Downbelow headline local Sabah newspaper!

politeknik sandakan, downbelow marine wildlife adventures, sabah, local newspaper headline, tar marine park, tunku abdul rahman, whale shark migration, wildlife spotting, marine life interaction, largest fish in the world

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!

Downbelow teach SCUBA to the future of Sabah’s tourism industry!

politeknik sandakan, whale shark, scuba diving, marine environment, conservation, project aware, premier padi 5 star idc dive centre, sabah travel centre, tourism industry, borneo, kota kinabalu

Our Downbelow premier PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre operations were honoured to host a whole day for our 30 friends visiting from Politeknik Sandakan!

The students will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Project AWARE mission through their experience of the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program and Snorkel Safari. Nothing beats experiencing the reality of scuba diving, and inspiring others to become Project AWARE supporters themselves!

It seemed to be kismet when a whale shark was spotted swimming within the confines of the TAR marine park, and several of the students (who were snorkelling, as a matter of fact) were lucky enough to see it up close from one of our dive boats!

We only wish for the students of Politeknik Sandakan to continue visiting us on the regular basis that they are doing to always remember how important the contribution to our marine environment is for the future of Sabah’s tourism industry.

Sabah Travel Centre experts at our Kota Kinabalu HQ are experienced in creating itineraries to suit the educational mission. Get in touch if your group would like our experts to create terrestrial-based programs – such as jungle trekking the Salt Trails or climbing Mount Kinabalu!

Whaleshark Sighted Again in Kota Kinabalu Borneo

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 @ 14:24 News, Sightings, Whale Sharks

After a hiatus of almost a year, the largest fish in the Ocean the Whaleshark has visited Kota Kinabalu yet again and was spotted outside of our dive centre last week.

Resident Downbelow PADI Course Director Richard Swann sensed they were coming a few days beforehand when a large presence of krill was seen around the park.

And true enough, word of the Whaleshark sightings quickly spread just days later so the Downbelow Dive Team kept a lookout for the gentle giants.

However even they couldn’t have guessed what happened next. Not only were Whalesharks sighted, Downbelow guests on the day witnessed a pod of dolphins and a turtle as well. All in the same day!

Above is the video clip one of the Downbelow Instructors shot of the Whalesharks feeding on thousands of krill’s!

Fancy a chance to be near a whaleshark? Though we cannot guarantee you this but being in the water will surely increase your chances!

Contact us and book a dive with us!

Video: Borneo Whale Shark in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 @ 10:37 News, Sightings, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Whale Sharks

On Friday we had more whale shark action here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and one of our guests was lucky enough to have a camera at the ready.

Actually, Downbelow’s guests saw whale sharks on 3 separate occasions over the last weekend, so we are feeling very blessed to have such a busy whale shark season in Kota Kinabalu this year.

Anyway, our guests from Friday grabbed this footage of the whale shark spotted off the coast of Borneo, and we stitched it together for all to enjoy.

Although not guaranteed – it’s nature after all – to have a chance of diving with whale sharks in Sabah, you have to be in the water :)

So contact us and let’s go whale shark diving in Borneo!


Heavy Whale Shark Traffic in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo

Monday, April 9th, 2012 @ 09:45 News, Sightings, Whale Sharks

Finally, Richard in a shot with a whale shark as captured by one of our whale shark watching guests

We’ve had a very exciting whale shark season in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, with sightings every month so far this year.

PADI Course Director Richard Swann and many of the guests at Downbelow, have been supremely lucky to have had multiple whale shark encounters during dives in Kota Kinabalu’s TAR Park.

Richard has expanded his whale shark photography collection with some beautiful close-up shots of these gentle giants and our instructors have also gotten up close and personal with Sabah’s whale sharks.

If we were excited about monthly whale shark sightings in Borneo, then this weekend past was pure whale shark sighting ecstasy.

Since Friday, whale sharks have seemingly popped up left right and centre, with no less than 3 separate whale shark sightings right here in Kota Kinabalu’s TAR Park.

Our guest have gotten some unforgettable whale shark photos, one even featuring Richard, who more often than not is behind the the camera.

Now is a great time to get in the water with Downbelow for heightened chances of seeing whale sharks. What are you waiting for? Contact us now!

Guest Ashley Whitworth took this picture of another guests who encountered a whale shark during his Nitrox dive

We kicked off the weekend on Friday with this beautiful picture of our first weekend whale shark

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.

March Whale Sharks Sighting in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Sunday, March 18th, 2012 @ 15:45 News, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Whale Sharks

Whale shark sighted in Kota Kinabalu in March 2012

This year so far has enjoyed a bumper whale shark season in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah with several sightings every month since January.

In the latest sighting, which was just yesterday, several of Downbelow’s guests literally came face to face with the whale shark.

Some of guests had cameras with them and snapped these beautiful pictures, showing how close the giant filter feeder got to them.

Resident PADI Course Director Richard, who was on the island at our PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre at the time, immediately grabbed his camera gear and raced to where the whale sharks were sighted.

Unfortunately, buy the time he got there, they had already moved on, so, this time, no pictures for Richard of the march whale sharks sighting in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

We continue our daily diving with high hopes of further enjoying the frequent whale shark sightings in Kota Kinabalu’s TAR Park.

Want to join us and try your luck? Contact us and let’s get wet.

Whale Sharks in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo – Video Footage

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 @ 12:19 News, Whale Sharks


Yesterday we put up a photo montage video of the wonderful whale shark encounter we had in Kota Kinabalu on Saturday.

February 2012 Instructor Development Course ft. Whale Sharks

Well, above is actual Kota Kinabalu whale shark footage (available in HD if you have the Internet speed).

The footage is a bit shaky, but we’re sure you will appreciate all the excitement of suddenly seeing a whale shark and having to ensure that you’re not within swatting distance of its huge tail-fin.

“It was an awesome whale shark day,” said resident PADI Course Director Richard Swann, who was actually in the water just after sunrise looking and taking pictures of the whale sharks.

“Not only did all our Instructor Development Course candidates get to dive with whale sharks,” he continued excitedly, “but all 16 guests on the island that day, all the staff and all the other professional interns also got to dive with them.”

We’ve also updated our IDC Photo Album with the pictures so far of the February 2012 Instructor Development Course ft Whale Sharks!

The whale shark season around Sabah and Kota Kinabalu is typically from January to March, so if you fancy your chances of seeing a whale shark right here on the city’s doorstep, then get in touch and let’s go diving or even snorkeling.

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!

Whale Shark Diving in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo

Monday, February 6th, 2012 @ 11:52 News, TAR Park Froggies, Whale Sharks


Whale sharks came early to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah this year when a few members of Downbelow’s staff spotted whale sharks early in January, but without pictures, it was dismissed by others as only rumours.

This weekend the rumours were laid to rest when our resident PADI Course Director and professional photographer, Richard Swann, went whale shark diving in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo.

He returned after the dive with plenty of beautiful whale shark photos, which you can check out in the video above on our Facebook Whale Sharks in Kota Kinabalu Album.

In the meantime our February Instructor Development Course (IDC) had started and our lucky candidates also got to dive with the whale sharks, making it one of the most memorable IDCs to date.

The whole of Kota Kinabalu is abuzz with talk of the whale shark sightings and, of course, everyone wants to get a glimpse.

If you too want to try your luck to dive with whale sharks in Kota Kinabalu, check out our daily diving package.

Our IDC interns – being in the water as much as they are with their free, unlimited diving privileges – have a greater chance for more encounters, of course, so if you’re considering a professional diving career, there’s one more reason to Go Pro with Downbelow.

Kota Kinabalu’s Divers Spot 2nd Whale Shark in January

Friday, January 6th, 2012 @ 14:54 Gaya Island Animals, News, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Whale Sharks

Richard gives a whale shark presentation during the lunch break at the dive centreKota Kinabalu, Sabah: The island crew were still ooh-ing and aah-ing yesterday over the whale shark one of our boat captains spotted earlier this week when Instructor Wellson and his 2 guests resurfaced from their morning dive – all grins.

Our January IDC was in full swing, but Wellson couldn’t help (or contain) himself when his excitement boiled over and he exclaimed “we saw a whale shark!”.

A flurry of excitement ensued as Wellson and his 2 fun divers detailed the whale shark encounter they had on the doorstep of Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre on Gaya Island, which is just a few fin flips away from Kota Kinabalu city.

Our Resident PADI Course Director and marine biologist, Richard, was inspired.

During the lunchtime surface interval he treated everyone to a whale shark short film, sharing snippets of his knowledge about these awesome creatures.

Inspired by the knowledge of whale sharks circling somewhere nearby in Downbelow’s vicinity, our fun divers returned for their 3rd dive.

Email us to go diving with us and who knows, maybe you too can spot a whale shark in Kota Kinabalu!