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Monday, 25 June 2012

Officially a Certified Diver!!

I've been so busy with other blog posts recently that I havent had time to tell ya'll:
YES!! I have finally joined the mermaid club (of which my bf Ray has already been a member for a year. ;p)!! =D

What made me decide to get the licence? Well, I've dived twice as a Discovery Diver before taking up the course, once in Sapi Island and once in the Phi-Phi Islands in Phuket, Thailand, and was instantly hooked by the serenity and beauty of the undersea world. It's like nothing you've ever experienced before, where all you can hear is the sound of your own breathing, and the feeling of gliding effortlessly through water, just like the colourful fish right next to you!
1st time diving at Sapi, and the view of the dive spot in Phuket.
But let me tell you, taking the course is a lot different from the Discovery. The Open Water Course takes 3 - 4 days, including one day of theory, where you watch 5 chapters on video, and are given a short quiz at the end of each chapter to make sure you understood it. You are also given these:
The Open Water Diver manual, dive log, dive table and its instructions.
After you pass the final exam (with a minimum of 75%, to which I am proud to say I got a good 94% =D), you will then be taken on 2 confined water dives, which can be a swimming pool, or if you take the course from a reputable dive operator like Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures S/B in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, they will be done in shallow waters in Gaya Island (and trust me, it's a whole lot more fun than a boring swimming pool! ;p)

After you pass all the tests the instructor will give you (basically he will show you, and you just have to follow suit. They are mainly about getting you comfortable underwater, and familiar with your gear and all its uses. Exercises like removing your mask and regulator, ensuring you know the hand signals etc will be conducted.), you will be taken on short dives where you can start wondering at the beauty of this other world!

So why not just do Discovery Dives whenever you wanna dive? Why pay and go through all the hassle of getting a licence? Well, first off, Discovery Divers only get to go up to 12 metres deep, while as an Open Water Diver you get to go up to 18 metres. And trust me, there's a LOT of amazing dive sites that are definitely over 12 metres! Plus, there are sites which dont even allow you to dive without a licence, one of which is my motivation to go on to take the Advanced Open Water Course, which allows you to dive up to 30 metres - Sipadan Island! =D
Photo credits from WWF
Sipadan, ranked no. 2 in the whole world as best diving spots, has been a dream for me, which is why I really wanna get my advanced licence within the year, so I can plan a trip there next year! There is a certain limit of divers allowed each day to dive on the island, but especially with an advanced licence, there are many more sites to visit nearby, such as the Mabul, Mataking and Kapalai islands to keep me busy while I wait for my turn! Examples of must-see dive sites at Sipadan are Barracuda Point, The Wall, and the Turtle Tomb Cave, which you can only explore with an Advanced licence!

With an advanced licence, you can also go on night dives and wreck dives, great for diving in other spots in South East Asia, where we have arguably some of the best! ;p
Wreck diving in Labuan.. Photo credits.
Downbelow is one of the best choices if you wanna get your licence here in Sabah, and many tourists who are here to explore the beautiful waters do! Located in KK Times Square, which is right next to Sutera Harbour Resort, whose marina you will be departing from to their centre on Gaya Island (about a 10 minute speedboat ride), Downbelow is also a licenced PADI dive shop where you can buy your first dive gear.
A pair of good fins are at the top of my list of gear to buy, but perhaps not as much as a fashion statement as these ones!
A 5 star PADI dive centre, Downbelow maintain high standards of safety for all their equipment (and, oh, by the way, dont worry about any gear but your swimsuit when learning to dive - everything else will be provided! =D), and they are fully licensed through Malaysia’s Ministry of Culture, Arts & Tourism. So what are you waiting for? Come get your diving licence, and maybe we'll explore the same underwater world together one day! Only then, I'd hopefully have an underwater camera to take beautiful underwater photos with, because I'm not kidding when I tell you it's a whole different world Downbelow! =)

Bloop bloop bloop! (xxx underwater ;p)

16 comments:

  1. awww i always wanted to take the license! how much is it for both discovery and advanced one? =D

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    1. Well I've done Discovery for just RM180 if you dive in Sapi, and I heard you can dive other places for rm250 - 350.. Advanced,not quite sure how much,maybe about RM1k..? =)But you have to do Open Water before Advanced.. Hihii..

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  2. Awesome! Congratulations on finally getting your diving license. No go forward and get the Advanced License upgrade!:D

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    1. I shall go forward and win the war! Well.. You know what I mean.. ;p

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  3. yes, you have a diver's look now. No doubt about it! =D

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  4. Congratulations Calista!

    This is so motivating. Im reaching mid 30s soon and have been putting diving as one of my bucket lists. Yet nothing has been done to strike this from my list. Thanks for the details and encouraging post :)

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    1. Thanks Carol! =) Well, it's never too late for anything! Are you from Sabah too? If so,there's definitely nothing stopping you! Get your swimsuit on n get exploring the beautiful underwater gardens! ;p

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  5. Congratulation for becoming certified diver. This is my current list to do too but was busy travel around. Hopefully some day could be like you.

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    1. Thanks Diana! I'd really encourage you to get your diver's licence even more if you travel a lot! Then it's twice the adventure if you dive while in a different country! =)Wish I could travel as much as you do though.. =)

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  6. hey....Calista, when you gonna take your advanced license? I am planning to take at maul/sipadan also.. btw I am liqi...

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    1. Haha.. If I get the chance to take advanced course there that'd b awesome.. But also more expensive.. Though the main reason I wanna take advance is to explore Sipadan.. Hmm... ;p

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  7. Congratz dear!! and the heels are crazy weyy!!! :O

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    1. Out of this world! Heels are already tiring to walk in, fins are super hard to walk in, so together? *faints*

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  8. Wah. this war..slim chance for me liao. Great photos! =D

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