PADI Scuba Diving & Project AWARE certificates for you!

I love doing outdoor activities. The best thing about being and living in Sabah is that there are a lot of outdoor activities that you can get yourself involved to fill your desire! I started to climb Kinabalu in 2002, and since then I have climbed the mountain several times, and would love to climb again soon. In 2008 I started to scuba dive. And guess what? I fall in love with underwater life.

When one of my Facebook friend asked me about scuba diving few weeks ago, I knew that not all of us have the correct information about scuba diving. Almost all of us think that if we don’t know how to swim, we cannot dive (it’s also a myth that I had before I do diving). It will be very dangerous for those who don’t know how to swim to take scuba diving.

Well, today I have to correct the myth: YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO SWIM IF YOU WANT TO GO SCUBA DIVING. However, if you can swim, it will be a huge advantage for you. That is why professional bodies who certified divers highly recommend that you can swim to dive.

You don’t have to know how to swim to scuba dive because we actually don’t want you to float. In scuba diving, we are afraid that you cannot sink! Because if we cannot sink you, it defeats the purpose of diving. We even put on weight on you to make you sink.

To dive all over the world you need to be certified. There are a lot of professional bodies which can certify you as a scuba diver. I took PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification from Borneo Divers which costs me MYR1000 (~USD300) in 2008. The cost varies among dive operator around Kota Kinabalu depending on the ancillary services that they can provides for the divers.

Diving has become an addicting activity to me as to go to Sutera Harbour jetty took me less than 10 minutes drive from home, and another 10 minutes to Mamutik Island! How can you not love this place?

To fulfill a request from one of my good friend (and to entice you to take scuba diving), I hereby post the 4 certificates that I received from my first ever scuba diving experience until my Project Aware involvement.

The first certificate: Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) (cost RM200-RM300)*

It’s the best way to know and feel what it is like to breathe underwater. The short course is done under direct supervision of the diving instructor, which can be finished in just one day. Usually they will let you do one dive or two if you are comfortable. After the dive, this hand written certificate will be given to you. And if you think that you like diving and want to dive all over the world, then you should take the proper license: Open Water Diver.

The second certificate: Open Water Diver (OW) (cost RM1000-RM1300)*

This is the start of you entering scuba divers life. This course took us 4 days to complete. One day in the classroom reviewing some videos and course book, two days in confined water and one day in open water. Luckily for me, the confine water session was held in a swimming pool. The visibility was magnificent! ;-). The instructor will teach us the basics about scuba diving and how to breathe properly under water. They will always tell you that “NEVER HOLD YOUR BREATH!”. Open Water license will only allow you to dive not deeper than 18 meters.

The third certificate: Advance Open Water Diver (AW) (cost RM800-RM1200)*

This will be your next stage of scuba diving. Advance Open Water is for you if you are serious about diving and want to explore more underwater. One of the reason why I took AW was I want to dive Sipadan. It’s my dream dive spot. Because of the underwater nature of Sipadan, a lot of experience divers urged me to take AW because I really need it if I want to dive on the spot which Cousteau said “I have seen other places like Sipadan, 45 years ago, but now, no more. Now, we have found again an untouched piece of art…”

With AW, you need to take at least 5 compulsory specialty dive – in which Borneo Divers was good enough to give me six – in 2 days. I took Peak Performance Buoyancy Dive, Deep Dive, Underwater Navigation, Diver Propulsion Vehicle, Night Dive and Underwater Naturalist. From those six specialty dives, I think I like Night Dive. It gives you totally different view of underwater world in the dark!

The fourth certificate: Project AWARE (cost RM100)

This certificate is just a recognition certificate in which Project AWARE Foundation gave to divers who helped them involve in their events to save  the underwater world. This is the first Project AWARE event that I joined, in which was held on the 25th September 2010 in Mamutik Island.

Basically we were assigned to collect rubbish underwater around Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (islands nearby Kota Kinabalu). This year we also add on awareness on the increasing amount of water bottles, by launching “Say No To Water Bottles” campaign. I managed to collect some rubbish around Manukan Island which was only a fraction of about 800 kilogram rubbish that we all collected that whole day!

My next target is Sipadan & Mabul Island. After that I would like to challenge myself and take the next level of PADI certification – Rescue Diver – so that I can safely dive with anybody that I want. When my son is ready, I will bring him underwater with me as a dive buddy!

*Cost varies among dive operators here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

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