rid the area of marine debris.

There’s a lot of common ground between marine science and professional diving, and it’s only natural many of the university students visit again to continue their diver education and Go PRO to become PADI Divemaster or PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor (OWSI) on our award-winning PADI Instructor Development Course (IDC)!

For more information on a marine education program our Sabah Travel Centre can create specially for you, or any of our Go PRO internship programs!

Downbelow headline local Sabah newspaper!

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Downbelow headline local newspaper, after Resident Platinum PADI Course Director and Downbelow’s Managing Director Richard Swann got a shot of a long-awaited Whale Shark in the TAR marine park!

During a visit from a group of Politeknik Sandakan students, many participants witnessed the first migration of Whale Shark through the local Kota Kinabalu waters! It was a juvenile, but that doesn’t mean to say it was small, far from it – Whale Sharks are an amazing sight for the very reason that they are the largest fish in the world!

As quickly as he could, Richard managed to get a few shots of the ‘big fish’ to show our Politeknik Sandakan students whilst they watched the animal swim around and under the Downbelow speedboat they were aboard.

Wildlife spotting means just that – not touching! It’s important to display appropriate interaction with any animal, whether underwater or terrestrial land, which is the very focus of the article for which one of Richard’s photos goes with.

In dive briefings, our PADI Instructors will always remind clients on the environmentally-responsible behaviour towards marine life, and we commend the writer and newspaper for spreading awareness on the importance of our local community to gain such appreciation.

Contact our Sabah Travel Centre for the chance to spot wildlife (underwater or on land!), for you and/or your travelling group in Sabah, Borneo!

Adventure group try zipline action in Kota Kinabalu!

Monday, March 30th, 2015 @ 08:00 Borneo Adventure, Danish Adventure Group, Groups & Schools, News

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Our first expedition group of the year try the zipline action in Kota Kinabalu for an extra land day trip to explore more of the very best attractions in Sabah!

Zipline, wall climbing, abseiling and rope-walking activities, which are all located outdoors with a view of the beautiful Crocker Range mountain plains, is so close to Kota Kinabalu city centre! With its accessibility such a convenience for our adventure group, they had a full afternoon of fun and fitness!

One of our Sabah Travel Centre experts, Jane, escorted the group to the venue and assisted when necessary. There’s a long list of attractions in and around Kota Kinabalu, and it’s important that our travel and tours packages consist of other operations that also share our corporate responsibility to practise environmental friendliness.

This group of 20 young adventurers have already experienced many other activities within their 30-day Expedition Borneo program to discover more about Sabah, Borneo, such as climbing Mount Kinabalu – a massive achievement for any climber!

Get more information on how our Sabah Travel Centre experts can assist you to create a detailed itinerary for you and your group to explore Kota Kinabalu!

Why climb Mount Kinabalu? For 1 night at Kinabalu Park!

Friday, March 27th, 2015 @ 08:00 Climb Mt Kinabalu, News, Professional Diving Internships

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For 1 night at Kinabalu park, why not climb Mount Kinabalu!?

Trisha and Naychi had a day free to take up our awesome mountain climbing promotion, in which we offer the same price for our 3 days and 2 nights itinerary as the 2 days and 1 night!…just think of it as a FREE nights’ stay!

It really does wonders for energy levels to acclimatise to the difference in climate at Kinabalu National Park for 1 night before starting the arduous climb to the Laban Rata Plateau.

For the average climber, the hike from Timpohon Gate to the Laban Rata accommodation compound is approximately 5-6 hours, depending on climbers’ physical fitness and pace, so Trisha and Naychi didn’t hesitate to explore the grounds of Kinabalu National Park HQ.

They’ll also want to have a day or two to relax any muscle aches and pains before they begin their Go PRO internship program at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre. However, we do know realize how hard it is to take a break when there’s the possibility of going diving. It would be wise to discuss with Supervisor Karen what gear we stock at our Kota Kinabalu Dive Shop to maximise your diver safety.

Get more details when you contact our Sabah Travel Centre, where our experienced Go PRO advisors can create an entire itinerary for you to explore the very best of Sabah!

Learn to Dive with PADI Scuba diving courses for divers visiting Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Borneo.
Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved By Downbelow. Unless otherwise stated all text, web & graphic design and photography is by Richard and Joanne

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