Frogfish choose Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park!

frogfish, marine biology, tunku abdul rahman marine park, sabah travel centre, downbelow marine and wildlife adventures, project aware, padi 5 star idc dive centre, padi professionals, leisure diving program, kota kinabalu, borneo

What is it about Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park that makes frogfish choose it for their home?

Frogfish (Antennariidae) are part of the anglerfish family, characterised for luring their prey, and learning frogfish marine biology has shown us they are masters of camouflage! They can change colour to suit their environment; or they may use other organisms, such as algae, to hide.

Recently, our island staff team have enjoyed visiting a frogfish that has taken up residency on a coral block of a reef in the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park where we operate. It’s very special (amongst divers) to find a frogfish because these fish are somewhat particular of their marine environment. So if the frogfish stays, it’s very happy – the best compliment, for Project AWARE supporters like ourselves at Downbelow, to receive!

Contact us at our Sabah Travel Centre to arrange a daily leisure diving program at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre to visit the frogfish with one of our experienced PADI professionals!

Superb scuba diving in TAR Park!

Monday, August 18th, 2014 @ 08:35 Gaya Island Animals, News


Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) Park is a protected marine park with rules and regulations in place to preserve the marine life and their coral reef home to offer truly stunning world class diving!

One of our scuba diving clients, staying at our partners Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, made the right decision when he recently joined our daily dive package conducted at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya Island!

Our dive operation offers safety as its highest priority and this is just one of the reasons our level of customer service is rated excellent! Visiting our island beach house includes many perks such as, transport logistics, and for guests at Rasa Ria this is very convenient because the Resort is located outside of Kota Kinabalu city centre.

Those staying at Rasa Ria Resort find our daily dive package to be well worth the early start in the morning. Once arriving at the beach house, registration with the park for the 3 guided boat dives is completed with the assistance of our team of PADI professionals and the package includes equipment rental, a buffet lunch of local cuisine, refreshments all day and all marine park conservation fees.

The professional dive guides of our island team are dedicated to showing our clients the natural biodiversity to be found in TAR Park. For example, the recent leisure dive one of our guests from Rasa Ria shared with an enormous starry puffer fish!

Get in touch with a member of our Head Office team to arrange a suitable itinerary catered to your individual needs when you decide to visit our Gaya Island beach house to explore the beautiful TAR Park!

“Ghost” Hunting in TARP – The Exotic Ghostpipe Fish of Borneo

Thursday, June 26th, 2014 @ 15:23 Gaya Island Animals, News, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park


Ghostpipefish characteristics are as exotic as their name suggests and their cryptic behaviour makes finding them a challenge even if you know where to look! Our dive guides have spotted a few in and around TAR Park and one female was found with eggs in her pelvic fins, which are modified to form a brood pouch.

They are closely related to the family Syngnathida. Seahorses and Pipefish are from the same order and they share the long tube-like snout. Feeding mainly on crustaceans and small fish, they live in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate waters from Indian to Western Pacific oceans.

We’re expecting more ghostpipefish soon, so if you want to see these awesome creatures, you’ve got to get into the water!

Ever heard of salps? Visit us at our Gaya Island beach house to witness the population bloom!

Monday, April 14th, 2014 @ 09:52 Gaya Island Animals, News


We are noticing an incredible population bloom of salps in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park!

The salps are related to sea squirts as they filter feed in the same way.

Why there is such a high number of salps found, is because of the naturally occurring phytoplankton bloom, or usually termed algae bloom.

Our clients whether enjoying an experience program of open water scuba diving or snorkeling, will be amazed at the view before them. The salps link together to form colonies and freely swim in the water column to create an otherworldly effect to our in-water activities!

Contact one of our Head Office staff to arrange a daily dive package or snorkel safari program to experience the beautiful underwater world at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya Island, Borneo!

It’s truly amazing to dive with a battery of barracudas!

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 @ 09:37 Gaya Island Animals, News, Sightings, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

Barracudas Borneo

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park offer incredible sights during open water scuba diving and our premier PADI 5 Star IDC beach house conduct 3 dives on a daily basis within the protected area!

Our professional dive guides are very experienced with the coral reefs in the marine park, because it’s their underwater office!
Our full time guides navigate effortlessly along the various reef systems and show our clients the very best to offer in the warm tropical waters. For example, a battery of barracuda is most likely found at certain reefs, usually where it is closer to shore, so that they may take the opportunity to acquire easy prey.

Our guides understand the behaviour of fish through studying them during their scuba diving career, which is why scuba divers and snorkelers, particularly professional divers, act as ambassadors for protecting and conserving the marine environment.

Find out more on how you can volunteer your efforts and join Project AWARE’s movement to preserve our beautiful marine world. Contact one of our friendly Head Office staff to arrange a suitable itinerary of daily leisure diving at our premier PADI 5 Star IDC beach house in Borneo!

Little Red the Borneo Ghostpipe Fish Photo Update

Saturday, April 27th, 2013 @ 09:00 Gaya Island Animals, News

11722_10200238107369375_464293206_nWe promised there would be more photos of our Little Red and so here is the latest of our favourite Ghostpipe Fish taken with a 60mm lens by Downbelow’s Managing Director and resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann.

Looking good there buddy!

See other amazing photos taken in Borneo by Richard – the photos are not just limited to underwater but includes topside as well. Do check our photography collection page!

In case you are out of the loop or just forgot about Little Red, we found him under the jetty just outside our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre back in January.

In March we spotted him again and that time he was with a partner.

It’s amazing to know our “office space” is sharing with some beautiful marine animals.

Richard and Strike Diving in Sabah Together To Visit Ruby the Froggy

Friday, April 26th, 2013 @ 09:50 Gaya Island Animals, News, TAR Park Froggies

529208_10200232875198574_2034616083_nDownbelow Operations Manager & PADI Instructor Strike couldn’t help but to have a dive with Downbelow Managing Director & resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann to meet Ruby the Froggy.

He made full use of the Sola 500 dive light which performed perfectly in the low visibility conditions. By the way, you can read our review of the Sola 500 Dive Light on our online Dive Shop.

Richard & Strike first dived together around 10 or more years ago & both still love a dive together once a while.

Ruby the Froggy is a shallow water Frogfish or Anglerfish from the family of Antennariidae and can be found within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. You can read more about them in our Frogfish Marine Biology page.

Big Vic Goes for a Dive with Platinum CD Richard in Sabah

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 @ 16:01 Diving Malaysia, Gaya Island Animals, News


Resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann introduced fellow instructor Big Vic to Ruby the Frogfish recently. They also had fun with a HUGE puffer fish on the same dive.

There are not many places in the world where a variety of marine life among healthy corals is situated just a few minutes away from the city. The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is one such place and you need dive there at least once whenever you are in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Both Richard and Vic had an awesome dive & Vic got some first hand experience which will be useful for his upcoming Photography Speciality Instructor Course with Richard who is also an award winning Professional Underwater Photographer. Vic couldn’t ask for any other better teacher than him.

When Vic is done with the specialty course, he will in turn teach others how to take good underwater images.

Are you interested in photography? Why not take your skills to another level, and take photos of the vibrant and colourful underwater scenes.

Let us arrange your PADI Digital Underwater Photography Course with us today. We also have the Canon G12 with its underwater housing for rent from our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre.

Contact us for details.

Latest Turtle Sightings in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Borneo

Thursday, March 28th, 2013 @ 17:09 Gaya Island Animals, News, Sightings


We are experiencing quite a number of green turtles sightings in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park at the moment.

The above is a picture of one such turtle captured by Downbelow’s resident Platinum PADI Course Director and PRO underwater photographer Richard Swann.

Generally turtles can be seen in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Borneo all throughout the year so if you’re lucky you might stumble upon one such beautiful creature during one of your dives.

You don’t have to be a scuba diver – many of our snorkelling clients also encounter turtles underwater during their activity.

So come and dive and snorkel with us, you might find yourself out in the open sea with a turtle swimming next to you.

Contact us today!

Story of our favourite Ghostpipe Fish in Borneo

Thursday, March 28th, 2013 @ 17:04 Gaya Island Animals, News


Remember “Little Red” back in January?

Downbelow’s PADI Open Water Staff Instructor (OWSI) Pablo discovered him under the jetty one day in January and after around a month off he went on to the open waters but guess what – Pablo spotted him again this morning while taking a couple of PADI Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) participants along the house reef.

This time however our favourite Ghostpipe fish has found a girlfriend :)

All of us became very fond of Little Red as he could be seen from the surface & we are delighted he has found himself a steady loved one with the potential of “babies” on the way ;)

Resident Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann has been documenting his progress from above & down below so look out for more amazing images.