Tag Archives: tunku abdul rahman park

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.

Underwater creatures around Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Kota Kinabalu

It’s just not right.

I don’t think I do justice to the wonderful underwater creatures when I do not share them with you. My last few post about my Open Water course was only about me. No photos of them.

So now I would love to share the things I saw underwater, so that you will know how beautiful life is down there. Oh, have I mentioned that it’s just 20 minutes away from where I live?

Kudos to Roslan, the aspiring underwater photographer who took all the shots. I saw all the creatures in this page.

You may have seen them unedited in my Facebook photo album, but these 15 photos were edited & cropped professionally with GIMP. All photos were taken with Canon Powershot A95 with underwater casing. I auto-leveled all the photos to eliminate the blue-green component of the photo, so that it will shown with it’s original colours.

I learned a lot every time I went down there. And I think you should too. Enjoy!

I must admit that those photos are only less than 5% of what I saw underwater…

Amazing Animals Video: UnderWater Animals

First 3 basic equipments for your SCUBA diving lesson

I did my DSD few months back, and decided to get myself an Open Water PADI SCUBA diving license in October. After getting some input from Roslan, one of my good friend (senior at high school & the person who is responsible for me going diving), we went to Sabah Divers at Wisma Sabah to get the first 3 basic equipment for SCUBA diving – mask, snorkel and fins.

Sabah DiversOf course, I can just hire them every time I go diving, but in the long run, I will save more on the items and it will always be mine. And I can use it for snorkeling around Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, a group of beautiful islands just 15 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu with my kids on weekends.

I know that I diverted my blog post a bit with SCUBA diving, but by staying in Sabah, I could not resist NOT to write about it. I have been to the highest peak of Borneo few times, 4095.2 meters above sea level. So this time I am going down, maybe up to 40 meters below sea level. Sabah is blessed with these two assets, in which people from all around the world spends millions to get to where we are. I just don’t want to miss the opportunity, as world class diving spot is just “at my backyard!!!”.

Anyway, back to the equipments. I bought all the items from Sabah Divers dive shop. As Roslan is a regular customer with them, I got a very good discount on all the items (I love discount!!!). At the end of the shopping session, I was RM600 poorer after spending on those 3 (actually 4, including a tote bag).

You don’t have to buy these equipments to get yourself an Open Water PADI diving license. You can hire them with the dive operators, but you will be more comfortable using your own equipments.

Knowing that spending on LiquidSkin MARES will burn my pocket more, I decided to settle on lower ranked brand, TUSA. Honestly, I decided to buy these items after getting some feedback from Roslan and some homework done from the internet. I bought:

TUSA snorkels1. TUSA Snorkels SP-130 Platina Hyperdry
Check it out from Amazon: TUSA Platina II Hyperdry Easy Clear Snorkel

  • Hyperdry system with three current rectifying plates.
  • Pre-angled purge valve to eliminate gurgling of water by breathing and let air bubbles pass by the side of the face. [PAT.P.]
  • Ortho-consciously designed mouthpiece for ultimate comfort.
  • Detachable two-sectional swivel adapter to minimize the pulling feeling. [PAT.P.]
  • Three-dimensional pipe curve for the ideal angle for snorkeling.

The sensation of residual water (gurgling) while snorkeling is eliminated. This revolutionary snorkel uses a new mouthpiece, designed with the aid of ergonomic engineering.

TUSA mask2. TUSA Masks TM7500Q Splendive II
Check it out from Amazon:Tusa Splendive II Light Weight Dive Mask

  • 2-window design with wide field of vision and light weight for comfort
  • Bi-symmetrical lenses for easy installation of corrective lenses.
  • Special low volume design for snug fit and easy clearing.

The Splendive II, TM-7500Q is very light with a total weight of only 6.3 ounces. It fits close to your face providing an extra-wide field of vision and is also quick and easy to clear. Corrective lenses are available for easy installation.

Basically, the correct way of choosing a mask is by putting it on to your face, and make sure it fits nicely on your eyes and nose. Gently inhale with the mask on to make sure that it sealed your face and do some movement (like tilting) of your head or even jump with it. A good mask is a mask that will not fall down while doing some vigorous things with the mask on.

TUSA fins3. TUSA Fins FF-9 X-Pert Zoom
Check it out from Amazon:TUSA Xpert Zoom Full Foot Split Scuba Diving Fins

  • Innovative hydrofoil design and hybrid blade produce greater forward motion (lift) both on the surface and under the water.
  • Propeller-fin™ technology and super lightweight design achieve the ultimate performance with less effort.
  • Open-toe full foot pocket provides superb comfort and support.

TUSA combined Propeller-fin™ technology and the multiflex-blade-system, resulting in the newly developed X-PERT ZOOM full-foot fin. The FF-9 provides more speed and power with less effort and fatigue than traditional paddle blade full-foot fins. The FF-9 is a super thin, lightweight design, yet it generates maximum performance and comfort with minimum strain on the leg muscles when using a small bent-knee kick with a light rhythm.

Yeah, right… I got all those information from TUSA’s official website. As I have not used them yet (at this moment of writing), I could not give my personal views on those equipments.

Oh, as I am going for a SCUBA diving lesson this October (either at Pulau Mamutik, Manukan or Gaya), I would like to invite you to join me. So far, I have 2 other friends (Nazul and Rahman, my previous dive buddy) who will be joining me to get the license.

Just drop me an email if you want to join. The more, the merrier. I may be able to give you a very competitive price for the course as I know some people in this area…