Second Group of Students from the University of Glamorgan in Borneo

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 @ 14:08 Glamorgan University, News


A few days ago we said our goodbyes to the students of the University of Glamorgan after making our dive centre their home for the past week. The future marine professionals were here as part of their field trip which form part of their tropical ecology degree education.

However that was not the end of Downbelow playing host to this energetic and fun group of people as this week we welcome the second group of students from the same university.

Downbelow Managing Director and PADI Platinum Course Director Richard Swann was on hand to welcome the students to the island as he introduced them to our professional team of local instructors and the dive centre on the shores of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.

The whole team looks forward to spending time with such motivated students and future scientists, together they all share knowledge and experience.

So a big welcome to the second group of students from the University of Glamorgan! Keep track of their activity via our photo gallery.

Glamorgan University Students Back in Borneo

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 @ 14:14 Glamorgan University, News


Every year Downbelow host the wonderful students from the Glamorgan Uni for the marine field trip segment of their tropical ecology module which is part of their degree.

40+ participants will learn various scientific underwater field skills over the next couple of weeks with the Downbelow team led by PADI CD Richard in the very real setting of Sabah, Borneo.

This is most definitely one of the highlights of Richards where he spends time with this incredibly interesting bunch of fun professors & students with so many awesome objectives.

Welcome to Borneo and we are happy to have all of you back here again!

Glamorgan Uni Students in Gaya Island Beach Cleanup

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 @ 10:48 Glamorgan University, News, Project AWARE

University of Glamorgan, Wave 2, with the spoils of their beach cleanup effort

As is our practice, and a good tradition, all Downbelow’s group activities include an environmental awareness module, which is followed up with environmental cleanup action.

The second wave of University of Glamorgan students did not break with this tradition, and before they left our picturesque slice of paradise here in Gaya island, they participated in a Project AWARE Beach Cleanup.

Thanks to all our recent group activity, there was markedly less rubbish around.

Still, a large tire, which doesn’t float, yet somehow ends up on shores of the vehicle-free Gaya island, was collected, significantly adding to the total weight.

Our University of Glamorgan group has since returned to the UK and we look forward to when next they visit.

University of Glamorgan Students Group 2 in Sabah, Borneo

Thursday, April 5th, 2012 @ 11:52 Glamorgan University, Groups & Schools, News

Group 2 of University of Glamorgan Students at their jungle camp in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo

The second group of the students from the University of Glamorgan has arrived and made themselves at home at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island here in Kota Kinabalu.

For 8 nights, the students are temporary residents of Gaya island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, 10 minutes from the capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu.

They will spend their days recording data about the coral reefs and sea-grass beds near our dive centre as part of a Marine Ecology course module.

Our Kota Kinabalu dive centre is uniquely positioned to offer a exciting environment for university groups, as well as private and corporate groups looking for fun, adventure and team-building.

The University of Glamorgan students are particularly chuffed with their jungle camp, pitched on the open patch of grass next to our dive centre, surrounded by tropical jungle.

For more information about how we can customise a Borneo adventure for your group, drop us a line or contact us.

Borneo’s Most Recent Whale Shark Sighting in Kota Kinabalu

The tails of the pair of whalesharks our Glamorgan group spotted while diving in Kota Kinabalu on Sunday

Sunday was another beautiful day in Kota Kinabalu’s TAR Park where Downbelow is hosting a group of 19 students from the University of Glamorgan during their research project in Sabah, Borneo.

Resident PADI Course Director Richard was, as always, in the water, this time leading a group of 6 students and assisted by one of our professional interns, on an Adventure Diver course.

During the Fish ID dive of the course, things went from adventurous to downright exciting, when something big came up for a closer look, perhaps wanting to be identified?

Kota Kinabalu, not too far from the northern tip of Borneo as we are, have seen quite a bit of whale shark action this season, which typically stretches from January to March. We’ve had whale shark sightings every month so far this year.

In spite of this, when the 2 large beasts appeared from the blue it was nevertheless a surprise.

Not only did the 6 students doing the adventure dive get to see the whale sharks, but the remainder of the group, doing a fun dive nearby also got to see them.

One of the group, David Taylor, had a camera handy, and managed to snap the tail end of the pair as they made their way past the group.

“I’m pretty pleased with this picture”, David said commenting on the pic posted on Facebook, “even with my novice underwater photography skills.”

Novice skills perhaps, but that makes the catch all the sweeter.

We hope that the whale sharks will be around this part of Borneo for still many weeks to come, and will keep a keen lookout for whale sharks in Kota Kinabalu.

If you fancy your chances of seeing a whale shark while diving in Kota Kinabalu, contact us and let’s go diving.

Glamorgan Students Do Survey Diving Skills Session

Monday, March 26th, 2012 @ 11:21 Glamorgan University, Groups & Schools, News

The University of Glamorgan students fun diving following their survey skills diving session

The group of 19 students from the University of Glamorgan, currently residing at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya island, got their skills on this weekend.

In Borneo as part of a module for their bachelor and master degrees, the students will be surveying the coral reefs and sea-grass beds near Gaya island.

The class of 2011 kicked off the survey last year and gather interesting stats about density and diversity of various forms of underwater life.

The class of 2012 will build on their work and survey the same spots again to see what has happened to the environment over the last year. The more data points are collected, the more insightful the University of Glamorgan research becomes.

Before they can start their surveying though, the students need particular skills; buoyancy being an important one.

Lead by resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann and his team of expert PADI Instructors, the students took to the depths of the TAR Park in Kota Kinabalu to hone their specific diving skills.

The skills session was followed by some fun diving, giving the Glamorgan Uni students the opportunity to enjoy a bit of the underwater life they will soon be studying in detail.

Glamorgan Students Sign the Shark Petition. Have you?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 @ 10:01 Glamorgan University, Groups & Schools, News, Project AWARE

Resident PADI Course Director Richard explains the shark petition to the Glamorgan group

The new group from the Glamorgan University moved into the temporary accommodations on Gaya island in Sabah, Borneo this week and have made themselves at home.

They will be with us for a few weeks here in Kota Kinabalu as part of a Tropical Ecology module of the Bachelors Degree they are studying at the uni.

In line with Downbelow’s Marine Conservation, resident PADI Course Director, Richard Swann, wasted no to time to bring home the message about environmental responsibility and the main causes of the day.

An avid Marine Biologist himself and a crusader for cause of sharks, Richard brought the Glamorgan group up to speed with Project AWARE’s various shark initiatives and how they can help by signing the shark petition.

The 40 strong group were more than happy to join the fight for legislation that will slow the decline of the world’s shark populations and added their signatures to the petition.

Have you voided out for sharks? Sign the shark petition and join the shark fight for survival.

Downbelow Richard and Dr. Richard Go Diving

Saturday, May 21st, 2011 @ 12:38 Dive Sites, Diving Sabah, Glamorgan University, Groups & Schools, News

Dr. Richard from the Glamorgan University in the UK having some fun in the TAR ParkSabah, Borneo: After our rather large group of Glamorgan University research students, who we hosted recently, returned to the UK, one Richard was left behind.

It wasn’t our own resident Course Director Richard, but the professor who lead the group, Dr. Richard.

Dr. Richard stayed on for some ancillary post-expedition unwinding, ie. a day of fun diving with DB Richard.

The 2 Richards took to the waters of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and snapped a few fun images just to remind the research students back in the UK what they were missing.

After the dive they said the students were on their mind all day, because they kept on looking over their shoulders expecting a group of 29 dives following behind them.

Relative quiet has returned to the dive station, but the next university group is already anticipated.

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!


University of Glamorgan Cleans Up Gaya Island

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 @ 09:24 Glamorgan University, Groups & Schools, News, Project AWARE

TAR Park, Kota Kinabalu: It was Dive for Earth Day on 22 April and this year Downbelow had 30 eager participants already living on the island to help them pull off the biggest collection of rubbish on Gaya Island yet.

Earth Day & Dive for Earth Day

University of Glamorgan with their big pile of rubbish collected from Gaya Island, Kota Kinabalu, SabahEarth Day has been around for decades and has gained momentum in recent years as global environmental problems have garnered more serious attention.

Dive for Earth Day is an extension of this movement to the marine environment and is actively promoted by the PADI Foundation, Project AWARE.

It’s an opportunity to spread the awareness of how problems that are so obvious on land affect the marine environment where it’s out of sight of our land dwelling cousins, but not divers.

The rubbish removal from the coast line illustrates that just because trash can’t be seen, doesn’t mean it’s gone.

University of Glamorgan Cleans Up

Cleaning the environment is no easy task and requires substantial manpower to make a difference.

This year, in its Project AWARE and Dive for Earth Day efforts, Downbelow was fortunate enough to already have a small army of just such manpower on Gaya Island.

Richard, in orange, with some of the Glamorgan Uni students and 1 of 4 big truck tires removed from the Gaya Island swampA group of 30 students form the University of Glamorgan in the UK had been camping on Gaya island for the week leading up to Dive for Earth day.

As a gesture of goodwill, whilst wrapping up their research project, they happily agreed to pitch in and help remove trash from the very environment they had been studying for the preceding week.

Trash – Lots and lots of trash

Gaya Island’s sensitive intertidal mangrove swamps were identified as the target of some Dive for Earth Day love.

The group organised themselves into a ground assault unit, who took the jungle paths along the shoreline to reach the swamps, and the amphibian unit, who got there by boat.

Together they spent the morning in the mangrove swamp and along the shore at other secluded spots and inlets around Gaya Island and removed stacks of trash from the environment.

Glamorgan students unloading Gaya island trash from the Downbelow boats

In total, the Glamorgan students and Downbelow crew removed 847kg of trash from the swamps and shoreline.

Glass bottles, plastics in various shapes and sizes, diapers and an assortment of other trash counted amongst the pile.

Most glaringly out of place were the 4 large truck tires. Gaya Island has no roads and no vehicles!

Dive for Earth Day!

To end a day of doing good, Downbelow’s Dive Shop donated a brand new dive computer to raise money to be donated to Project AWARE.

The students dug deep and raised AU$ 400 for the cause.

Thanks to the students from the University of Glamorgan, Dive for Earth Day 2011 was a great success.

More Project AWARE events are coming this year, so keep an eye on this blog and our Facebook page if you want to get involved.

Glamorgan University Surveys TAR Park Reefs

Monday, April 25th, 2011 @ 09:52 Glamorgan University, Groups & Schools, News

Gaya Island, Kota Kinabalu: A group of 30 students from the University of Glamorgan in the UK wrapped up their marine research program here after spending a week on the island with Downbelow.

Island, hammock, mozzy net. You're sorted for a week on Gaya island.

Students, studying various bachelors and master degrees, came to Kota Kinabalu as part of a Tropical Ecology module.

Various bits of information were collected from around Gaya Island from carefully measured and marked patches of coral reef and sea grass.

“To maximize their research time”, said Joanne from Downbelow, “the students lived on the island for their entire stay.”

Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive & Adventure Centre on Gaya Island was temporarily expanded with an array of mosquito covered hammocks, which in turn was covered by a huge canopy.

Careful measurements of the TAR Park coral reefsThis provided comfortable accommodation for the students on the island itself.

To complete specific tasks and meet certain objectives for their research, each student had to dive twice a day.

Downbelow kept to their safety protocol of a 4:1 student-instructor ratio, which meant the Downbelow crew had to dive 4 times per day.

“During their dives the students learned various techniques for field research”, Joanne said.

The data the students collected about fish populations, diversity, coral health and other environmental factors will be used by next year’s University of Glamorgan expedition, to compare against the same areas.

The 30 students from the University of Glamorgan, UKBefore they left Gaya Island, the Glamorgan students left their mark – or rather removed the mark left by others.

Downbelow organised a Project AWARE shoreline clean-up for Dive for Earth Day, an annual, global initiative highlighting the problem of rubbish in the marine environment.

The students visited the mangrove swamps and secluded inlets around Gaya island and collected a whopping 847kg of rubbish.

Back in the UK this weekend the Glam Group will no doubt be talking about, and using the data from their research experience in Sabah for some time to come.

Downbelow looks forward to their return. Check out photos of the Glam Group’s Downbelow adventures on our Facebook page here and here.

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!