The First Drop Off

26Dec05

As published in VirtualMalaysia.Com [Editor’s Pick]

Seas and oceans, occupying over 70% of the planet, offer a fresh dimension to the human imagination. From quirky marine life, to astounding reefs of live corals, diving is not just another skill to be acquired, but key to an entirely new outlook, understanding and appreciation for the delicate balance of life. Diving, as this writer has been urged many times, is one of the most exhilarating adventures one can experience. It is thrilling to the point of obsession, and has time and time again become a favourite addiction to the spirited at heart. The underwater world is a whole new universe of its own.

Located just seven degrees shy of the equator, Malaysia is a geographically conducive natural learning ground for people interested in acquiring dive certifications particularly, the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) Open Water Diving Licences. With experienced dive instructors and a growing membership of Dive Masters, Malaysia is proud to offer a safe and exciting introduction to the underwater world.

Home to the richest biodiversity of marine life in the Indo-Pacific Basin, the Malaysian dive experience is all about the wonders of the underwater world plus a whole new perspective about conservation done at outstanding enormities. Diving here means entering an underwater playground. From micro marine life, to wartime shipwrecks, diving in Malaysia is a scientific exploration taken to a whole new level. There are over 3,000 species of fish in the waters of Malaysia and hundreds of types of corals, and new species of marine life are constantly being discovered.

With an average temperature of 31°C high and 27°C low, Malaysia has among the most consistent weathers in the region, and the longest favourable dive periods. In general, the best months to dive are between February to September, when the waters are calmest, sunny days are longer and rainfall and humidity is relatively low. While monsoonal winds compel the east coast islands to temporarily close in the months of November to March, some of the most beautiful dive islands such as Mabul, Sipadan and Sangalaki are protected by the mass Borneo lands and are able to safely remain open all year round.

Depending of where you dive, the currents of Malaysian waters are so gentle, diving becomes a relaxing and stress relieving activity of its own. The clear waters in many of Malaysia’s dive sites make learning to dive an unproblematic task, with almost no complications at all. The dive instruction itself is a hassle free process, maximising the fun factor, of course! The calm waters also mean that your first dive lessons can be held at the pinnacle of the most magnificent dive destinations in the world. This makes diving into the water for the first time an eye-opening plunge into the beautiful and mysterious horizon of the underwater world, one which entices, invites and mesmerises.

Where dollars and cents are concerned, Malaysia is one of the most affordable places to learn to dive. Costing in the range of 145 UK pounds or USD265, Malaysia is a favourite destination for large groups to learn diving together. Group bookings are widely available at all dive centres in Malaysia. In fact, most dive certification courses in Malaysia come complete as a holiday package of its own, including accommodation, meals and dive gear rental. All you got to do is bring yourself, a bottle of sunscreen and a cool attitude.

Just about everyone who has come to Malaysia to dive makes it a point to return to dive here over and over again. Most of all, people see Malaysia as the ultimate learn to dive destination, for the warmth and friendliness of its people. Stepping onto the dive islands here, you will be welcomed with kind smiles and helpful instructors that genuinely care about you getting a top notch dive licence and have fun along the way. So for the beauty and mystery of its underwater world, its fair weather and even fairer waves, its affordability and its wonderful people, Malaysia should really be where you and your mates head for to begin your journey into the underwater realm.

Words: Majidah Hashim


The writer with friends on Aur Island, Johor upon completion of dive course.

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